By Matt Collette, Globe Correspondent
On the shuttle bus from the subway station to the Kennedy Library, passengers shared stories about their vacations, what brought them to Boston, and -- more than anything else today -- the news that Senator Edward M. Kennedy was having brain surgery at Duke University Medical Center.
"They talked about it on the news this morning, and they said that for most, after three years, it's catastrophic," said Laurel Hoeth, visiting Boston from central Wisconsin while her husband was in town for work. Her brother-in-law had the same surgery Kennedy is having and died a year later. But she said she was praying for Kennedy.
"He's got the strength, the power to beat it," she said. "And I pray the good Lord gives him the strength to beat it."
At the JFK/UMass MBTA station, Tom and Leslie Vogl, visiting Boston from Seattle, were waiting for the bus to the library. As their children goofed around, the Vogls took time to think about the ailing senator.
"We had heard on the news that individuals with this kind of cancer don't live more than three years," Leslie Vogl said. "But I think if anybody can beat it, it's him."
Tom Vogl said Kennedy's prognosis has affected him greatly. "I actually lost a good friend to brain cancer about six weeks ago, so it has certainly struck home with me," he said.
Frank Robinson of Savin Hill was standing in the parking lot of the library, where he said he was concerned, but also optimistic, about Kennedy.
"I feel pretty certain the senator will turn out OK,'' he said. "In Boston, the Kennedys, they're like the royal family."