Review: Jackie After O by Tina Cassidy

How can one not be moved by everything that was Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis? She was enrolled in Mrs Porter’s finishing school and was as fiesty as a whip. She was never one to shy away from speaking her mind and she absolutely loved her horses. Her father was John Vernou “Black Jack” Bouvier III (May 19, 1891 – August 3, 1957) and he was an American Wall Street stockbroker and socialite. What a time to be a stockbroker through the Great Depression. He served first in the Navy and then transferred over to the Army because he found the demands of the Navy to be to strenous. He served as a major until 1919 until he was discharged and the went back to working as a broker at his dad’s firm. How could I not have starry eyes reading Jackie After O. Already my attention has been drawn to two things I have always loved New York and talking about Stocks.
As a rambuctious girl filled with spit and vinegar she credited Miss Stringfellow with being the first great moral influence in her life. What an incredible thing to say to anybody but coming from lil Miss Jackie who could know just who she would become. She related to her in ways that only a child could fully understand and it helped get her in line. The words Miss Stringfellow spoke to Jackie can speak to you if you understand the analogy. Speaking to Jackie in terms she would understand she simply stated that she was acting like an unbroken, ungtrained Thoroughbred and if you keep up with this behaviour you will be good for nothing. The most beautiful race horse in the world would become useless if he didn’t obey commands he would become useless and you would have to get rid of him. She also compared her to a horse saying that she was well built with brains which was a very incredibly accurate statement at that time. This analogy rang true years later even after she became First Lady.
November 22, 1963 the day her life changed. How can anybody speak bad of her? Let’s strip ouselves down to the basic raw human emotions. Coming from a place where I couldn’t imagine my husband being murdered and being left a widow at 34 my heart aches for what she went through that day. One minute her husband is sitting beside her, waving, smiling acknowledging his public and the country he was eager to serve. The next she is holding his head in her hands knowing that now in this moment her whole life was about to change. Wearing her pink Chanel suit for the rest of the day there would be images and flashbacks that would haunt her for the rest of her life. She went from being the First Lady and mother of 2 to being a widow at the hands of Lee Harvey Oswald. In one swift moment her life would always be defined as this single moment that she would be forced to relive for the rest of her life. Not the way that she was hoping to be remembered.
September 12, 1953, who doesn’t remember their wedding day. The day your hopes and dreams for a future with a family is on display for the whole world to say. Marrying a sentor and being able to be a stay at home wife to care for the family, house and to get out and involved in the community would have been the most incredible feeling. Especially when your husband is a man that is so well spoken and incredibly handsome, the whole world would seem like yours for the taking. Of course there will be dreams and visions of aging together but the key is the life that you will build together. One of the tasks that she will always be remembered for was her redecorating and indexing of the artificats that were in the White House. Everything was out of sorts and without a purpose. Mrs Kennedy took it apon herself to immerse herself in the restoration project of the White House.”Everything in the White House must have a reason for being there. It would be sacrilege merely to ‘redecorate’ it — a word I hate. It must be restored, and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship.” Not only did she do a National Call Out for the return of artifacts and monumental pieces from the White House she also acquired the most complete collection of presidency literature out there. A lot of first copies of books have found a home at the JFK Presidency Library. She will always be known for her love of restoration and being an advocate for the preservation of the nation.
Imagine that feeling when the rug gets pulled out who do you run to? Who will pull you out of the depths of despair? Your children are well taken care of there is help for that but who will take care of you? Naturally when her sister Lee asked her to come to Skorpios to mourn out of the spotlight she jumped at the opportunity to get away from the headlines. This was where Aristotle Onassis reconnected with Jackie. Meeting only before with her late husband it was the perfect place to shy away from the ill fate of the world that was at the forefront of everybody’s conversations.
Her decision to marry Onassis was greeted with much hesitation and debate. The American people adored Jacqueline but they definetly didn’t not appreciate this. How could they support this unlikely union. The Greek Shipping Mogul was ordered to pay a $7 million fine to the United States of America at the hands of Bobby Kennedy. Bobby had found that Onassis had illegally purchased ten US surplus tankers (these were not eligible to be bought from foreigners). Staying out of the prying eyes of the public would always be a task for Jackie but being out in the Greek Islands made it alot easier.
In a natural progression Jackie and Aristotle married on October 20, 1968. It seems that the marriage would be more of a mutual benefit to both vs one of undying love. When a friend asked her how she could marry Onassis she simply stated that what else would she like her to do? Move to Dallas and marry a farmer. Knowing the storey and life of Jackie this thought seems utterly ridiculous. Her life was built around money, power and prestige so to be reduced to the life of what she could only feel would be the life of a pauper. She was considered American Royalty so what else was she expected to do. If you think that you should feel sorry for Onassis don’t. His first wife left him because he refused to stop seeing opera singer Maria Callas. There was no mention why Onassis didn’t marry Maria their love affair spaned over decades and two marriages. Maybe it was the social status of Jackie that intrigued him or maybe he just wanted to get back at America for the $7 million dollars or maybe just simply it was a union that was both mutually beneficial. Aristotle would carry on his affair and Jackie could remain in the life that she had grown accustomed to and find comfort in memories and dreams for the future. They did share some tender moments that expressed the love the two shared. Aristotle had his white house painted pink so not to remind her of the White House that she once shared with her late husband. He also made a promise to her to share this tale with her every 10 years:
“Honey, the woman, you know, is like the world. At twenty years, she is like Afria. Semi-explored. At thirty years, she is like India. Warm, mature, and mysterious. At forty, she is like America. Technically perfect. At fifty years, she is like Europe. All in ruins. At sixty years she is like Siberia. Everyone knows where she is, but no one wants to go to her” (Tina Cassidy)
When Onassis passed away in Paris with only his daughter by his side the paparazzi had a feeding frenzy to try and paint her in a bad light. An ocean and a continent seperated her from being there for her husband. She did rush to his bedside when he first fell ill then immediatly she took the trans Atlantic flight to be there for the family when she learned of his departure. In her defense his Dr’s did assure her that he was fine. Not only that imagine how hard it would be to see not one but two husbands die right before your eyes. Although completely different scenarios they both have the same ending the departure of life taken way to soon. Death will always be the most tragic experience one will ever have to go through. To loose both men in such a short time would be a devasting loss. When asked to speak about her late husband she had this to say about Aristotle:
“He meant a lot to me. He brought me into a world where one could find both happiness and love. We lived through many beautiful experiences together which cannot be forgotten, and for which I will be eternally grateful.” (Tina Cassidy).

