JFK'S HOME LIFE AT WHITE HOUSE
When JFK was President the glossy news magazines like LIFE, LOOK and SATURDAY EVENING POST were full of pictures of JFK at the White House with Jackie and -- when Jackie was away -- with Caroline, John-John and the pony Macaroni.
JFK would wave goodbye to Jackie at the airplane, and then he'd call his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, and tell him "now's our chance, invite the photographers in to get pictures of the children". Salinger, in books he wrote later, said he was torn between whether to listen to the President or listen to the First Lady who had gotten furious at him in the past for disobeying her orders that no photographers be allowed to take photos. He'd try to talk JFK out of it by telling him Jackie wouldn't like it and that he, Salinger, would be the one she'd blame -- to which JFK would say, "That's your problem".
So Salinger would phone up the magazines and the reporters would come rushing over and JFK would show off Caroline and John-John in the Oval Office and out and about on the White House grounds and we, the people, would fall in love all over again. And sure enough, when Jackie got home, she'd blow up at Salinger and the rest, as they say, is history.
Jackie had a reputation for cherishing her and the children's privacy -- wanting them to live as normal a life as possible out of the fish-bowl glare that was focused on JFK.
Now, amazingly, 50 years after JFK became President, and 48 years after his death, Jackie -- through her own voice in interviews she gave in 1964 -- reveals intimate details about her and the children's life with JFK in the upstairs family residence of the White House.
Her book, a transcript of the taped conversations, adds depth and passionate colour to what we had previously learned from books written by JFK's closest aides and his secretary.
Now, below, I've excerpted passages from those books and inserted photos, at pertinent passages (taken from various other books* I own) to share, with ORWELL TODAY readers, more wonderful truth about JFK. ~ Jackie Jura
...The Kennedy inauguration took place on a Friday [January 20, 1961]. Any other new President of the United States might have waited until Monday before starting his work, but Kennedy was so eager to get into his official duties that he ordered all of us on the White House staff to be at our desks on Saturday morning at nine o'clock. He was there himself at ten minutes before nine, testing the buzzers on his desk and frowning at the bare walls of the oval Presidential office, which had been stripped of President Eisenhower's belongings and freshly painted in a rather nauseous shade of green. Kennedy immediatly asked to have the office repainted in a cheerful off-white. He hurried back to the executive mansion's living quarters and returned with pictures of his wife, Caroline and John, and a watercolor painting by Jackie. In the next week such personal mementoes as his pieces of scrimshaw -- bits of whale teeth etched with sailing ship designs -- and his Navy identity card encased in a glass ashtray and the famous coconut shell from Nauro Island in the Solomons began to appear on his desk...
The President later decorated his office with naval paintings, ship models and flags, and a plaque given to him by Admiral Hyman Rickover inscribed with a Breton fishermen's prayer, "O, God, Thy sea is great, and my boat is so small." While she was rummaging in the White House basement, Jackie found a magnificent desk, made from the timbers of the British warship H.M.S. Resolute, that Queen Vitoria had presented to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878.... She had it sanded and refinished and moved it into her husband's office early in February, much to his delight.
The desk had a hinged panel in its side that opened like a door. When John became old enough to walk and talk, the President would often bring him to the office in the morning after Caroline had gone to school.
John would hide under the desk while the President was talking to me and other staff members about the day's appointments. We would hear a scratching noise behind the panel of the desk, and the President would exclaim, "Is there a rabbit in there?" The panel would swing open and John would pop out of the desk, growling and rolling on the carpet screaming with laughter....
My desk [Kenny O'Donnell] in the reception office next to the President's office had to be closer to him than anybody else's desk, because of my duty as his appointments regulator.
There were three doors leading into the President's office, one from my office, one from the office of his personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, and one from the main corridor outside.
There were also doors behind his desk leading outdoors to the Rose Garden, but it was understood that nobody except the Vice-President and Bobby could enter the office through those garden doors, unseen from inside the White House, and neither of them abused that special privilege.
The main door of the office, connected with the corridor, was always closed when the President was at his desk or sitting in the rocking chair before the fireplace, talking with a visitor. When it was open, staff members knew that the President's office was vacant.
