Sunday, October 27, 2013

John F. Kennedy's romance with Danish journalist Inga Arvad

Inga Arvad

Jack saved Inga's letters through the war.  He saved them when he was in Congress.  He saved them when he married Jackie, when he entered the White House, when he had his children.  Inga obviously meant more to him than any other woman he had known, and he visited her with some frequency long after they had broken up.
          - Barbara Gibson and Ted Scharz
          From The Kennedys: The Third Generation

As the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination on November 22, 1963 approaches, the life of the 35th President of the United States is becoming increasingly topical.  I've been reading a book titled The Kennedys: The Third Generation by Barbara Gibson and Ted Schwarz.  Gibson was Rose Kennedy's personal secretary and was privy to the goings-on of three generations of the storied Kennedy clan.  Until I began reading her book, I was completely unaware of JFK's relationship with a suspected Nazi spy named Inga Arvad.  I found myself intrigued and decided to delve further into the story.

Inga Arvad was born Inga Maria Petersen on October 6, 1913 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  In 1931, she changed her last name to Arvad.  The tall, blond journalist was selected a beauty queen by a Danish newspaper and, according to Barbara Gibson, she also "won a beauty contest in France, which she apparently entered for the fun of it."  A well-educated woman, Arvad studied in Brussels, London and Paris.  

Inga was married and divorced before she reached the age of 20.  She wed her first husband, Egyptian diplomat Kamal Abdel Nabi, in 1931 when she was only 17 years old.  Her second husband was Hungarian film director Paul Fejos whom she met while playing a small role in a movie being filmed in Denmark.  They married in 1936.  Inga was still married to Fejos when she travelled to the United States in 1939 and during her affair with John F. Kennedy in 1941 and 1942.  She did not divorce Fejos until June of 1942.

Prior to World War II, Inga Arvad accepted a job as the Berlin correspondent for a Danish newspaper.  As a young journalist, she interviewed Nazi leaders Hermann Göring and Josef Goebbels.  Inga scooped her colleagues by reporting that Göring was soon to wed German actress Emmy Sonnemann.  Inga was a guest at the nuptials which took place on April 10, 1935 and she was introduced to many high level Nazis.  She was even granted interviews with Adolf Hitler.  In 1936, Inga attended the infamous Berlin Olympics and sat in in Hitler's private press box and was photographed with the Nazi leader.  The Führer was reported to have described her as a perfect example of Nordic beauty.  Of Hitler, Inga wrote, "You immediately like him . . . The eyes, showing a kind heart, stare right at you."

Hitler with Inga Arvad

When war broke out in 1939, Inga left Europe and immigrated to the United States.  She first settled in New York where she enrolled in the graduate program at the Columbia University School of Journalism.  She then relocated to Washington, D.C. where she found employment as a syndicated columnist for the Washington Times-Herald profiling government officials.  JFK's elder sister, Kathleen, was also a reporter at the Times-Herald and assisted Inga with her "Did You Happen to See . . ." column.  It was through Kathleen that Jack met the alluring Inga Arvad.

Jack Kennedy was a 24-year-old U.S. Navy ensign and Inga, at 28, was four years his senior. They began a romantic relationship around November of 1941.  When the FBI discovered that Arvad was involved with an American naval officer who was a member of the Kennedy family, they stepped up their investigation of the Scandinavian journalist through wiretapping her telephone, tracking her movements, intercepting her mail and entering her apartment.  At the time, Captain Seymour A.D. Hunter, JFK's superior officer, was quoted as saying that the U.S. Navy regarded Inga Arvad as a Mata Hari.

Inga may have been a Nazi spy but there is no concrete evidence that that was the case.  While it is true that Hitler and his henchmen lavished her with a great deal of attention, Arvad was a society writer and never overtly expressed agreement with Nazi politics.  In fact, she claimed that she despised Hitler's policies and only met him for interviews.  It is possible that the Germans had hoped to persuade her into performing acts of espionage for them and that she refused. According to Barbara Gibson, Inga immediately fled when the Nazis approached her to retrun to Paris and spy for them and that she temporarily left journalism because she feared that her credibility as a reporter was at risk.

The affair between Inga Arvad and Jack Kennedy cooled after January of 1942 when Kennedy was reassigned to a desk job in South Carolina.  By March, when he was sent to active duty in the Pacific with a PT-boat squadron, the writing was on the wall.  They had no chance of a future together.  The Kennedy clan would never accept Arvad as a suitable wife for JFK.  She had already been married twice and was not of the Catholic faith.  Jack required a spouse who would be an asset to his future political career.  That woman, of course, turned out to be Jacqueline Bouvier, who had also worked at the Washington Times-Harold as an "inquiring photographer," snapping on-the-street photos of people and asking them questions about current happenings.

