- But there’s this one thing I wanted to say… I’m so ashamed of myself… When Jack quoted something, it was usually classical… no, don’t protect me now… I kept saying to Bobby, I’ve got to talk to somebody, I’ve got to see somebody, I want to say this one thing, it’s been almost an obsession with me, all I keep thinking of is this line from a musical comedy, it’s been an obsession with me… At night before we’d go to sleep… we had an old Victrola. Jack liked to play some records. His back hurt, the floor was so cold. I’d get out of bed at night and play it for him, when it was so cold getting out of bed… on a Victrola ten years old — and the song he loved most came at the very end of this record, the last side of Camelot, sad Camelot… “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”…There’ll never be another Camelot again…
- Do you know what I think of history? … For a while I thought history was something that bitter old men wrote. But Jack loved history so… No one’ll ever know everything about Jack. But … history made Jack what he was … this lonely, little sick boy … scarlet fever … this little boy sick so much of the time, reading in bed, reading history … reading the Knights of the Round Table … and he just liked that last song.
Then I thought, for Jack history was full of heroes. And if it made him this way, if it made him see the heroes, maybe other little boys will see. Men are such a combination of good and bad … He was such a simple man. But he was so complex, too. Jack had this hero idea of history, the idealistic view, but then he had that other side, the pragmatic side… his friends were all his old friends; he loved his Irish Mafia.
History!… Everybody kept saying to me to put a cold towel around my head and wipe the blood off… later, I saw myself in the mirror; my whole face spattered with blood and hair… I wiped it off with Kleenex… History! … I thought, no one really wants me there. Then one second later I thought, why did I wash the blood off? I should have left it there, let them see what they’ve done… If I’d just had the blood and caked hair when they took the picture … Then later I said to Bobby — what’s the line between history and drama? I should have kept the blood on.
LIFE magazine (6 December 1963) Mrs. Kennedy interviewed by T.H. White, Hyannisport
Chilling. There she was, being interviewed just two weeks after her husband was killed in the most brutal, horrifying fashion beside her.
Just think of it, there was the space of a heartbeat between John F. Kennedy being who he was and the first bullet ending all that. In life that’s sometimes all it takes. For the bad things and the good. The space of a heart’s beat.
I think this quote of hers says it all:
“I think my biggest achievement is that, after going through a rather difficult time, I consider myself comparatively sane.”
Thanks for this post, Vickie, and thanks for liking and promoting my JFK memory. You are a dear.
I was three when it happened, and I remember the day vividly, and the confusion I had by the grief that appeared to be everywhere…and that I didn’t understand, really, until I got a six a.m. call and a friend said, “Turn on your television, something terrible is happening,” and I watched a plane fly into a tower…
Grace, beauty and wisdom, that was Jackie. Thanks for posting this — and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that photograph before.
That’s one thing these two did, they engaged with each other and the camera, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
What a photo! And all horrifying . . . .
She wore that blood forever after . . .
Thanks for posting this. I loved reading it.
It was touching. And you are very welcome.
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