Posts tagged Jacqueline Kennedy
Posts tagged Jacqueline Kennedy
Jackie’s taste was very simple. She liked only the very best.— Oleg Cassini
Jacqueline Kennedy wearing a Pucci creation with her son, John F. Kennedy Jr., during the summer in Palm Beach, 1963.
Photographed by Mark Shaw.
“John John,” at 3, asked by an interviewer what happened to his dad, says, “He’s gone to Heaven.”
When a young John F. Kennedy, Jr. – still affectionately known as “John John” - wandered into a session where his mother, Jacqueline was recording an oral history of her slain husband’s presidency, there’s a moment when time stands still. The tape keeps rolling.
The interviewer, historian and family friend Arthur Schlesinger Jr., took the opportunity to ask the boy a question on his tape recorder.
“John, what happened to your father?” Schlesinger asked.
“Well, he’s gone to heaven,” the 3-year-old replied.
John Jr. was born 16 days after his father was elected president, and his father’s funeral was held on his third birthday. The young boy, standing up straight to salute his father’s casket, brought the nation to tears.
But when gently prodded by Schlesinger about what he remembered, the boy adopted the tactic kids everywhere use to ward off prying adults by saying mischievously, “I don’t remember any-thing.”
John made his escape seconds later, but the moment was a reminder that this President was also a father, who interrupted naps, interrupted the White House school and lined his bathtub with floatie toys for the boy who would insist on piling into the tub with his dad.
That oral history the former first lady was recording nearly 50 years ago will be released this week in a book titled “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.”
ABC News’ Diane Sawyer will host a prime-time, two-hour special based on the tapes tonight, featuring exclusive, never-before-heard extended audio of Jacqueline Kennedy’s oral history, rare photographs, plus an exclusive interview with Caroline Kennedy.
One of the many personal memories Jacqueline Kennedy lovingly shares is her husband’s frequent morning wake-ups in the White House.
“The television, gosh sometimes it was loud … there’d be cartoons, and there was this awful exercise man, Jack La…,” Jacqueline recalled, referring to 1960s exercise guru Jack LaLanne.
Daughter Caroline and toddler son John would be rolling on the floor doing exercises to Jack LaLanne with their father encouraging them.
“He’d have them tumbling around. He loved those children tumbling around him,” she said.
According to Caroline Kennedy, her father didn’t like to read to his children, preferring to make up stories instead. Many of them starred Caroline and a pony, and in his stories she frequently won the Grand National horse race, beating a Miss Shaw and Mrs. Throttlebottom. In his tales, there were also sharks, a girl named Maybelle who hid in the woods, and sometimes the kids would join him on a PT boat and sink a Japanese destroyer.
Like the Pied Piper, the President was a magnet for children, often a disruptive one for teachers at the White House school attended by Caroline and the children of other members of the administration.
“He’d always come out in the garden during their recess in the morning and clap his hands, and all the little things from school would come running,” Jacqueline Kennedy fondly remembered.
Life with John Kennedy was a blur of dignitaries, travel — the family plane was named The Caroline — and foreign visitors. “There’d be 50 Lithuanians arriving with folk dolls for Caroline or something at 11 in the morning, then they’d go,” she said, apparently exaggerating to make a point.
There are famous scenes of John Jr. tumbling out from beneath his father’s Oval Office desk during high-level sessions on public policy or the boy banging away on the typewriter of the president’s secretary.
As much as Kennedy reveled in a string of inaugural balls, the morning after being sworn in he began badgering his wife to bring the kids to the White House. They had been staying with relatives while the White House was being repainted and prepared for the new first family.
“He couldn’t wait to get the children back. And all that end [of the White House] smelled so of paint, but he’d keep saying ‘You’ve got to bring them back soon.’ He really missed them,” she said.
In the early days of the presidency, it was Caroline’s privilege to walk to the Oval Office with her father each morning. “Later on, it used to be John’s treat to walk to the office with him every day,” Jacqueline Kennedy recalled. The family’s time in the White House also had moments that were personally painful. On Aug. 7, 1963, Kennedy gave birth to a third child, Patrick Kennedy. The boy was born more than five weeks premature and died two days later. The president was devastated.
“He came back from Boston to me in the hospital and he walked in the morning about 8 in my room, and just sobbed and put his arms around me,” she said.
Kennedy also recalled her anger at comedian Vaughn Meader, who had a best-selling album lampooning the first family’s children. After its release, the Women’s Press Club had a reporter dress up as Caroline and ride a tricycle in an annual political skit.
“I listened to one side and then I threw it away,” she said of the Meader album, “The First Family.” And the following year, she broke tradition and refused to attend the Women’s Press Club dinner in protest of the Caroline skit.
