Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jackie, JFK and Marilyn Monroe

MAY 19, 2010

On this day in 1994, former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died of lymphoma at the age of 64. Here are my reflections on Jackie and her years as First Lady.

If John F. Kennedy was the King Arthur of the Camelot White House, then Jackie was its Queen Guinevere. Of course, like the legend of King Arthur, the Camelot White House was also a myth. It was such a beautiful myth that it was sad to see the bubble burst. Jackie was young, glamourous and sophisticated. Only 31-years-old when she became First Lady, she set the fashion trends of her day. She wore sensational gowns and her trademark pillbox hats. When she accompanied JFK on a visit to Paris, she thoroughly charmed the French with her swan-like gracefulness and poise. Her husband even joked about how she had upstaged him there.

Women of the 1960s admired Jackie and they tried to imitate her. After all, she wore beautiful hairstyles and she was married to a handsome, charasmatic man who just happened to be president of the United States. For that one brief, shining moment, it appeared as if Camelot had come to America. Jackie seemed to have it all -until that dreadful day in Dallas. Most people didnt know that the so-called Camelot of the Kennedys had come crashing down long before the tragic events of November 22, 1963.

In this digital age of journalism, it's hard to believe JFK's ties to the Mafia and his infidelities were kept a secret at the time. There must have been some agreement among the press to keep quiet about the president's escapades. It is inconceivable that the media were oblivious to the goings-on behind the scenes.

One thing I will say about Jackie, she was not a blabbermouth. She never wrote a tell-all book. She never appeared on talk shows to reveal the private details of her years in the White House. Nor did she tell tales about the Onassis family.

Here's the final irony. On this day in 1962, Marilyn Monroe delivered her famous rendition of  "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at a celebration of JFK's 45th birthday in New York. Yes, Jackie died on the same date - May 19th.

At the president's Madison Square Garden birthday party, actor Peter Lawford, JFK's brother-in-law at the time, introduced Marilyn to those in attendance , as "the late Marilyn Monroe." Lawford obviously meant "late" as in tardy, but Marilyn was found dead in August of 1962. How eerie!

To view a a video of Marilyn's rendition of Happy Birthday, Mr. President, click on the link below.


The Blue Jays are hot. They defeated Minnesota handily in the second game of their two-game series. They start a road trip now.

There is no joy in Montreal. The Habs lost again to Philadelphia. Montreal did not even score a goal and the final score was 3-0. The Canadiens have not yet put the puck in the net in this series.

- Joanne

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