Famous Ladies From The Past – Part 1

Caroline Kennedy Listen, I’m no fan of Caroline Kennedy. Life’s cruel fates have distilled all that Kennedy drive, all that Bouvier style, all that citizenry love and expectation down into this bag of human disappointment:

How does one say “ya know” in Japanese?

I finished the J.B West memoir and the underlying  message is that the work of the White House staff goes on no matter who lives there and once families change, the transition is total and complete. Plans are made between the incoming First Lady and the chief usher before moving day so that when the new family enters the building for the first time after swearing in, their possession are in place and the private living quarters are all set up and ready for them with no trace of the previous family whatsoever. After the Kennedy assassination, Jackie asked Lady Bird for a favor – to let the nursery school on the third floor continue until after the  Christmas holidays. That way the transition for Caroline and the 19 other children would seem more natural than just stopping things the day the Kennedys moved out. Lady Bird agreed and that brings us to this sad passage:

Except for a few sentimental servants, she was generally ignored. Lynda and Luci were the new Princesses.

That must have been tough for a little kid – her position slightly off-center in the spotlight came to a sudden end along with everything else and the one home she knew was now a lonely place where she was ignored. She was unfriended in RL at age 6.

This is the saddest passage in the entire book.

Famous Ladies From The Past, Part 2 – Barbara Piasecka Johnson
Famous Ladies From The Past, Part 3 – Annette Funicello

10 thoughts on “Famous Ladies From The Past – Part 1”

  1. I hear what you are saying but I still find it difficult to muster up a single iota of sympathy for that clan of lace curtain scoundrels.

    As my (Irish) grandmother used to say “the blood will out”, which as a kid I never understood. I realize now she was taking a stance on the “nature vs. nurture” question.

  2. She was the ‘red-headed stepchild’ of the Kennedys. The brighter stars, Jackie and John-John, stole the light of every room and every story. Not as attractive as her mother (or her brother), not as charismic as her brother, she just plodded along as an afterthought.
    She looks as depressed as she has a right to be; her father killed by a crazy man, her mother brought down by an incurable cancer, and her brother killed in a suspicious accident.
    While every happy reunion or meeting of the Kennedy dynasty involves tons of relatives, brothers and sisters, her branch is composed of a single sad woman.

  3. you can’t pick your family.. circumstance of birth.. and subsequent family environmental influence.
    I still can’t find the stories about how Jackie hid the heroin addiction of JFK, Jr. — well hidden away from the public eye are these stories.

  4. I don’t think the JFK Jr. accident was suspicious. The weather was horrible that day. I had taken my young son to the beach and the photos show a gloomy gray day. Other pilots said that they would never have flown that day, particularly not over the ocean as in such weather the horizon is indistinguishable from the water. It was said at the time that they were delayed in taking off because Carolyn was late to arrive at the airport because she was getting her nails polished the same color as her gown for Rory’s wedding. Tragic if true.

  5. I saw Caroline on David Letterman once, and she was actually quire different than you might expect. She had spunk….she could give it and take it. Surprisingly, she was quite a bit like Tina Fey…only looser. I know!! I liked her a lot more than I thought I would.

  6. I find it hard to muster up any sympathy for the Kennedys.
    But, think of this, if Kennedy were in politics today and had the same positions on taxes he’d probably be in the Tea Party

  7. The Faustian Bargain negotiated by Joe was far worse for those Kennedys not claimed by “before their prime” by Beelzebub. May they all enjoy seeing their entrails devoured daily by the eagles after they hit up Prometheus. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

  8. Interesting that the Kennedys still prompt this kind of ire and interest. The Bushes, as a dynasty, have been way more successful at politics and wealth yet, as WASPs, knew that the key to success was keeping the private life private.

    W was certainly well-hated by a portion of the population but even in his case the true vituperation was aimed at Cheney and Rumsfeld. That was the price they paid for access to power.

    Live by the charisma, die by the charisma.

  9. Caroline bores the socks off me. She always looks dyspeptic – or dyspeptic with a brave, wan little smile that says “it’s not really that bad…..”. Trying desperately for a legacy of her own. How dreary.

    1. I agree with most of what you wrote. Caroline had a very unusual life after the death of her father. Certainly she was influenced by her life in Greece and by her step-father, Aristotle Onassis. She seems so ordinary and boring as an aging mother of several children. One would think that she would have turned out differently.

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