Posts tagged Jackie Kennedy
Posts tagged Jackie Kennedy
Caroline’s recent tweet on Twitter :)
By Carl Anthony
There were minor matters to be resolved and legislative agendas to be initiated. There were new directions she intended to take and a progression of efforts he had already begun. Whether President John F. Kennedy or First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy or both of them would have done all or part of what many journalists, colleagues, staff aides, policy experts and historians presumed or insisted they would have in a second Kennedy Administration, is ultimately a futile matter of regret, hindsight, and speculation. It always proves moot because of his assassination fifty years ago. Killed during what was then only the first preliminary political trip of JFK’s as-yet unannounced 1964 presidential re-election campaign for an intended second term, such assumptions are based on the premise that he would have won.
In no private memorandum or recorded conversations, did JFK document his intended agenda for a second term, which would have begun on January 20, 1965 and ended on January 20, 1969.
Jacqueline Kennedy, however, did.
If was not a diary or memoir but it was in handwritten form (some of which she had transcribed onto typed light blue pages), in responding to my questions, and then as clarifications, corrections, edits and insertions she made in 1989 and 1990 in both margin notes and the various drafts of what became my book First Ladies: The Saga of the Presidents’ Wives & Their Power, Volume 2.
About seven years later, in my role as a contributing editor to George Magazine, I mentioned some of this to her son, the magazine co-founder and editor-in-chief. He wasn’t surprised, he cracked, that she thought that far ahead. A glimpse of some of these intentions and forecasts follow below.
While the book’s topic naturally meant the focus was on the work she intended to purse during the rest of the Kennedy Administration, she also addressed what her late husband had planned to do had his presidency continued beyond November 22, 1963, in regard to domestic legislation and foreign relations.
In fact, she addressed not only JFK’s long-range intentions but what he had planned to do later that very day.
Although she did not specify whether he would do so on Air Force One after they left Dallas or when they arrived in Austin and he had private time to work as an overnight guest at Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch, President Kennedy was scheduled to authorize the appointment of his aide Richard Goodwin to a cabinet-level post for the arts and humanities.
In written response to a question I initially posed, Mrs. Onassis said that “JFK was going to sign a paper naming Richard Goodwin to the first Cabinet Post for the Arts.”
When I later incorporated her quote into my manuscript and she later edited it, the former First Lady inserted the words, “on November 22nd,” extending her quotation.
In her earlier declarations to me she explained how she envisioned the role of the federal governments and the widest purview of just what a Cultural Department at the Cabinet level would entail. In a secondary response, she added, “In a way, the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) and NEH [National Endowment of the Humanities] have achieved all this.”
The Texas trip marked the initial domestic travel with a political agenda which Jacqueline Kennedy made as First Lady, with or without the President. It was the beginning of an entirely new role she now intended to assume. She said it was only the first of many such trips she would make. In fact, the morning of November 22, she agreed to join the President on a campaign fundraising trip to California scheduled for early December, 1963.
She also planned to begin making joint public appearances with him on day trips from Washington, beginning with the army-navy football game on December 1, in Philadelphia. Despite the one-month mourning period following the President’s death, Jacqueline Kennedy asked that the game be played in his honor and it was, postponed just one week.
Scheduled for the winter of 1964, the President and Mrs. Kennedy were to make a tour of nations of the Far East, including Japan and the Philippines. In an early draft of the First Ladies manuscript, Mrs. Onassis added that “[B]oth looked forward” to that trip and were “even thinking of moving the date up, leaving right after New Year’s.”
Interestingly, despite the great success of her 1962 foreign trips to India, Afghanistan and Pakistan as a goodwill ambassador but official representative of the United States government on her own, Jacqueline Kennedy had no foreseeable intention of making overseas trips without the President.
She was eager to return to India and Pakistan, but this time with JFK.
Scheduled for the summer of 1964, as President Kennedy would have been pursing the formal nomination for another term and seeking to broaden his appeal, was a vacation trip not to his extended family’s Hyannis Port, Massachusetts compound but, as she sparsely phrased it in an early draft, the “Montana mountains.” This might well suggest what JFK anticipated would be a characterization of him by a Republican presidential opponent as an eastern Establishment elitist.