By 1945, Inga had moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a screenwriter for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and occasionally filled in for Hollywood gossip columnist Sheilah Graham.  In May of that year, she became engaged to Robert Boothby, a British Member of Parliament whom she had met in L.A.  Arvad, however, broke off the engagement because she did not want to harm his political career due to her past association Nazis and Hitler's complimentary words about her.

Inga Arvad eventually became a citizen.of the United States and married 55-year-old American cowboy actor Tim McCoy in February of 1947.  McCoy was also an U.S. Army intelligence officer and an authority on American aboriginal folklore and customs.  They met in 1946 when Inga was a fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar magazine.  The couple had two sons, Ronald and Teremce, and remained together until Inga's passing.  

Inga Arvad steadfastly refused to write a book detailing her relationship with John Kennedy. After working with Tim McCoy's travelling rodeo and wagon show, she helped her spouse run a horse farm near Nogales, Arizona. Inga died of cancer at their Nogales ranch in 1973.  She was 60 years old at the time of her death. Her husband, Tim McCoy, passed away on January 29, 1978 at the U.S. Army Hospital at Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona.  He was 86.  

Inga Arvad and Tim McCoy


* John Kennedy's nickname for Inga Arvad was "Inga Binga."  She called him "Honeysuckle."

* Coincidentally, the full name of Inga Arvad's third husband was Timothy John Fitzgerald McCoy.

* The letters between Inga and JFK are housed in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum just outside of Boston.  Check out the link below.

- Joanne

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Joanne's Journal: October 6, 2013

Edition No. 13


October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”   

- Rainbow Rowell
From Attachments


The great English novelist, Charlotte Brontë, published her masterpiece, Jane Eyre, on October 6, 1847. The eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived childhood, Charlotte was born on April 12, 1816 in Thornton, West Yorkshire, England.  Her sisters, Anne and Emily, were also novelists and their father, Patrick Brontë, was an Anglican cleric.

In June of 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father's curate.  Soon after the wedding, she became pregnant and her health quickly declined.  She experienced severe nausea and fainted frequently. Charlotte Brontë died with her unborn baby on March 31 1855.  She was 38 years old.

 Charlotte Brontë

Congratulations to country music stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw as they celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary.  The couple were married in Louisiana on October 6, 1996.  They are the parents of three daughters: Gracie Katherine McGraw, Maggie Elizabeth McGraw and Audrey Caroline McGraw

Faith Hill

Hollywood film star Carole Lombard was born on October 6, 1908 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Her real name was Jane Alice Peters.  She is best known for her roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s and for her marriage to Hollywood leading man Clark Gable.  The couple wed on March 29, 1939 during a break from the filming of Gone with the Wind in which Gable starred as Rhett Butler.

If Lombard were still alive, she would be celebrating her 105th birthday today.  Sadly, she died in a plane crash at the age of 33.  The accident occurred on January 16, 1942 while the actress was en route home to California after attending a World War II rally to raise defence bonds in her home state of Indiana.  Her aircraft crashed into Potosi Mountain in Nevada, 32 statute miles (51 km) southwest of Las Vegas.  All passengers on board were killed, including Carole, her mother, Bessie Peters, and Clark Gable's press agent and friend, Otto Winkler.  After Lombard's death, a distraught Gable enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces.

Carole Lombard

Another Hollywood great, Janet Gaynor, was born on October 6, 1906 in the Germantown neighbourhood of northwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Her birth name was Laura Augusta Gainor and she became one of the most popular actors of the silent film era.  In 1928, Gaynor earned the distinction of winning the very first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in three films: : Seventh Heaven (1927), Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans(1927) and Street Angel (1928).  She is best known for her starring role in the original 1937 version of A Star is Born opposite Fredric March.

Janet Gaynor was severely injured in a 1982 traffic accident in San Francisco when her taxicab collided with a van driven by a drunk driver.  Gaynor's husband, Paul Gregory, and her friend, actress Mary Martin, were also passengers in the taxicab but were not as seriously injured. Another passenger, Mary Martin's manager Ben Washer, was killed in the crash.  Janet never fully recovered from the accident and died on September 14, 1984 in Palm Springs California at the age of 77.

Janet Gaynor

Famed Victoriann poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson died on October 6, 1892 in Lurgashall, Sussex, England at the age of 83.  Tennyson, the fourth of the twelve children of a clergyman, wrote poetry as a child.  In 1827, he left home in Somersby, Lincolnshire to study at Trinity College, Cambridge University.  At Trinity College, he became involved with an undergraduate literary club called "The Apostles."  The club was led by Arthur Hallum, with whom Tennyson struck up a close friendship.  When Hallam died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage  in 1833, Tennyson was so strongly affected, that he paid tribute to his friend in a lengthy poem called In Memoriam A.H.H.   