On the one year anniversary of the JFK assasination she had written this in the Look magazine:
“Now I think that I should have known that he was magic all along, I did know it-but I should have guessed it could not last. I sould have known that it was asking too much to dream that I might have grown old with him and see our children grow up together. So now he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man…Hi high nnon kept all the freshness of the morning-and he died then, never knowing disillusionment”. What beautifully written words coming from complete and utter heart break and devastation. No matter the choices Jackie made in her life she should always be remembered for her strength of character and her ability to transform herself and her life into one of passion. In a world where all to often then note our skin has become paper thin. We are quick to complain and make demands without even putting an effort into making those demands a reality. Although her husband was never able to make America great again he provided a very integral piece to the puzzle. He gave Mrs Kennedy an alternate way to be able to preserve the historical significan of America that will proove to be an integral way in which we will rebuild a new society. We are foolish to think that we as a whole have come no further in ranks than those we lost before us. What Jackie did in the preservation of the White House and Grand Central Station will be remembered for all years to come. When her legacy should have been the accelaides she received as being First Lady she has done something much greater than that. She has showed us the true definition of courage. That even after losing two husbands she was able to recreate who she wanted to be remembered for. She took a consulting position at Viking and went on to publish many remarkable books. One such being “Remember the Ladies”. This book was a witness account of the women who shaped the generation from the period of 1750 to 1815. What captivated the attention of those working on the book with her was the way she humbly interacted with those on the project. She would ask questions and listen very closely and was a very active particpant of the layout of the book. She would actually join them on the ground when it came down to it. She acted like an equal and not somebody who maintained her position of power in society. The struggles that I have faced become mere instances in time when I reflect on the life that was Jackie. In a true American Novel there is heartaches, adventure and the reward of perserverances. Jackie never gave up on herself in a world that would appear to have forgotten about her. She fought to leave a legacy in the wake of devastation. One that kept the Kennedy name alive and in the forefront of American History. She truly was one of the last American Princesses saying goodbye to this world May 19, 1994 to be once again reunited with her true love the 35th President of the US John F Kennedy.

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  1. Om Prakash Khare says:



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