On a later manuscript page, she inserted a lengthy statement to this effect: “The President realized that relations with China would eventually have to be re-established and was considering a trip there in his second term.”
In scrutinizing the manuscript, she removed from it information she documented to be untrue and expounded on what she confirmed was true regarding her own future plans as First Lady.
The most startling of all her intentions for a second term was to go public in her lobbying of federal legislation protecting historical landmarks across the country as she had done privately on behalf of the White House and Lafayette Square.
She also wanted to build a far more substantial collection of historical furnishings for the White House so the point could be reached where it would no longer use loaned items for the state rooms: her misgivings were based on the fact that many collectors who loaned important historical objects would soon enough ask that these be returned and then sell them at public auction, fetching higher prices because these items been displayed in the White House.
Once a greater collection had been built, Jacqueline Kennedy was eager to then “cataloging the entire White House collection.”
Of all her later recollections about what President Kennedy intended to do, the most upsetting to her was what she curiously characterized as a “secret meeting,” with U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge.
Her account suggests that he went into uncharacteristic detail with her about the reasons for this, briefing her fully on the current and unfolding situation.
He would have had two strong reasons for doing this.
First, he was meeting with the Ambassador not at the White House but at their private weekend home “Wexford,” thus intruding on what was supposed to be set aside as time alone with her and their children.
Second, since the time they had first begun dating, while he was a freshman U.S. Senator and she was a newspaper columnist and photographer, he had known of her particular depth of knowledge and nuanced understanding of the delicate situation in Vietnam which, along with Laos and Cambodia, formed the former French colony of “Indochina.” She had begun studying the situation since 1949 while enrolled at the Sorbonne and she also translated French military policy reports for him on the matter in 1953.
It is unclear why the account provided by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1990 contradicts the later publicly reported claim that the meeting was to take place at Camp David.
As the former First Lady specifically amplified my original manuscript account:
“He [JFK] was searching for a way to relieve the ambassador of his duties and to gradually diminish the U.S. presence in Vietnam. JFK had scheduled a White House meeting on this subject for Monday morning, November 25.”
This particular intention of JFK’s, “haunted for years” Jacqueline Kennedy (as her friend, the JFK-LBJ Defense Secretary Robert McNamara put it in our taped interview) because instead of beginning perhaps “to gradually diminish the U.S. presence in Vietnam” on Monday, November 25, 1963, the President was instead being buried at Arlington National Cemetery that day.
The contact sheet from Jacque Lowe’s first shoot with John Kennedy at their home in Hyannis Port, Mass, 1958: ‘He was reserved but when my dad asked if Caroline and Jackie could be involved, he became more at ease, providing a more intimate shot.’ Thomasina Lowe is the daughter of the late Jacques Lowe, a photographer who met Kennedy in 1958. Lowe’s intimate access to the Kennedys created some of the most iconic images of JFK’s presidential and family life. Photograph: Estate of Jacques Lowe.
The marriage of Washington’s best-looking young senator to Washington’s prettiest inquiring photographer took place in Newport R.I. this month and their wedding turned out to be the most impressive the old society stronghold had seen in 30 years. As John F. Kennedy took Jacqueline Bouvier as his bride, 600 diplomats, senators, social figures crowded into St. Mary’s Church to hear the Archbishop of Boston perform the rites sand read a special blessing from the pope. Outside, 2,000 society fans, some come to Newport by chartered bus, cheered the guests and the newlyweds as they left the church. There were 900 guests at the reception and it took Senator and Mrs. Kennedy two hours to shake their hands. The whole affair, said one enthusiastic guest, was “just like a coronation.”
- Life Magazine, September 12 1953
"Her love for Caroline and John was deep and unqualified. She reveled in their accomplishments, she hurt with their sorrows. At the mere mention of one of their names, Jackie’s eyes would shine brighter and her smile would grow bigger."
After a harrowing overnight flight across the Atlantic and a rain-delayed puddle jumper from New York, Marta Sgubin arrived very late on the evening of September 7th, 1969 in Newport, Rhode Island for her first day of work. Born and raised in Italy, she was to be the governess for the then 11-year-old Caroline and 8-year-old John Jr., the children of Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy and the late President John F. Kennedy.