In Memoriam A.H.H. was written over a period of 17 years and was completed in 1849.  The poem was a favourite of Queen Victoria and provided great comfort to her after the passing of her husband Prince Albert.  It contains the oft-quoted line, "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all."  

In 1850, after the death of William Wordsworth, Tennyson was appointed Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland.   That same year, he married Emily Sellwood and they had two sons, Hallam and Lionel.


Baseball great Cy Young pitched his final game on October 6, 1911 when he was 44, ending his illustrious 22-season career as a member of the Boston Rustlers.  The game took place at Washington Park in Brooklyn, New York and Young lost the game to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  It was his third loss in a row.

During the span of his career, however, the legendary right-hander recorded an impressive 511 wins.  His 511th and final win took place at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.on September 22, 1911.  He threw a 1-0 shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cy Young died on November 4, 1955 at the age of 88.  Born Denton True Young on a farm in Gilmore, Ohio, Cy played his first professional game for the Cleveland Spiders on August 6, 1890, leading the Spiders to victory over the Chicago White Sox.  Hie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.

Cy Young

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists in Cairo on October 6, 1981 at the annual victory commemorate Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal. Fundamentalist army officers dismounted from a troop truck during the parade and three grenades were thrown at Sadat.  Additional assassins dismounted from the truck  and fired their assault rifles into the stands.

The soldiers were carrying out a fatwa approved by Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was later convicted in the United States for his role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  The Egyptian leader was targeted for agreeing to a peace agreement with Israel.

Anwar Sadat won the 1978 Nobel Peace, along with Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin, for negotiating peace agreements between the two nations at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David just outside of Washington.  The Camp David Accords were signed on September 17, 1978 and witnessed by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Born on Christmas Day 1918, in Mit Ab al-Kawm, Egypt, Anwar el-Sadat served in the military before participating in the 1952 military coup that led to the overthrow and exile of King Farouk. He held the office vice president of Egypt before becoming the country's president in 1970.


William Keith Kellogg, founder of the W.K. Kellogg Company, the maker of breakfast cereal, died on October 6, 1951.  Kellogg died of heart failure in Battle Creek, Michigan, the place of his birth. He was 91 at the time of his passing.  During the last years of his life, his eyesight failed due to glaucoma.

The son of early Seventh-Day Adventists, young Will quit school at the age of 14 and found employment as a stock boy.  He became a travelling broom salesman in his late teens,  As a young man, he went to work at the Battle Creek Sanitarium (known as the San), where his older brother, John Harvey Kellogg, was physician-in-chief.  Will acted as bookkeeper and manager of the hospital and was in charge of non-medical tasks.

The San was founded on Seventh-Day Adventist principles, one of which is vegetarianism.  For many years, Will assisted his brother in research to improve the vegetarian diet for the patients. One of their goals was to find a digestible substitute for bread.  They accidentally discovered a method of processing cooked grain into flakes when Will, who was experimenting in the San's kitchen, let stand a batch of boiled wheat.  When he returned, the wheat had transformed into flakes.  It was a "eureka" moment.  Wheat flakes and corn flakes were then introduced at the health spa where they proved very popular.

The Kellogg brothers marketed their corn flakes but had a bitter falling out when Will  expressed a desire to add sugar to the flakes to improve their taste.  John Harvey adamantly disagreed because he felt that the sugar was unhealthy.  As a result, the brothers parted ways and Will left the sanitarium at the age of 46.  He entered the cereal business on his own in 1906 when he founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. The company initially produced only toasted cornflakes but eventually branched out into other products.

Kellogg,, a philanthropist, established the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 1930 with millions of dollars of his own money.  The foundation donates large amounts to social causes, particularly child welfare,


ROSE:  To Bob Newhart, one of my favourite television comedians, for winning his first Emmy Award at the age of 84.  After seven nominations spanning 51 years, Bob finally took home the prize in the category of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Congratulations, Mr. Newhart!


THORN: To University of Toronto professor David Gilmour for his remarks during an interview with Hazlitt, an online magazine by Random House Canada. Gilmour told Hazlitt that "I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories. But once again, when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women."  He also declared that he hasn't found any Canadian literature worth teaching.

Gilmour later apologized for his comments, saying he was joking and that his remarks were taken out of context.  He also claimed that he did not give the interviewer, Emily M. Keele, his full attention because he was talking to a colleague in his office at the same time.  Hazlett, however, has indicated that it stands by Keele's work.

