PRINT September 1994


Jackie O.

MY MOTHER NEVER LIKED Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. She thought she was “sly”—a combination, I believe, of “too big for her britches” and “foreign.” My mother loved John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “Jack,” the godlike exemplar of Irish-American, Boston-Catholic inevitability who was, oh my, just perfect. But Jacqueline Bouvier was this Frenchified whisper of a thing who was too delicate and standoffish to campaign with her Erin-go-bragh dream of a husband. Never mind that she was deep into a pregnancy; what Jack needed was a solid potato of a girl who could sprout children like tubers and get out and stump like the Gaelic queen he deserved. It was, of course, a totally unfair assessment, as I’m quite sure my mother was aware, but that was neither here nor there; the woman was sly.

The postmortem canonization of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis would have sent my now deceased Irish Catholic

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