That night, Marta made a bold decision. The family’s dogs would no longer sleep in the shed, she told her new bosses.
"No, those are our dogs, they’ll sleep with me from now on," Marta recalls saying to Jackie’s mother, Janet Lee Bouvier Auchincloss.
Her immediate spunk was well-received by family, and almost 45 years later, Marta is still with the Kennedys. Past governesses had lasted only a year or so, but Marta has always been unique.
"I’ve never been intimidated," she said. "But I was happy that they chose me."
Marta, who was in her mid-30s when she joined the family, quickly became Jackie’s close friend and companion, transitioning into the family’s cook when the kids grew too old for nannying. She also took care of Caroline’s children, Rose, Tatiana, and Jack Schlossberg, who are now in their 20s and consider Marta a grandmother figure. But Marta’s real baby is the family’s dog August, who she walks around Central Park every morning and affectionately calls “Mama’s Boy.”
An immigrant from a 400-person village in northern Italy, Marta dreamt of leaving her small town of San Valentino as a child to be an actress in Rome. Instead, she would grow up to work as a governess for most of her life, first for the children of a French diplomat family in Paris, and then for the Kennedy children, six years after their father’s assassination. Marta taught herself to speak five languages while living and working in France, Greece, and the US. She also taught herself how to cook, simply by watching chefs hired to cook for the family.
"I’m the opposite of Paula Deen. I use vegetable juices and lean meats instead of butter," she said. "I shouldn’t say it though, because I’d like to go on her show someday," Marta joked.
Marta won’t tell anyone her real age, but is most likely in her late 70s, according to Caroline Kennedy’s younger daughter Tatiana Schlossberg, who joined us in Marta’s apartment last week to learn how to cook her staple truffle risotto.
Marta is marked by her playful sense of humor and her honesty, according to Tatiana.
"She always tells people what she thinks about them, even if it’s not a nice thing all of the time," Tatiana said.
When her nephew had an issue with his visa a few years ago, Marta called up Immigration Customs & Enforcement to tell the agents that they “give America a bad name” and when a man was rude to her last year in a grocery store, she admonished him by telling him that he was an “orangutan, a man of the woods.”
But Marta isn’t all sass. “She’s a saint,” she’s selfless, she’s kind, she’s regimented, and she’s loyal,” according to Tatiana.
Journalist Christiane Amanpour met Marta through her college friendship with John Kennedy Jr. and the two women have stayed very close for more than 30 years, frequently visiting each others’ houses for dinner. Amanpour says Marta’s thoughtfulness and her love for animals has made all the difference when her own dog Mindu has wandered off in the park.
With John’s wife Carolyn (and Friday) on December 25, 1998.
When [Marta] was over at my house for dinner, she noticed that my dog did not have a collar with a name tag. So she took his name and my home phone number, and the next thing I knew, she sent me a beautiful red dog collar with his name and number sewn into it,” she said said. “And thanks to that collar, I’ve found my dog several times after he’s wandered off in Central Park!”
Evidenced by the many generations of people that speak fondly of her, Marta has a great ability to relate to individuals of all ages.
"Today, she’s very fond of my own son, whose second name is John after my friend John Kennedy [Jr.]. It’s great to see how she’s really embraces all the generations. Old people and young people alike feel great in her company," Amanpour said.
Marta has a soft spot in her heart for children, but also for animals, ladybugs, four-leaf clovers, Italy, and now the United States (she became a citizen nine years ago.) Cats and dogs seem are her favorite in the animal kingdom, and she frequently croons to them in languages she’s invented specifically for each one.
She’s given all of the important animals (and children) in her life multiple nicknames. Marta explained that her seemingly-random naming system is simply her way of showing affection and that the names are actually just “whatever words comes to mind.”
Take Donald, for instance, her sturdy Scottish Fold cat who has tiny ears due to a genetic mutation that makes his cartilage crumple over itself. Marta is certain that “he is regal” and feeds him a fresh turkey breast every day. While Donald is his name “on the papers” he also goes by Moose, Mooseboy, Rusticone, Musellon, Palomino, and Puffer.