The only time that visitors used the main door was when they came to the office in a large group, the White House press corps attending a special news conference around the President's desk, or a reception for a delegation of Congressmen, student leaders, or foreign dignitaries or Boy Scouts or clubwomen. All other visitors, whether or not they had an appointment, or if they were staff members or government officials summoned on the spur of the moment, or even if they were members of the Kennedy family dropping in to say hello, were supposed to enter through my office, with my knowledge and consent. We had to limit the access to the President's office to this one door in order to protect him from unwelcome intruders, time-wasting well-wishers and small-talkers and other appointment-schedule wreckers.
Very soon, in the first month of the administration, we found that the open door between the President and Evelyn Lincoln's secretarial office was a threat to his privacy. Mrs Lincoln was too kind-hearted and too cordial to bar a friend from an unnecessary visit to the President, and she was incapable of screening him from an unimportant phone call...
Staff members, military aides, old college friends and a few relatives who wanted a word or two with the President, and knew that my door would be barred against them, began to hang around in Mrs Lincoln's office, watching the President from her doorway. When he was alone, or seemed to be unoccupied, they would stick their heads into his office and ask if he had a moment to spare. The President was too polite to turn them away. It never occurred to Mrs Lincoln that she could ask them to get lost... The traffic from Mrs Lincoln's office became so heavy that the President issued an order that its door had to be kept shut at all times when he was in his office. Two days later, after he arrived for work in the morning, he rang for me and pointed at Mrs Lincoln's door. It had a newly bored peephole in it. "We can't win", he said.
I did my best to shield President Kennedy from unnecessary or time-wasting visitors, but never without his knowledge that I was doing so. My problem was not keeping people away from him, but trying to find time on the schedule for all of the people that he always wanted to see. He was the most accessible President of our time. Too much of the valuable time of any President of the United States is taken up by ceremonial duties required by his function as head of the state rather than by his work as chief executive officer of the government -- seeing callers who would be received in England by the Queen instead of by the busy Prime Minister. But Kennedy enjoyed such duties. He was particularly pleased to meet young people, high school or college students, and asked them all kinds of questions...
Dave Powers, the President's all-around right-hand man, also served as my assistant during our White House years, in charge of receiving visiting notables and trying to keep the President's crowded appointment schedule moving smoothly. Dave would greet a visitor in the West Lobby and hold him in the Cabinet Room or Fish Room until he could be escorted through my outer reception office into the President's office....Dave also served as President Kennedy's resident statistician and walking memory bank. He has a total recall of election votes in various states and cities and can recite them in a flash, not in round figures, but in precise number down to the last digit....
Dave was accustomed to being summoned for night duty at the White House when Jackie was absent. He called himself "John's Other Wife". The President hated to be alone in the evening. It was understood that Dave would be available to keep him company in the mansion even on nights when Jackie would be out of the house for only a short time. During the summer months, when Jackie and the children were at Hyannis Port and the President faced solitary confinement in Washington in the evenings from Monday until Thursday, Dave stayed with him until he went to bed. Their nightly routine was always the same.
The White House kitchen staff would prepare a dinner of broiled chicken or lamb chops that would be left in the second floor apartment on a hot-plate appliance so that they could eat it late in the evening alone, without keeping any of the staff waiting to serve them. Then they would watch television, or sit outside on the Truman Balcony, or the President would read a book and smoke a cigar while Dave drank several bottles of his Heineken's beer. "All this Heineken's of mine that you're drinking costs me a lot of money, Dave," the President would say, "I'm going to send you a bill for it one of these days." Around eleven o'clock, the President would get undressed and slip into the short-length Brooks Brothers sleeping jacket that he wore in preference to pajamas. Dave would watch him kneel beside his bed and say his prayers. Then he would get into the bed, and say to Dave, "Good night, pal, will you please put out the light?" Dave would put out the light, leave the apartment, say good night again to the Secret Service agent on duty in the downstairs hall, and drive home to his own house in McLean, Virginia.
The President also disliked swimming alone in the White House pool, which he did twice a day, even on his busiest days, before lunch and again in the evening. If Dave was not available to join him, he would bring another friend to the pool.
The water in the pool was heated to a temperture of 90 degrees, too warm for most people's taste, but Kennedy found that swimming in such heated water relaxed and eased the stiffness and pain in his disabled back muscles. Before swimming he performed a series of prescribed calisthenics under the direction of the Navy chief petty officers assigned to the White House as physical therapists. The exercises brought a marked improvement to his back ailment during his last year in the Presidency...
