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Jackie Kennedy would be 89 Today

Today would be Jackie Kennedy’s 89th birthday. She’s been gone twenty-four years, and yet she remains an icon of fashion, elegance, and timeless beauty.

I didn’t know her, but through my books with Secret Service agent Clint Hill, I’ve had the great privilege to get a rare glimpse into who she really was—the woman inside that public persona. Jackie Kennedy was a devoted mother and loving wife. A skilled equestrian, tennis player, and waterskier.

Fluent in French, Spanish, and Italian. She loved history, art, and photography. She loved animals–dogs, horses, cats, all animals–and she couldn’t stand to see them harmed.

One day, Agent Hill was driving down a country dirt road in Middleburg, Virginia with Mrs. Kennedy in the right front seat.  As they came around a corner, a turtle was trodding across the road. The turtle’s brown shell camouflaged into the dirt road and Hill saw it a moment too late. Crack. Crunch. 

Mrs. Kennedy was horrified. “Oh, Mr. Hill! What have you done?” She was truly upset by the turtle’s sudden tragic demise and from then on, Hill watched out much more vigilantly for living creatures that might cross their path.

As first lady, Jackie Kennedy was America’s best ambassador. She was beloved by people around the world, and effortlessly charmed foreign leaders.

During a 1961 visit to Paris, Jackie Kennedy did something that to this day is almost unfathomable: she convinced the French government to remove the Mona Lisa from the Louvre and send it to the United States to hang in the National Gallery for a temporary exhibit.

One thing about the former first lady that might surprise many was that she had a bawdy sense of humor. Yes, Jackie Kennedy was a bit naughty.

As we wrote in Mrs. Kennedy and Me, during her 1962 trip to India, she bought some art prints of Kama Sutra poses. She had them framed, and hung them prominently—not in the bedroom—but the dining room. Talk about a conversation starter!

Clint once told me she would have liked me. I know I would have liked her.

Happy Birthday, Jackie.

 

8 Comments

  1. Beth Spicer on July 28, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Hello Lisa
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts and photos on the occasion of Jackie’s birthday.
    The art selection for the dining room made me laugh out loud.
    You are truly a gifted story teller and always leave us looking for more.
    Certainly planning to enjoy your Betty Ford book next.
    All the best to you and Clint.
    Your Canadian friends
    Beth and Bob

    • Lisa McCubbin on July 28, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Beth and Bob! Thanks for writing!

  2. John Waldbillig on August 3, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Thank you for sharing these reflections. To be told by Clint Hill that she would have liked you must be an incredible thrill and honor! Thank you for all you have done with Mr Hill in preserving his stories and I look forward to your upcoming book on Mrs Ford!

    • Lisa McCubbin on August 3, 2018 at 11:28 am

      John, thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate your kind words.

  3. John Waldbillig on August 3, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Thank you for sharing these reflections. To be told by Clint Hill that she would have liked you must be an incredible thrill and honor! Thank you for all you have done with Mr Hill in preserving his stories and I look forward to your upcoming book on Mrs Ford!

  4. Kathy Workman on August 3, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Great story about Mrs. Kennedy! Love your books!

  5. Merlin Lawson on August 3, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks Lisa! Without you and Clint, wonderful stories such as this would be lost to history.

  6. Mona Pyatt on August 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you for these wonderful reflections. So much has been written about her that is speculative and worse. It makes me happy to read thoughts and experiences shared by someone who had a uniquely up-close perspective. Add to that a writer of exceptional skill who makes the reading a joy. This collaboration is a gift to us all! Thank you both so much!

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