The Ames family from Derby has always been fascinated with the Kennedys.
"As I was a teenager, and we would go to the Cape for the summer, one of the highlights was going to see if we could find the Kennedy compound and try for a Kennedy sighting," Lucinda Ames said.
Those tries didn't amount to much, but that would soon change. Lucinda Ames met the senator not once, but twice on visits to Washington, D.C. The second time, she and her family left with a memento.
"According to all reports of my kids and husband, I couldn't say anything. I was just star struck. So he said, 'Do you want a picture?' and I said yes, just kind of nodded my head," she said.
"I remember shaking his hand. It was huge. He looked you right in the eye. It was like you were the most important person in the Capitol that day. He was so genuine. He took a lot of time to meet with us. I mean we're not even his constituents," Ames' daughter, Jenny, said.
Senator Kennedy did them one better. He told Lucinda to send the picture to his office, and he would sign it.
"I did that and it's been on display in my house ever since for 20 years," said Lucinda Ames.
The Senator lived up to the Ames family's expectations. He already had their respect for his work in the Senate. Upon meeting him, they admired him even more.
"He took time, I mean he's a busy man, yet he just ushered us back into that office and said, 'Yes, of course, let's take some pictures,'" said Lucinda Ames.
"Senator Kennedy spurred my love of United States history and definitely had an impact. I chose to major in history in college, and he had a hand in that," Jenny Ames said.
The family hopes others will remember Kennedy for his graciousness and as a man who would go out of his way to give a Connecticut family a long-lasting memory.