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Caroline Kennedy Attracts Hundreds in Mendham

Called 'an absolute class act' by one fan, Kennedy signs copies of her new book.

They came from as far away as Philadelphia and as close as down the street for their brush with Camelot. Regardless of where they called home, hundreds gathered at Mendham Books on Thursday night for the chance to meet Caroline Kennedy.

Kennedy arrived early to the 7 p.m. signing of her new book, Listening In; The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy which is actually a multimedia item as John F. Kennedy Library and historian Ted Widmer selected the most compelling recordings for release and they are fully restored and re-mastered onto two 75-minute CDs.

Mendham Borough resident Corrie Viola was one of the first to arrive to the signing.

"I was excited for the opportunity to meet her," Viola said. "It was fun."

Debbie Vilage, of Rockaway, was happy to wait in line to meet Kennedy, who she said was very personable. Lynn Mahoney of Succassunna, who was No. 19 in line, agreed.

"She's lovely," Mahoney said. "An absolute class act."

Roni and Ed Parlin made the trip from Florham Park and were one of couples stretched out of the store and into the parking lot waiting to meet Kennedy.

"My wife found it on the Patch and so we came out," Ed Parlin said.

Roni Parlin was looking forward to connecting with Kennedy.

"She is from my era growing up so I wanted to meet her," Roni said.

Lynn Rand from Mendham Township couldn't stop smiling after meeting Kennedy.

"I am a lifelong fan of the Kennedy family and their story," Rand said. "It is the most exciting celebrity meeting I have ever had."

Some admirers were there with stacks of books to be signed for not only themselves, but for their family.

"I am a big fan of Camelot and so is my father," said Jeannie Santucci of Flanders. "So I got a book signed for him while I was here."

The staff at Mendham Books worked like a well-oiled machine, ushering patrons in and out to purchase copies of the book and get them on the line for the signing. Mendham Borough Police were on hand to provide security, including police Chief Pat Libertino.

"It moved really fast," said Barbara Garcia, who made the trip up from Morristown with her daughter Lizzie. "She was great and the process went fast."

But it was Robin Lombardo, of Hackettstown, who might have stood out as one of the most dedicated fans. On her first trip up to meet Kennedy the photo taken by her friend Evelyn Burchardt didn't come out as well as she had hoped.

Burchardt bought another book and got back on line so Lombardo could get her perfect keepsake photo.

"She asked us what we were doing back so we explained it," Burchardt said. "We apologized, but she was so great. She made sure we got the picture the second time."

How about you? Did you go to Mendham Books for the signing? Upload your photo to this story (HINT HINT Robin and Evelyn) and share your experience in the comments below.

MARIA IRACEMA PINHEIRO September 28, 2012 at 04:54 AM
I only wish I could be in one of those book signings..... but she won´t come to Brazil... too bad I have been fan of her and her parents all my life...have most of her books.. who knows one day I will be lucky enough....
Debbie Vilage-Wilkinson September 28, 2012 at 06:33 AM
Thank you for using my quote. It was a pleasure to meet Caroline, she was extremely friendly, nice and funny. Debbie Vilage
Russ Crespolini September 28, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Thank YOU for speaking with me, it was a pleasure to meet you!

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