As for the Kennedy grandchildren, Rose goes by Moma or Lola. Jack by Momo or Lolo. And Tatiana by Lolita, Momina or “The Golden Child.” Anybody and everybody goes by “Ponky.”
Marta says she loves the three grandchildren, who she helped raise, as if they were her own. But there are some things from their childhood, like having to watch cartoons such as Ren & Stimpy with them, that she doesn’t miss.
"[Ren & Stimpy] was disgusting, it was a guy who keeps his eyes on his hands," Marta said. "But the children liked it. All of them. And we all had to watch one program at the same time."
Marta also recalled the trials of raising John Jr., who adored teasing her when he was little. “He was a little rascal, always ready to do something to you, that you didn’t expect. It was mischief.”
As a kid, John once let loose seven black water snakes from the Everglades in the house in order to spook Caroline and Marta. The snakes got into the house’s plumbing system, to Marta’s frustration.
"They were going from toilet to toilet in the house," Marta explained. "When I picked him up from school, he was just laughing hysterically."
Marta loves talking about the happy times — the kids, the animals, and Madam — but there were also very sad times, including the deaths of John Jr. and Jackie. The losses were tantamount to losing a best friend and a child, for her.
"It affected me as much as it affected them. I work for them, but I love them. I love all of them," Marta said. "They were all very dear to me. To lose them was always a big loss. And that you have to deal with by yourself."
But Marta says undergoing hardship has made her closer to the family
It’s not to be together everyday that brings you close. It’s the way that you feel about someone that makes you close, and the hard times you go through that make you close,” she said.
Marta is adored by the many generations of people whose lives she has impacted. When Marta missed her dog Pucci in France, ‘Madam’ gave her a portrait of a long-haired Dachsund and told her that they would have him sent across the Atlantic if she wanted him. When Marta wrote a cookbook in 1998 called “Cooking for Madam” about the recipes she cooked for Jackie, John Jr. wrote the foreword, in which he described her as “part of our family.” Tatiana has a her own way of showing her affection — by imitating Marta’s English.
"I like calling you on the phone and talking as you, and you’re also talking as you," Tatiana said to Marta. "Ayo Ponky!" Tatiana exclaimed, to Marta’s delight. "She’s great. I don’t even have to talk anymore," Marta said.
Christiane Amanpour describes Marta as the “ultimate Italian Mama.”
"You know when you’re around Marta, you’re going to get great love, great care, great friendship… and great food," she said.
He called her Mrs. Kennedy. She called him Mr. Hill.
For four years, from the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1960 until after the election of Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Clint Hill was the Secret Service agent assigned to guard the glamorous and intensely private Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. During those four years, he went from being a reluctant guardian to a fiercely loyal watchdog and, in many ways, her closest friend.
Now, looking back fifty years, Clint Hill tells his story for the first time, offering a tender, enthralling, and tragic portrayal of how a Secret Service agent who started life in a North Dakota orphanage became the most trusted man in the life of the First Lady who captivated first the nation and then the world.
When he was initially assigned to the new First Lady, Agent Hill envisioned tea parties and gray-haired matrons. But as soon as he met her, he was swept up in the whirlwind of her beauty, her grace, her intelligence, her coy humor, her magnificent composure, and her extraordinary spirit.
From the start, the job was like no other, and Clint was by her side through the early days of JFK’s presidency; the birth of sons John and Patrick and Patrick’s sudden death; Kennedy-family holidays in Hyannis Port and Palm Beach; Jackie’s trips to Europe, Asia, and South America; Jackie’s intriguing meetings with men like Aristotle Onassis, Gianni Agnelli, and André Malraux; the dark days of the year that followed the assassination to the farewell party she threw for Clint when he left her protective detail after four years. All she wanted was the one thing he could not give her: a private life for her and her children.
Filled with unforgettable details, startling revelations, and sparkling, intimate moments, this is the once-in-a-lifetime story of a man doing the most exciting job in the world, with a woman all the world loved, and the tragedy that ended it all too soon— a tragedy that haunted him for fifty years.