Gilmour's excuses don't cut it.  If he were joking when he made his ridiculous comments, why did he wait until he was under fire to explain and apologize. Furthermore, why would he allow himself to be interviewed while speaking to a colleague at the same time?  The man should know better. He is a Governor General's Awarding-winning author (He won in 2005 prize for English language fiction for his novel A Perfect Night to Go to China).  It is unfortunate that Professor Gilmour has embarrassed both U of T and himself.

THORN: To Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his fellow Tea Party Republicans for leading the disastrous charge to shut down government services in the United States over the debt ceiling. Cruz is on a crusade to prevent Congress from funding the Affordable Health Care Act, which Republicans have dubbed "Obamacare."  Perhaps he and other hard line Tea Partiers are afraid that President Obama's health care initiative will prove to be popular with Americans and that they will not want to give it up.

Cruz, 42, is the son of a Cuban oilman and an American mother, was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Perhaps he should look to the country of his birth.  He should ask Canadians if they would be willing to give up their provincial health cards, especially those who can't afford to pay for hefty medical bills.  Rest assured that not very many would want to expose themselves to financial ruin if they or or a family member should suffer from a debilitating illness or injury.

Ted Cruz is apparently eyeing a 2016 bid for the presidency.  If he should ever win, our neighbour to the south will find itself in dire straights.

Ted Cruz


What did the bull say to his child as the boy left for school?


Bye, son.


Patrick Roy is sure stirring things up as the new coach of the Colorado Avalanche.  Roy had a tremendous career as a goalie for the Montreal Canadiens and the Avalanche.  If he's going to a successful NHL coach, however, he's going to have to control that legendary temper of  his.  Otherwise, he's going to be facing many fines and suspensions in the future.  The hall of famer doesn't have to give up his passionate nature. He just has to modify his behaviour somewhat.


I only wish the Toronto Blue Jays were in post-season play this year.  It was however, another lost year for my favourite baseball team.  I don't know how the marketing strategists will sell this team for the 2014 season.  Fans feel disappointed and let down.  The Jays have not been in postseason  play since 1993 - 20 long years.

To his credit, GM Alex Anthopoulos tried wheeling and dealing to produce a winning team.  He tossed the dice and threw snake eyes.  I don't question A.A.'s effort.  I question his judgement.  He should be allowed one more season to get it right.  As for his trades last winter, I wish he had stopped after the Miami deal.  The Jays would certainly be a better team with Travis D'Arnaud as their catcher than the newly betrothed J.P. Arencibia.  I wish J.P. the best with his coming marriage to country singer Kimberly Perry but I hope he winds up with another team.  A fresh start closer to his Tennessee home would probably invigorate his career and allow the Blue Jays to find a replacement.

* What's with the long beards on so many baseball players, especially those on the Boston Red Sox?  I guess it's a gimmick or a way to draw attention to themselves.  I can't believe that they genuinely think the Smith Brothers - ZZ Top look is attractive.

* Who do I want to win the World Series this year?  I'm cheering for the Detroit Tigers.  They haven't won the Fall Classic since 1984 under then-manager Sparky Anderson.

*  It's no wonder that Major League Baseball is falling behind in popularity to NFL and college football in the United States.  In order to accommodate television, the postseason games finish so late that children can not stay late enough to watch the later innings of the games.  If there are extra innings, some of the most exciting moments are lost to youngsters.  Baseball may be making a great deal of revenue from television advertising but it is forfeiting the next generation of fans.

- Joanne

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Have the Leafs become goons?

Hockey goon Colton Orr

In his 211th professional fight, Montreal's George Parros went down for the count on Tuesday night, missing Maple Leafs enforcer Colton Orr with a wild haymaker and awkwardly hurling himself face-first into the ice as the bloodthirsty Bell Centre crowd, so thrilled with its new goon, roared.

- Damien Cox
Toronto Star, Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's early October and the NHL season has just begun.  The Maple Leafs have a talented team but they are behaving boorishly. On Sunday, September 22, Phil Kessel, who has just signed an eight-year contract extension with the club worth $64 million dollars, slashed away at Buffalo Sabres goon John Scott during a preseason game at the Air Canada Centre. On Tuesday October 1st (the same day he signed his lucrative contract extension), Kessel received a slap on the wrist from the NHL for his actions. He was suspended for only three preseason games but not a single regular season one.  As Greg Wyshynski put it in his online Puck Daddy post, "The National Hockey League on Tuesday endorsed the use of a swinging stick for self-defence, ad then for further retribution against an assailant."

