glen ora

Jackie with her German Sheppard, Clipper and Jack. I’ve always loved how relaxed they both look–like they can both be themselves with no camera or politics. Just Jack and Jackie Kennedy, two halves of the same whole.

Jacqueline Kennedy Story Time (the promised Birthday edition)

1. During one of the Kennedy outings on the yacht, Jackie was invited for the sail and lunch. Eunice made the picnic basket and began handing out thick peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to everyone. Jackie hated jelly and her disgust was purely evident as Eunice handed her one dripping with jelly from the sides. Eunice said, “I put extra strawberry jam on this one for you.” The jam dripped down her hands as Jackie exclaimed, “Oh my God, no. I brought my own lunch.” Jackie opened up her own basket to reveal a plate of pate and a bottle of white wine. She triumphantly asked, “anyone care for some?" Joe enthusiastically took some. Leave it to Jackie to bring her own wine.  

2. Shortly after returning from their honeymoon, Jack and Jackie moved into a two-bedroom home in Georgetown, close to Bobby and Ethel. Ethel loaned Jackie drapes and slipcovers, though Jackie didn’t like them much, she took them gratefully anyway. One morning, Jackie attended a family gathering where she pulled Ethel over to the side and asked, "Now, just how do you make that delicious fried chicken of yours?” Ethel laughed and said, “Whoever said I made delicious friend chicken?” Jackie: “Well, Jack says you make the best fried chicken in the world.” Ethel was tickled as she said, “No, it’s his sister Eunice. She’s the one who makes fried chicken. All I did was get the recipe from her and give it to my cook. And now she makes the best fried chicken in the world, too. I can lend it to you if you like.” Jackie thought it over, then asked, “do you think you could lend me your cook instead?”

3. Jackie was working with Jim Ketchum for the antique pieces they’d recently acquired for the White House restoration. Jackie was sitting cross-legged on top of a two-drawer file cabinet, a clipboard in one hand, pen in the other. In tight blue jeans and a white sweatshirt, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail with a white bow, she asked, “Okay, now how many more pieces are we looking at?” Jim replied, “There’s a lot left, Mrs. Kennedy. Looks like we’re going to be here for a while.” as he checked the inventory sheet. “Really?” Jackie asked looking up for from her list, a surprised expression on her face, “Well, I have things to do. I have a state dinner to plan. Come with me. we don’t gave all day.” She proceeded to jump off the cabinet, walked over to the truck, and for the next hour, she helped six amazed movers carry furniture into the White House storage area. Later one of the men asked Ketchum who that lady was. Ketchum said, “The First Lady.” the mover’s jaw slackened. Ketchum later recounted, “to us, she was Mrs. Kennedy, the go-getter. Jackie, the Kid.”

4. Jackie’s soft, breathy voice is what she’s most known for, but she never was sensitive about it. She often teased herself and made jokes.  Jim Ketchum remembered one employee at the White House who did an impression of Jackie that, had she been sensitive, would’ve hurt her feelings. Jackie walked into this employee and absolutely loved it and doubled over in laughter. Jim said “But she would gather us all together and make this woman do the impression at the drop of a hat.” Jackie would say, “No one is leaving this room until you do it…Do it again!!!” she would say as she laughed. She’d then exclaim, “One day I’m going to make you do this at a private party with Jack and the others. Jack would adore it.”

5. The day after the infamous Marilyn rendition of “Happy birthday” to the President, Clint Hill was with Jackie at Glen Ora in Virginia. Jackie, bewildered and frustrated, paced the living room. When the phone rang, she ran to it and discovered it was Ethel. Jackie could not stand it when Ethel critiqued or made fun of her and her anger only rose. Ethel wanted to discuss how angry she was about it  and to tell her how to handle the matter with the President. Jackie did not like to be pushed and exploded on Ethel, yelling, “My understanding of it is that Bobby was the one who orchestrated the whole goddamn thing,” She paused and resumed, “The Attorney General is the troublemaker here, Ethel. Not the President. So it’s Bobby I’m angry at, not Jack.”