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Her secretary Mary Gallagher described Jackie’s life in the White House as “strangely remote,” and claimed she had no really close female friends. distant, detached as the psychologists say, moody and abstracted the novelists used to say.” Once, while Jackie sat silently during one of the countless Kennedy family celebrations in Hyannis Port, her husband had said, “A penny for your thoughts,” only to have her tell him, “If I told them to you, they wouldn’t be mine, would they, Jack?
Norman Mailer detected “something quite remote in her . ” Edward Hopper’s painting of a man and a woman sitting in a nearly empty urban diner, eyes averted, silent, bored, and alone.
The perfect caption would have been the observation of Kennedy’s friend Chuck Spalding that Jack and Jackie were “the two most isolated, most alone people I ever met.” It is a horrible irony of their marriage that, a little more than three months before his death, a family tragedy would dissolve some of that isolation and bring them closer together, perhaps, than they had ever been. Kennedy’s second son was born on August 7, 1963, 20 years to the day that the Navy rescued Kennedy from the group of Pacific islands where he had been marooned for five days after a Japanese destroyer rammed his torpedo boat, PT 109, slamming him against the cockpit wall and killing two crewmen.
The medal that he won for “courage, endurance, and excellent leadership” and “extremely heroic conduct” during these five days, and John Hersey’s account of his heroics in became the early engines of his political career.
Hospital personnel called him “beautifully formed” and “a cute little monkey with light brown hair.” Jackie was not permitted to hold him and became upset after learning that he was going to Boston.
She had suffered months of postpartum depression following John’s birth and Kennedy feared it might happen again.
Caroline had repaired some of the post-Arabella damage and John’s birth would also bring husband and wife closer, but neither ended his philandering.
She is holding a mug of coffee to her mouth and looking down at a magazine.
The public life is above the water—& the private life—is submerged . His most telling change was to turn her twin icebergs into a shared one.
Two icebergs implied that their submerged lives remained separate and mysterious, even to each other, which was probably what Jackie had meant by her comment that, “I’d say Jack didn’t want to reveal himself at all.”She struck others as equally unfathomable.
He had been tense and perspiring then, and was overheard muttering, “I’m never there when she needs me.”Jackie had suffered a miscarriage in 1955 and had become pregnant again the following year.
Her physician had urged her to skip the 1956 Democratic Convention but she felt obliged to attend because her husband was a candidate for the vice presidency.
Jackie would be fine, she said, but a baby born six weeks prematurely had only a 50/50 chance of surviving. He sat silently during the flight, staring out a window.