During that fight-riddled game against Buffalo, Leafs forward David Clarkson jumped the boards to take part in a brawl.  The 29-year-old was suspended for 10 regular season games.  After receiving his suspension, Clarkson stated, "I sometimes make decisions with my heart, not my head.  I saw a teammate that I felt was in trouble, and my reaction was to help."

David Clarkson should think more with his head in the future, at least while he's on the ice.  Not only that, but if the brawl hadn't broken out in the first place, no player would have found it necessary to defend a teammate.  Brawls would soon cease if the NHL dealt more harshly with those who initiates them.  Why not send a fighter to the dressing room immediately and suspend him for multiple games?  Send a message that thuggery will not be tolerated.

To its credit, though, the NHL did fine Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolstan an undisclosed amount of money for being partially responsible for the melee (he sent out goon John Scott).  There should be more fines against coaches for contributing for brawls and they should be fined considerable amounts of money.  In the meantime, Buffalo forward Corey Tropp is out of the Sabres lineup indefinitely while being evaluated for a possible concussion.  Tropp suffered a broken jaw and his head was bloodied during a fight with Toronto forward Jamie Devane.  It was that altercation that sparked the ensuing melee.

David Clarkson was contrite about not being available to his team for ten regular season games, but not for fighting.  He was actually proud of himself for adhering to "the code."  Then there was Tuesday night's ruckus between George Parros and Colton Orr. If the Leafs keep this up, they will be labelled The Bay Street Bullies.  Is this what the National Hockey League has come to in 2013?  Are hockey fans so depraved and bloodthirsty that they are clamouring to see someone beaten to a pulp or die?  Is such raw violence all that they crave?  Will the league put an end to it?  Alas, Gary Betmann's NHL refuses to do so.  It is more interested in making money and attracting U.S. fans by promoting the game as a brutal sport.

As Damien Cox pointed out yesterday in his excellent Star column, "The more buckets of blood, the more the NHL promotes this stuff, catering to the lowest common denominator."  The media aren't any better. Many sports commentators insist that it's part of the game and that it's necessary and unavoidable. Television sports highlights are filled with hockey fighter.  They are constantly rerun while announcers gleefully provide a blow by blow description of the event.

As for the players, they steadfastly adhere to and defend their so-called precious "code."  Where is the NHL player with enough courage to stand up and say that fighting doesn't have to be part of the game?  Where is the player or coach with the gumption to admit that the NHL could put a stop to it but doesn't want to do so?  Instead, player after player delivers the same old party line.  It's always been a part of the game, they say ad nauseum.  We have to stick up for our team mates, they say.

Here are the words of George Parros' teammate, Montreal defenceman Josh Gorges.

(Parros) put himself on the line, he sacrificed himself.  If you asked George tomorrow, he'd say just because he got hurt you don't take fighting out of hockey.

You can bet that if Parros had died, Gorges would have repeated that same mantra at the funeral - only he would have said, "If George were still with us, he'd say just because he died you don't take fighting out of hockey."

As for Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, here's what he had to say about the Corr-Parros donnybrook.

He (Parros) defended his teammates.  It's hard for the players to emotionally get back to the same level (afterwards).  It's an event nobody feels very good about.

Well, coach, if you don't feel very good about it, why do you encourage it?  That's right - encourage.  You don't just condone this type of behaviour, you encourage it.  You preach this brand of so-called hockey to the rooftops.  If a player doesn't comply, he ends up in your doghouse.  He is branded a coward and a chicken by Don Cherry and his ilk.

Can't something be done?  What about the NHL Players' Association?  Aren't they concerned about players getting serious concussions or becoming maimed or even dying?  Sadly, it seems the NHLPA is more interested in protecting the jobs of goons.  By the way, I prefer the word "goon" to "enforcers" or "tough guys."  Let's call a spade a spade!

- Joanne

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shakespeare in the Age of Twitter

Language, we are told, is fluid, and constantly evolving - and not always for the better.  To illustrate my point, I have taken Shakespeare's famous "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy from Hamlet and modernized it using current speech patterns.  I have also reduced the speech to 140 characters (including spaces), the limit allowed on Twitter.

So, with apologies to The Bard himself and to Sir Laurence Olivier (who must be rolling over in their graves), Number 16 presents the Twitter version of Hamlet's existential ruminations - and yes, I have carefully checked the number of characters.  The total is exactly 140.

2B or not 2B: Totally the? Nobler to suffer or die & by dying to, like, sleep 4ever. Wish to end it but fear unknown. No1 returns from dead.

You see, it can be done.  By the way, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark was written about 1599 to 1601 and published in quarto edition in 1603.

- Joanne