...SCHLESINGER ASKS: How would he begin the day? What time would he get up?
JACKIE ANSWERS: He'd get up a quarter of eight and George would come knock on our bedroom door and then he'd get up and go into his bedroom and have breakfast there.
I'd ring for breakfast at the same time or I'd sleep a little later. And then the children would come in and it was so incredible because they'd rush to turn on the television set and you'd hear this roar, full blast, of cartoons or that exercise man. And Jack would be sitting there -- he had breakfast in a chair with a tray in front of him, you know, reading the fifty morning papers or sheafs of all those briefing books to go over with Bundy, and this racket around. Then he'd take a bath. And I always thought it was so funny for people who used his bathroom -- guests -- it was the bathroom that men could use after dinner.
Because all along his tub were all these little floating animals, ducks and pink pigs and things. Because he said, "Give me something to do to amuse John while I'm in my bath." So John would float all these things around. And, he just could have those children tumbling around him. And then he'd always come into my room before he went over to the office -- I'd only be half asleep or else I'd be having breakfast -- and see me. And he used to take Caroline over to the office with him every day.
SCHLESINGER ASKS: That would be about 9:30.
JACKIE ANSWERS: Yeah...maybe a little earlier, I suppose. He'd be, I guess, over an hour having breakfast, reading the papers and taking a bath. And later on, it used to be John's treat to walk to the office with him every day...
SCHLESINGER ASKS: Then the President would always come back for lunch. I don't think he ever had lunch in his office, did he?
JACKIE ANSWERS: Never, unless he had a business lunch, you know in the family dining room downstairs. He always kept our floor -- we put in the dining room -- he'd keep all his business lunches downstairs. And he knew that that was our private place. It's so different from now, where everyone gets the tour of he bathrooms and things [Referring to the exuberante tours of the White House by Lyndon Johnson since becoming president]. Maybe because Jack had young children.
SCHLESINGER ASKS: And he very rarely liked to have -- he didn't like business lunches, did he? It seemed to me that he was very -- he much preferred to see people in his office rather than have luncheons.
JACKIE ANSWERS: Yeah, they were really heavy. Then he'd come up, you know, they were hard for him. And you're always awfully tired at the end of those White House mornings in your office and your nerves are on edge. So to have to go through a long lunch and wine and everything. And then he'd come up afterwards and still try to take whatever little nap he could. He never took a nap before, but in the White House, I think he made up his mind he would because it was so good for his health. Something was always cracking up before. And he'd always said that Winston Churchill used to do it and he'd often say how much more, you know, staying power it gave him. But his naps, my Lord, did I tell you about them?
Well, it'd be forty-five minutes and he'd get completely undressed and into his pajamas and into bed and go to sleep and then wake up again. And I often used to--
SCHLESINGER ASKS: And he could go to sleep -- put himself to sleep, could he?
JACKIE ANSWERS: Yeah, I used to think, for a forty-five minute nap, would you bother to take off all your clothes? It would take me forty-five minutes to just snuggle down and start to doze off. Sometimes when he had lunch in his room, in bed he'd have it, I'd have lunch in there with him and then I'd close the curtains and open the window for his nap and then I'd wake him up from it. And then I'd sit around while he got dressed. That was my hour instead of the children's. It would just be like clockwork -- forty-five minutes and he'd be back in his office. And then he'd always work until, well, after eight at night.
SCHLESINGER ASKS: Would he swim every day or was that only the later part after--
JACKIE ANSWERS: He came to the White House in the best physical condition that he was ever in in his life. He had muscles and everything. He played golf, sort of eighteen holes -- all these things he hadn't been able to do for a long time. And then he sat in his desk, without moving, for six weeks. He didn't walk around the driveway, he didn't swim, and suddenly his back went bad. He'd lost all the muscle tone. So then it was awful becaue he was really in pain. Dr Travell would come and pump him full with Novocain. He'd never done much exercise anyway, but as he said, the campaign of jumping in and out of cars, walking, you know, kept him fit. And then for the first time in his life, he'd really had -- from election to inauguration -- a lot of it in Florida, to play golf -- I don't know, twice a week or three times -- to swim, to walk on the beach. He never had such a long period of daily some kind of exercise. And he just lost it all sitting in his desk. And then he went back to Dr Travell, but all that Novocain, it didn't do any good anymore.