In a forward to her mother’s oral history, Caroline Kennedy recalled her mother’s love of history, and how she wanted to preserve her husband’s legacy by recording an oral history documenting his Presidency. She would spend endless hours in meetings behind closed doors with her husband’s aides and friends, ensuring his days as President were properly preserved.
Both of her parents loved history, Caroline Kennedy writes, and she has kept her father’s dog-eared and marked-up books.
“I still have his books on the Civil War and English parliamentary history, as well as his annotated copy of ‘The Federalist Papers,’” she wrote.
Caroline Kennedy recently shared her mother’s oral history with her own children.
“They loved the stories about their grandfather,” she wrote, “and how insightful yet irreverent their grandmother was.” To Pre-Order “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John. F. Kennedy”
By Associated Press | Monday, September 12, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Celebrity News
NEW YORK — It’s a side of Jacqueline Kennedy only friends and family knew.
Funny and inquisitive, canny and cutting. In “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” the former first lady was not yet the jet setting celebrity of the late 1960s or the literary editor of the 1970s and ’80s. But she was also nothing like the soft-spoken fashion icon of the three previous years. She was in her mid-30s, recently widowed, but dry-eyed and determined to set down her thoughts for history.
Kennedy met with historian and former White House aide Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. in her 18th century Washington house in the spring and early summer of 1964. At home and at ease, as if receiving a guest for afternoon tea, she chatted about her husband and their time in the White House. The young Kennedy children, Caroline and John Jr., occasionally pop in. On the accompanying audio discs, you can hear the shake of ice inside a drinking glass. The tapes were to be sealed for decades and were among the last documents of her private thoughts. She never wrote a memoir and became a legend in part because of what we didn’t know.
The book is coming out Wednesday as part of an ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s first year in office. Jacqueline Kennedy died in 1994, and Schlesinger in 2007.
The world, and Jacqueline Kennedy, would change beyond imagination after 1964. But at the time of these conversations blacks were still “Negroes” and feminists were still suspect even in the view of a woman as sophisticated as Kennedy, who a decade later would grant an interview to Gloria Steinem’s “Ms.” magazine. In the book’s foreword, Caroline Kennedy faults Schlesinger for asking so few questions about her mother.
As historian Michael Beschloss notes in the introduction, Jacqueline Kennedy once accepted that wives were defined by their husbands’ careers and worried about “emotional” women entering politics. She enjoyed having her husband “proud of her,” saw no reason to have a policy opinion that wasn’t the same as his and laughed at the thought of “violently liberal women” who disliked JFK and preferred the more effete Adlai Stevenson.
“Jack so obviously demanded from a woman — a relationship between a man and a woman where a man would be the leader and a woman be his wife and look up to him as a man,” she said. “With Adlai you could have another relationship where — you know, he’d sort of be sweet and you could talk, but you wouldn’t ever … I always thought women who were scared of sex loved Adlai.”
There are no spectacular revelations in the Schlesinger discussions and virtually nothing about JFK’s assassination. Kennedy’s health problems and his extra-marital affairs were still years from public knowledge and from the knowledge of aides such as Schlesinger, who would often say he saw no “bimbos” in the White House halls. Jacqueline Kennedy speaks warmly throughout of her husband, remembering him as dynamic and perceptive and free of grudges, an assignment his wife and others took on for him.
Like any powerful family, the Kennedys had complicated relationships with those who shared their lives at the top. They valued loyalty, vision and ingenuity. They hated dullness, indecision and self-promotion, even among their own.
Jacqueline Kennedy dismissed the idea that the eldest Kennedy son, Joseph Jr., would have been president had he not been killed in World War II. “He would have been so unimaginative, compared to Jack,” she said. She contrasted the integrity of Robert F. Kennedy, the president’s brother and attorney general, with the designs of sister-in-law Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Robert Kennedy had begged JFK not to appoint him, fearing charges of nepotism. Eunice Kennedy, meanwhile, was anxious to see her husband, Sargent Shriver, named head of the department of Health, Education and Welfare.
“Eunice was pestering Jack to death to make Sargent head of HEW because she wanted to be a cabinet wife,” she tells Schlesinger. “You know, it shows you some people are ambitious for themselves and Bobby wasn’t.”
Politics means doing business with people you otherwise avoid and Jacqueline Kennedy logged in many hours. She endured dining with journalists and members of Congress who had criticized her husband. She called Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg “brilliant” but added that “he talks more about himself than any man I’ve ever met in my life.” White House speechwriter Theodore Sorensen had a “big inferiority complex” and was “the last person you would invite at night.” She referred to France’s Charles de Gaulle, whom she had famously charmed on a visit to Paris, as “that egomaniac” and “that spiteful man.” Indira Gandhi, the future prime minister of India, was a “prune — bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman.”
