Mark Shriver on his new book and his favorite Washington spots.
What did you admire the most about your father?
He offered my siblings and me unconditional love. When we made mistakes, there was no criticizing or moralizing, just forgiveness, love and support. I also greatly admire his faith. He went to Mass every day and I believe his faith was the foundation of his life’s work.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about him while writing this book?
I learned that Dad was very much a revolutionary. Imagine giving federal funds to hire a lawyer who could, in turn, sue the government or moneyed interests to right a wrong. Imagine giving money to poor African-Americans to educate their kids so they could go to college, often colleges and universities that had been segregated. Legal Services and Head Start are radical notions meant to give the poor a fair chance. Talk about the audacity of hope!
After the eulogies at his funeral, Bill Clinton said that every other man there “felt about two inches tall.”
Everyone laughed when President Clinton said that because the eulogies my siblings and I gave painted a man too good to be true. We all were honored that he also said Dad was indeed as good as we had made him out to be, and maybe even a little better. President Clinton was right.
Why did you leave electoral politics to become an advocate for children?
Because I lost my 2002 congressional race! I think, though, that it was a blessing. I was able to devote a great deal of time to caring for my mother and father. I was lucky to be with them, my wife Jeanne and our three young kids, Molly (14), Tommy (12) and Emma (7).
Where do you want to be 10 years from now?
I love this area and hope to be here enjoying Emma’s senior year in high school and two kids out of college. I hope all three kids are living with us or right across the street!
MY TOP SPOTS
1. In the winter, we love to take our kids and their friends to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink and then for hot chocolate.
2. The Kennedy Center is another favorite family outing. The kids love musicals — they especially enjoyed “Billy Elliott.”
3. The Palm is a few blocks from my office and one of my favorite places to eat lunch. It’s fun to banter with the waiters, and maitre d’ Tommy Jacomo is the best.
4. The Billy Goat Trail is one of our favorite places to walk. Our dog, Buddy, used to swim in the Potomac while the kids would look for wildlife, including ducks, geese and turtles. Amazing that it’s only 25 minutes from downtown Washington.
5. Watching the sun rise over the Washington Monument as we wait to begin the Audi Best Buddies Challenge is a thrill. You should join us in October.
6. We also love to walk through Cabin John Park and skip stones with the kids on the little creek that runs through it.
7. When I was a kid, my dad often took me to the Union Mills Homestead, which was home to the Shriver family for six generations. Today, it’s a museum full of history and with lots of kid-oriented activities. It’s worth the drive and I enjoy taking my own kids to visit, especially for the ice cream social.
8. Renato’s in Potomac has great pasta and Enzo is the nicest guy around.
9. I love spending an afternoon browsing and buying at Politics & Prose.
See more in the Summer 2012 Issue of Washington Life Magazine.