You know, it wasn't until the next October -- I got so mad at her because then other doctors were trying to bring Hans Kraus, who could build you up through exercises. Well, all these doctors are so jealous of each other and she wouldn't let Kraus come in. And finally, I'd sat by so many times while doctors did things to Jack -- well, doctors just pushed Jack all over the place -- that I really got mad and got in there and got the back surgeon and the other -- everybody -- and just forced him to have Kraus. And Kraus started these series of exercises which he did every evening with the navy chief. You know, like lift -- trying to touch your toes or lying on your stomach and trying to raise one leg. And you could just see -- I mean, he still was in pain a lot that winter -- oh, and it went out really badly, you remember, in May in Canada. But by the next October, when he started to do these, after a while...
SCHLESINGER ASKS: But he was weak before he went to Canada? In other words, it wasn't the planting the tree in Canada which caused it all, it was really the lack of exercise that really did it. How long a day would he exercise?
JACKIE ANSWERS: Oh, well, these exercises with the chief would just take about fifteen minutes. You know, sort of sitting-up exercises or then they'd hold your legs so you'd have to try to lift it up against it. But you know, Jack could never touch his toes. He couldn't get his hands down any farther than his knees standing up. He couldn't put on his shoes before -- sort of bend over that far. He could if he'd lift his foot in his lap, or something. So, as I say, he wasn't a cripple -- that sounds funny -- he could do everything, but you'd just notice when you'd see him trying to reach for something he'd dropped on the floor, how stiff he was. My Lord, at the end, in a couple of months, he could touch his toes, he could do all these things he'd never been able to do -- knee bends -- So then once Kraus started -- then that was, you know, encouraging, because he'd get so discouraged. That's when you'd see him in black periods. Well, he'd tried and he had every doctor and Dr Travell had given him the tenth treatment and before she always helped. And now there didn't seem to be any answer. So then Kraus then helped him and that cheered him up.
SCHLESINGER ASKS: Your White House parties -- the best parties I've ever gone to -- were they --
JACKIE ANSWERS: Well, I'll tell you why I thought of having them. The one thing I noticed was that I could get away from the White House and I could go to New York and see a play or got to a restaurant. Jack never liked to go out before, when he was in his home, but he had liked to stop in New York a couple of days, see a play, go to the Pavillon [restaurant owned by his father] -- see some different people. I mean, we were young and we were gay and you couldn't cut all that off from him and just leave his life full of worry. So the first one I thought of having, it was when Lee [Jackie's sister] was over. I thought that would be an excuse to have one. And I thought of all those people from New York or -- everywhere, the people he wasn't seeing -- that's why so few people from Washington came to them, in a way. And it turned out -- well, he loved it. So then he'd say -- every now and then, maybe after three or four months or when there'd been sort of a ghastly month and I had such a stiff neck from being tense, or he'd been having a bad time, he'd say -- Let's have another one of those parties. And well, he just loved them because -- it's sort of a way to renew yourself.
He'd always tell me to go visit Lee or go to New York or something, when he could see the tension of there was getting to me. Because you see, when we came in there [to the White House], I was very weak and plus all the thing of the campaign, plus the baby, plus -- and to hit that place running and start to do all the work of running the house, getting a chef, doing the food, the flowers, the reconstruction, restoration, whetever it is. Sometimes at the end of the day you'd just feel one jump away from tears, but you wanted to be so cheerful for Jack when he came home, which I always was, but he could see when it was getting to be a bit too much. And that first winter I couldn't sleep very well. He'd always send you away and -- when he knew you were tired. And then you'd come back happy again. I always think our whole married life was renewals of love after, you know, brief separations.
SCHLESINGER ASKS: Where would you go on the weekends in that first--
JACKIE ANSWERS: Glen Ora. We didn't use -- it's funny, he never thought of using Camp David, either. I'd sort of had this thing about having to get a house in the country, and he'd hated Camp David when he went there with Eisenhower. He said, "It's the most depressing-looking place" -- which it is, from the outside. Then Taz Shepard, his naval aide, kept pestering and pestering him to go there. And Tish used to say to me, "The navy's so hurt and demoralized he won't go there." So finally, one weekend, he said, "All right, let's go to Camp David." Then he got to rather love it because it is comfortable, so then we'd go there a bit, but go to Glen Ora mostly on weekends, which he didn't like, really at all.