She was especially hard on Lyndon Johnson, who had competed bitterly with her husband for the presidency in 1960 and became vice president through the kind of hard calculation that the Kennedys became known for: Johnson was from Texas and the Democrats needed a Southerner to balance the ticket. Once in office, Johnson’s imposing personal style and reluctance to speak up during cabinet meetings alienated the Kennedys. They mocked his accent and his manners, while he resented the Kennedys and other “Harvards” he believed looked down on him. Many top aides left soon after Kennedy was assassinated. Robert Kennedy became a public critic of Johnson’s presidency and challenged him for the nomination in 1968.
“Jack said it to me sometimes. He said, ’Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon were president?’” she recalled. “And Bobby told me that he’d had some discussions with him … do something to name someone else in 1968.”
Historians have described President Kennedy as unemotional and undemonstrative. But his widow recalls him lying on the floor with the kids, watching fitness instructor Jack LaLanne on television. They would follow LaLanne’s moves and at times the president’s toes would touch with his son’s. JFK “loved those children tumbling around him in this sort of — sensual is the only way I can think of it.”
Her closest moments with her husband came during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the United States and the Soviet Union seemed on the verge of nuclear war. She would lie down with him when he took a nap and walk with him, the two saying little, on the White House lawn. Some officials had sent their wives away, but the first lady resisted. Should the bombs fall, she wanted them to be together.
“If anything happens, we’re all going to stay right here with you,” she remembers telling her husband. “Even if there’s not room in the bomb shelter in the White House … I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do, too — than live without you.”
♥ John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier ♥
Newport, RI ~ September 12, 1953
One of the most prominent marriages of the 20th century.
NEW YORK, Sept. 9 (UPI) — President John F. Kennedy didn’t want Lyndon Johnson to succeed him because he thought it wouldn’t be good for the country, Jacqueline Kennedy recalled in 1964.
ABC News reports in newly released interviews appearing in a book she said shortly before her husband’s assassination he had begun talking to his brother Robert F. Kennedy about ways to prevent Johnson from becoming the Democratic presidential nominee.
“He didn’t like that idea that Lyndon would go on and be president because he was worried for the country,” she said. “Bobby told me that he’d had some discussions with him. I forget exactly how they were planning or who they had in mind. It wasn’t Bobby, but somebody. ‘Do something to name someone else in ‘68.’”
The interviews appear in the book “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy” by historian and former Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Martin Luther King
In the interviews, the former first lady also had harsh words for slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. “I just can’t see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, ‘You know, that man’s terrible,’” she said.
ABC News, which is broadcasting parts of the recorded interviews in a 2-hour special Tuesday, said Robert Kennedy had told her about FBI wiretaps in which King had made negative comments about her husband’s November 1963 funeral, including Cardinal Richard Cushing, who celebrated the funeral Mass.
Robert Kennedy, she said, told her King “made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at (the funeral) and things about they almost dropped the coffin and — well, I mean Martin Luther King is really a tricky person.”
And she said her husband told her King had tried to arrange a sex party in the nation’s capital during the March on Washington in August 1963.
“He told me of a tape that the FBI had of Martin Luther King when he was here for the freedom march … how he was calling up all these girls and arranging for a party of men and women, I mean, sort of an orgy in the hotel and everything,” she said.
The ABC special “Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words,” featuring never-before-heard interviews with the former first lady, will air from 9 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13.
Diane Sawyer will report the special, which will feature an interview with Caroline Kennedy, the first lady’s daughter.
ABC News noted that Mrs. Kennedy recorded the interviews soon after President John Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963.
ABC News said her words “have remained strictly sealed — until now. The more than eight hours of official audio recordings were made with one of America’s most respected historians, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. From that point on, the famously private former first lady steadfastly refused to publicly discuss her memories of those years.”
The book “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy” will be published Sept. 14. The book contains unedited and complete recordings of the oral history interviews. Caroline Kennedy has written a foreword, and historian Michael Beschloss supplies annotations.
The topics include Mrs. Kennedy’s impressions about her husband, her family, the White House, the campaign trail, world leaders, major events (the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs) and President Kennedy’s final days in the White House.
Throughout the week of Sept. 13, ABC News will provide more Kennedy coverage on “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline” and “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” all on WFTV-Channel 9.
Everything seemed so peaceful on that sunny November day…
Jackie Bouvier, March 25 1953.