April 26 - 1984: David Anthony Kennedy's body brought home following cocaine overdose

1785: John James Audubon born on this day
John James Audubon. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

1785: John James Audubon born on this day

There are two Mass Audubon sanctuaries on Cape Cod

On this day, ornithologist and naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851) was born in Haiti.  Audubon, who was also a painter, is best known for his detailed cataloging and illustrations of American birds. The namesake of  both the National Audubon Society and Mass Audubon, his Birds of America, published between 1827 and 1838, contains 435 life-sized prints of birds in their natural habitats.

There are two Mass Audubon sanctuaries on Cape Cod: Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Cummaquid and the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in South Wellfleet.

According to their website, the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis has seven Audubon works in their collection.

1984: A troubled Kennedy makes his last trip home

RFK's son David Anthony Kennedy died of an apparent overdose

On this day in 1984, Robert Kennedy's son David was brought to his family's home after being discovered dead the previous day.  The story in the New York Times the next day began;

Shortly after 2 o'clock this afternoon, a gray hearse stopped in the driveway of the large brick house in McLean, Va., and eight young men in shirtsleeves, brothers and cousins of David Anthony Kennedy, removed his coffin and carried it up a hill and into the living room of the family home.

In time, a Florida coroner is expected to establish the precise cause of Mr. Kennedy's death Wednesday at the age of 28 on the floor of a hotel room in Palm Beach. Already, one official has said cocaine was found in the room.

But as one friend put it today, that will be but a footnote to Mr. Kennedy's anguished life, dominated in the 16 years since the assassination of his father, Robert F. Kennedy, by drugs, alcohol and the seeming inability to handle the pressure of being a member of the most closely watched family in America.

Up until 1968, the year he turned 13 and his father was shot by Sirhan B. Sirhan while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination in California, David Kennedy's life seemed little different from that of any other youth in the sprawling Kennedy clan... Nobody knows for sure what caused those demons, to what extent his father's death might have helped create them, or why his life unraveled. But it did unravel, and he eventually fell under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Exactly when he first tried either is not exactly clear. Perhaps it was at school or perhaps it occurred on a vacation break on the Cape or at Hickory Hill...

The Kennedy family determined that something drastic had to be done to help David break his habit. They called in a special therapist, Donald Juhl of Sacramento, Calif., who began one-on-one therapy at the Kennedys' Cape Cod compound in Hyannisport, then took Mr. Kennedy out to the West Coast. Treatment, Then Trouble... NY Times.


CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.