SCHLISINGER ASKS: Why didn't he like Glen Ora?
JACKIE ANSWERS: Well, you know, there's nothing for him to do. Camp David, I suppose, you could have a movie at night. And it's just a rather small, dark house. He liked to see me ride -- you know, be happy being out in the air all day, because he always said that my Daddy told him, "Keep her riding and she'll always be in a good mood." Well, in a way, the thing that that means is exercise and fresh air, which is true. You make an extra effort every day to go out and play tennis, though I couldn't play it. Or just get in the air, walk ten times around the South Lawn. Because if you just stay indoors and smoke cigarettes and work at your desk and talk on the telephone until you know your throat is all tight, you can't be gay for anyone.
Then we started to go to Camp David that spring. And he'd always come down -- I think rarely he came Friday evening -- he'd always come on Saturday, sort of at lunchtime. And then he'd sleep all Saturday afternoon and then he'd watch, all the afternoon, television or something from his bed. It was just a letdown for him. And we'd always have a friend for the weekend, have dinner, go to bed early, church the next day, papers, another nap. Beause he said "I don't really care about Glen Ora because all I use it for is to sleep."
SCHLESINGER ASKS: He preserved his weekends very faithfully. Almost every weekend he went off.
JACKIE ANSWERS: Practically every weekend, except the -- which was the -- '62? There'd be some weekends -- election things he'd have to do, or a couple of fund-raising things in New York or something.
And then this fall, we did have two or three weekends at our new house in Virgina -- and then -- Tampa, Dallas. You know, because it was a campaign year, you didn't expect to have many weekends...
SCHESINGER ASKS: What did he make of sort of the Last Hurrah world of Massachusetts? Obviously he enjoyed it and got a great kick out of it.
JACKIE ANSWERS: He enjoyed it the way he loves to hear Teddy tell stories about Honey Fitz [JFK's maternal grandfather]. He enjoyed stories about his grandfather -- but he really wasn't [of the Last Hurrah]. Kenny and Dave [David Powers was an Irish-American from Charlestown, Boston, jovial and unflappable, who started with JFK during the first House campaign in 1946 and stayed with him for the rest of Kennedy's life, as friend, raconteur, travelling companion, and man-of-all-work] and everyone -- now that people are talking about writing books about Jack -- they always say to me, "Why should Sorensen and Schlesinger write books? They won't be for the ones he belonged to. Why doesn't someone write a book for the three-deckers?" [The three-story Boston apartment houses known for housing newly arrived immigrants and factory workers and their descendants, especially Irish-American ones, such as Morrissey and Powers]. You know? And they think that Jack is theirs. But he wasn't, really.
When I think -- now that he's dead and the different people who come to me -- you'd think he belonged to so many people, and each one thought they had him completely, and he loved each one just the way love is infinite of a mother for her children. If you have eight children, it doesn't mean you love them any less than if you just have two -- that the love is diminished that much. So he loved the Irish, he loved his family, he loved the people like you and Ken Galbraith. He loved me and my sister in the world that had nothing to do with politics, that he looked to for pleasure and a letdown. He loved us all. And you know, I don't feel any jealousy. He had each of you. He really kept his life so in compartments, and the wonderful thing is that everyone in every one of those compartments was ready to die for him. And we all loved everyone else because they all liked me -- because they knew I would. And I love Dave Powers, though I never saw him much before. It's just now that you see how Jack just knew in every side of his life what he wanted. He never wanted to have the people in the evening that he worked with in the daytime. And often I'd say in the White House, "Why don't we have Ethel and Bobby for dinner?" because I thought Ethel's feelings might be getting hurt. But he never wanted to see Bobby, and Bobby didn't want to come either, because they'd worked all day. So you'd have people who were rather relaxing...
No one ever thought Jack had a favorite -- unless it was Dave Powers, who was a favorite for what everyone hoped he would have a favorite for -- someone to relax him, you know. But he didn't have any favorites. And so that way, they could all work together. There was no intrique of "who's in" and "who's out". And as Kenny said -- he didn't put Kenny in the position of being the only man you could get to see the President through. They could also sneak around through Mrs Lincoln's door, or Tish would manage to -- you know, there were so many ways. Well, he was so accessible, and yet he got so much more done -- than now. He was accessible, but when he worked he really worked. He didn't, you know, break things up.
SCHLESINGER ASKS: When would the President see the children?
JACKIE ANSWERS: He'd see the children -- I didn't tell you all our day once, did I? Of how in the morning George Thomas would rap on our bedroom door about quarter of eight, and he would go into his room, and the children would come in. And they'd either turn on the television, going absolutely full blast, and he'd have his breakfast, sitting in a chair, on a tray, doing all his reading -- the morning papers, going through all his briefing books or, you know, those sheets of typewritten -- his agenda for the day.
SCHLESINGER ASKS: He'd do that before he got dressed? A dressing gown or something?
JACKIE ANSWERS: No, he'd take a bath first and they'd come in while he had a bath. I told you all of John's toys were by the side of his tub. And then he'd sort of have breakfast in his shirt and underpants. And on the television -- gosh, sometimes it was loud because I'd often come in because of it -- sometimes I'd like to just, sort of, stay in bed until about nine. But I'd come in there and sit with him, sometimes. But there'd be cartoons, and there was this awful exercise man, Jack LaLanne. So Jack would lower -- and there'd be Jack LaLanne -- and he'd be telling Caroline and John to do what they were doing, so they'd be lying on the floor. Sometimes he'd touch his toes with John a bit. But he'd have them tumbling around. He loved those children tumbling around him in this sort of -- sensual is the only way I can think of it. And then 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.
The teachers -- he used to call out his two favorites, Caroline and Mary Warner. And then the teacher said it wasn't fair for him to give them candy. She told Caroline she could only get candy if there would be some for the entire class. So Mrs Lincoln had an entire box of Barracini candy that -- but he'd go out, or if I was around there with John, he'd call us in for a little bit in his office, and then he'd send them out and then John would play on Mrs Lincoln's typewriter.
Then they'd come over in the evening, just as he was finishing up for the day, and just play around his office. One of the last days I remember -- well, you know, there's that wonderful picture -- of them all talking about Berlin, which was an awful sort of crisis -- and John tumbling out from under his desk. But, oh, and then one of the last days, Charlie the dog came in and bit John on the nose and Bundy had to get Dr Burkley.
You know the children were never bratty but he liked to have them underfoot, and then he'd take them swimming -- or else, if it didn't work out quite that way -- when he'd come upstairs before dinner, no matter who we had for dinner, they'd come in. You know, they'd have their time with him in their pajamas. He really would play with them first even if it was a state dinner. He'd always say -- even when it was a state lunch or just a man's lunch, usually he'd have men in the room -- and he'd say, "Go get the children!" And, of course, they'd always be in their naps in their underwear or something, and I'd have to bring them out in their underwear because he'd never give you any warning before. But he just loved to have them around. And then -- he'd really taught Caroline to swim the length of the pool in Florida, the last Christmas she was there. Well, she got a quarter of the way and did the rest under water. He was saying, "Come on, you can make it!" You know, he did so much with them. And he told her all these stories. He'd make up "The White Shark and the Black Shark," and "Bobo the Lobo," and "Maybelle" -- some little girl who hid in the woods. And then one day, he was desperate and I said, "What?" He said, "Gosh, you've got to get me some books, or something. I'm running out of children's stories." He said, "I just told Caroline how she and I shot down three Jap fighter planes."
SCHLESINGER ASKS: Were there any books that he liked reading or the children demanded that he read?
JACKIE ANSWERS: No, he didn't read -- he didn't like to read books to them much. He'd rather tell them stories. But he'd make up these fantastic ones that they were just riveted by. Oh, and then he'd have ponies for Caroline -- White Star and Black Star. Caroline said to me, "Daddy would always let me choose which pony I wanted to ride and which pony my friend would ride." And then he would make some race and he would always let Caroline win the race. And then he had a -- oh, Miss Shaw was in a lot of them, rather ludicrously -- and Mrs Throttlebottom was in the race. And how Caroline went hunting -- the Orange County hounds and then White Star and Black Star -- she went in the Grand National and beat every -- you know, little things that had to do with their world, where they did absolutely extraordinarily. John got his PT boat and shot a Jap destroyer, or something like that. But, he never got impatient. They'd come in his bed, you know....
