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CHAPTER 1 Against the Grain We could hear the wop wop wop of the rotors before we ever saw the two helicopters descend over the trees. Excited by the sound, nearly two dozen of us rushed from the historic old stone manor house and across the front lawn of Oakington, our family home on the Chesapeake Bay. We all wanted to watch as the president of the United States stepped off his helicopter. Little did I realize, however, that the president’s second visit to Oakington that summer evening in 1963 would dramatically change my life and have a profound impact on the direction of the Democratic Party in Maryland for decades to come. I had first met John F. Kennedy nine years earlier when I, as president of the Young Democrats of Maryland, had invited the US senator from Massachusetts to speak at our Jackson Day dinner at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore. I was two years out of law school and in my first year as president of theYoung Democrats. I drove to Washington in my blue Chevrolet to pick him up. He was only in his second year in the Senate, but I was tremendously impressed by the young senator, who seemed to me far older than his years. By that August night in 1963 at Oakington, Kennedy was president of the United States and already revving up for a reelection campaign in 1964. His brother Robert, with whom I had become close friends, was now attorney general of the United States and, thanks to the Kennedys, I was the US attorney—the chief federal lawyer and prosecutor for the US government—in Maryland. Our discussion that night would launch me into a seat in the US Senate. That I would run for the Senate was not totally unexpected; my adoptive father, Millard E. Tydings, had represented Maryland in the Senate with distinction for twenty-four years.1 And I had been active in 1. Millard E. Tydings served in the US Senate from March 5, 1927, until January 3, 1951. 2 CHAPTER 1 the Potomac.5 She and Anita Fay, Red’s wife, were among his favorites. My mother was at her best in this setting. She had spent most of the previous three decades married to a US senator, and she was the daughter of Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, friend and adviser to Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman and a former ambassador to both Russia and Belgium. Her stepmother, with whom she was very close, was Marjorie Merriweather Post, founder and principal shareholder of the General Foods Corporation and perhaps the wealthiest woman in the country for a generation. My mother had rubbed shoulders with dignitaries and the wealthy throughout most of her life and was well past the point of being overawed or intimidated. During dinner, as was my custom, I slowly circled the table, standing behind each of the guests, introducing them one by one to the president , telling him a little about who they were and what they did. Among the twenty-two at the table were Jerold Hoffberger and his wife, Alice. Jerry was then president of National Brewing Company, the Baltimore brewery that made National Bohemian beer—or “Natty Boh,” as it was known locally. He also owned a controlling interest in the Orioles, the major league baseball franchise in Baltimore. The Hoffberger family had always been friends and supporters of the Tydings family. My closest friend at the table was Francis X. Gallagher, legal counsel to Archbishop (and later Cardinal) Lawrence Shehan. Frank, there with his wife, Mary, had a wonderful Irish personality and was a great lawyer and a superb political operative.6 Jerry and Frank were soon to play critically important roles in my political career. When I finished with the introductions, my mother welcomed the president to Oakington and gave a bit of the long, interesting, and mildly ribald history of our home.Then, with a wry smile, the president said, “Well, now I’m going to have Red Fay stand up and tell you about 5 Fay interview by Oesterle, February 5, 1971, sec. 306. 6. Also there, along with their wives, were two successful young doctors from the Johns Hopkins Hospital: Earl and Martha Galleher and the cancer surgeon R. Robinson “Bricks” Baker and his wife, Jean, a professor at Goucher College. Also there were my sister, Eleanor; Raymond Mason, a friend and business associate from Jacksonville, Florida; and Truman...


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