Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Valley Gurl!?

"Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy; Interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. 1964"  Hyperion   367 pages   No price to be found.

In fairness to the then-widow Kennedy, she was interviewed only four months after his death; she had two little kids, had lost her home (the White House) and was only 33 years old.  The oral history was, however, her and Bobby Kennedy's idea.  Hordes of people were interviewed from heads of state to White House maids.

As I began the book, what struck me (like a wet fish across the mouth) was the many answers that she started with this word:  "Yeah."

She said that she got all of her political opinions from her husband and seemed indignant that anyone  would question that.  His opinions were, of course, much more knowledgeable than hers.

She and the children were at Glen Ora when JFK phoned and asked her to return to the White House, but didn't say why, at the start of the Cuban situation.  "...or I thought whenever you're married to someone and they ask something - yeah, that's the whole point of being married - you just sense trouble in their voice and mustn't ask why."

On meeting De Gaulle:  "Yeah.  Because I'd ask him things of history -- or all the things I wanted to know, like who did Louis XVI's daughter marry..."  DeGaulle told Kennedy that she knew more French history than many French citizens. 

After a dinner with Khruschev, she was asked if he had any charm?  "Yeah, it's just one gag after another.  It's like sitting next to Abbott and Costello or something." 

Describing something else, she said, "Suddenly some U-2 plane got loose over Alaska or something."  I really got the distinct impression she was playing Cute Little Girl with Schlesinger.  All wide-eyed and innocent.  Still, if you have interest in this time period in American history, this is an interesting look behind the curtains. 

No comments: