Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beach Read

Not that we here in Redondo have any reason to go to the beach ... we are now in the season known not-so-fondly as June Gloom.  Since this period is a well-established situation, any climate change zealots reading this, cool your jets. 

When our summer does come though, this struck me as a particularly good beach read.
 "Jackie's Girl - My Life With the Kennedy Family," by Kathy McKeon 309 pages   $26

McKeon came to America from Ireland in 1964.  She and her older sister were sent to an aunt and uncle who had established a beach head in NY.  Through a family connection,  she got the job as personal assistant to Ms. Kennedy (as she was then.)   Later on her duties included babysitting the children Caroline and John.  Her service lasted for 13 years and thus she was able to see the young Kennedys growing up.

What she did for Madam (she was told to address her as such) was pretty much lady's maid - sort the clothes, lay out the outfits complete with shoes, purse and matching underwear.    The shoes hit McKeon's lust button - pairs and pairs of them, all with an "x" incised on the shoe sole so that Madam wouldn't slip on the marble floors.  One shoe always had a 1/4 in. lift.

McKeon was by no means alone in her service.  In addition to Maud, the children's long-time governess and McKeon, Madam also employed May, the waitress, a series of cooks/chefs and Charlie who cleaned the six bathrooms, polished the floors and the heavier work.  McKeon says that because most of them were Irish (Provi whom McKeon replaced was Puerto Rican) and as the Irish are said to do, fought all of the time complete with running to Madam, little tricks on one another to make the recipient look bad.  Altogether a lively household. 

Of equal interest to me was the home from which McKeon came.  They had no electricity and no running water.  In the early '60s!  It's a brief section of the whole, but nonetheless interesting for a contrast in life styles.  

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