The President didn't have to be reminded of his tenth wedding anniversary. When he opened the morning paper there were pictures of him and Mrs Kennedy taken ten years before together with recent pictures of them. A soon as he stepped into the office he wanted me to get Klejman, an art dealer in New York, on the phone. He ordered somethinhg for Mrs Kennedy. I didn't hear what it was, but he asked me to arrange for it to be in Washington in time for him to take with him when he went to her mother's home in Newport that afternoon. "You might also have the gardener fix another bouquet of flowers from the garden."
Then a little later he told me that he had called Wildenstein's Art Gallery and ordered some paintings and he wanted me to arrange for them to be in Newport that evening. The flower room said the bouquet would be ready by 5:30 in time for the President to take with him. Klejman's gift arrived during the afternoon, and the paintings from Wildenstein's were being sent to Newport to be picked up at the airport and delivered to Hammersmith Farm at the time the President arrived.
While Mrs Kennedy was in Newport, the President took a conservation tour all the way from Pennsylvania to California. It was a wonderful trip, and we saw some gorgeous scenery. But more important to us was the reception the President received everywhere. These trips were like tonic to the President. He was really a campaigner at heart, and he loved talking to people. Most of all, by getting out among the people he was given assurance that they approved of what he was trying to do in Washington. He was particularly pleased that the test ban treaty he had worked on so hard to achieve was getting a very favourable response.
Shortly thereafter, Mrs Kennedy and her sister, Lee Radziwill, and Lee's husband, Prince Radziwill, left for a ten-day cruise in the eastern Mediterranean aboard the yacht Christina. While Mrs Kennedy was away, Caroline and John came over a couple of times a day to see their father. Sometimes they would come around seven o'clock at night, already in their bathrobes and ready for bed, to romp with their daddy before he went to the pool. These were happy times for the President.
They would play around in my office until he opened the door from his office and saw them. He always acted very surprised, but he couldn't help knowing they were out there with the squeaks and giggles they let out. He would say to John, "Hello there, Sam, how are you?" "I am not Sam, I'm John." Sometimes he would say to Caroline, "Hello there, Mary." "No, my name's Caroline," she would say very seriously. He would sit in the rocking chair in my office, and they would climb all over him. Then he would say, "I'll race you over to the pool." Their little legs would start running before he even moved a muscle. They always won, and then they went laughing on up to bed.
For some time the President had been wanting a headstone placed at the grave site of little Patrick. Richard Cardinal Cushing sent some designs to him, but he didn't care for any one of them, and one day when he was standing at my desk, he said, "Mrs Lincoln, this is the kind of headstone I would like." He took a piece of paper from my desk and drew the shape of the stone he wanted. "Send this drawing up to them and tell them to go ahead with this and I would like to have it on the grave when I go up to Boston to speak at the Democratic fund-raisig dinner." This meant he wanted it there by October 19th.
To me, October 7th will always stand out as one of the greatest days of the President's administration. On that day he signed the documents for ratification of the muclear test ban treaty. The signing was at ten o'clock in the Treaty Room of the White House, and I asked him if I could be present when he signed it. I walked along behind him when he went over to sign it.
When he had finished and began shaking hands with the Senators and others present, I slipped out and returned to my office. When he came back to the office he handed me a pen he had used and said, "Will you put this pen away with the other pens we are keeping. And, oh yes, I brought one for you." I knew he appreciated my wanting to see him sign that treaty, and he wanted to show it by giving me a pen that had made a stroke in history.
One morning he asked me to have someone go downtown and buy some little model airplanes to put in his bedroom so that he could give one to John when he came to visit in the mornings. "It doesn't have to be much of an airplane, just a little something because he enjoys receiving them." I gave the assignment to Muggsie, who came back with some fantastic airplanes. They turned, they tumbled, and some looked almost as if they could take off. The President said they were just fine. "But don't you think I should have something to give Caroline when she comes in with John in the mornings? What about little horses?" So Muggsie went on another shopping spree.
Near the end of October the President went to Masschusetts to receive an honourary degree from Amherst College and speak at the ground-breaking ceremonies for the Robert Frost Memorial Library. When he returned, he flew directly to Atoka, Virginia, where Mrs Kennedy and he were going to spend the weekend in their new home. He came back to the office on Monday very anxious over the civil rights legislation. He worked for an hour and a half on it and finally came up with a compromise proposal he thought would pass the House. Then he went into a meeting on the Algerian question that lasted for about half an hour.
While he was in that meeting, Caroline and John came outside my door and tapped on the window. When I looked up, I saw two masks staring at me. I remembered that it would soon be Halloween, and I opened the door and acted as though I were scared stiff. They whooped and hollered and laughed, thinking they had frightened me. They wanted to know where their daddy was. I told them he was in a meeting. "Do you think he will know who we are?" Caroline asked. "He will never recognize you." They jumped around my office, barely able to wait until he came out and saw them. He, too, acted scared and told them to go away. John pulled off his mask as if to say, "Look who it is," and the President said, "Why, it's Sam." John was so mad he put his mask back on. Then Caroline pulled hers off, and he went through the same thing with her. Both of them pounced on him then. They wanted him to roll on the floor with them. He went into his office with both of them behind him.
He called for the dogs and was going to feed them some dog candy he had asked me to keep in the office, but the dogs must have been penned up over in the flower room because they were nowhere to be found. As world problems surrounded him, particularly the recent coup in Vietnam, the President seemed to find an antidote for the tension in Caroline's and John's visits.
On Veterans Day, November 11th, the President went to Arlington Cemetery to place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns, and he took John with him.
While the President placed the wreath on the Tomb, he left John and Agent Bob Foster in the car and told them he would be right back. Then he decided to go up to the speaker's platform and listen to the ceremony, so he sent word to Foster to bring John down in front of the Amphitheater. The next day the papers were full of pictures of little John and his daddy at Arlington Cemetery. While they were riding back to the White House from the Cemetery, the President was in a playful mood, and every once in awhile gave John a little nudge. One time John hit him back. The President said, "I'm going to tell Miss Shaw on you," and playfully hit John again. John replied to his father, "I'm going to tell Mrs Lincoln on you."...
JFK & JACKIE CUBAN MISSILE LOVE STORY
(Jackie refused to leave JFK alone in White House)
JFK & JACKIE SHINING CAMELOT
(for one brief shining moment there was Camelot)
Photographer who captured John-John salute dies
(the shot seen around the world)
Irish/Annapolis/YouTube, Mar 3-8, 2012
watch John-John boarding Air Force One &
watch JFK YEARS OF LIGHTNING, DAY OF DRUMS
LITTLE SOLDIER JOHN-JOHN SALUTED JFK
JFK, JACKIE & BABY PATRICK
& 4.Old World Destruction
*photos scanned from books:
FOUR DAYS: THE HISTORICAL RECORD OF THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY, UPI/American Heritage, 1964
THE JOHN F KENNEDYS: A FAMILY ALBUM, Mark Shaw, Personal Photographer, 1964
THE KENNEDY YEARS, New York Times, Viking Press, 1964
JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY...AS WE REMEMBER HIM, family/friends/intimate associates, Columbia Records, 1965
ONE BRIEF SHINING MOMENT: REMEMBERING KENNEDY, William Manchester, 1983
LIFE IN CAMELOT, Little/Brown/Time Inc, 1988
JFK REMEMBERED: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT BY HIS PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, Jacques Lowe, 1993
JACKIE'S TREASURES: THE FABLED OBJECTS, Dianne Condon, Cader Books, 1996
THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE, Carl Anthony, Touchstone Books, 2002
JOHN F KENNEDY BIOGRAPHY, Joyce Milton, AE/DK Publishing, 2003
JFK & JACKIE: UNSEEN ARCHIVES, Tim Hill, Parragon Publishing, 2003
JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY: A LIFE IN PICTURES, Phaidon Press, 2003
JACK KENNEDY: THE ILLUSTRATED LIFE OF A PRESIDENT, Chuck Wills, Chronicle Books, 2009
JFK TRUTHS & UNTRUTHS & JFK ASSASSINATION PUZZLE PIECES
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