The year was 1961. As a nation, we did not just approve of the Kennedy’s. We were infatuated.
They were as close to royalty as we had ever had here in the U.S. They were charming, poised and articulate, and certainly beautiful, which didn’t hurt.
He was the first Catholic elected to the office, Irish Catholic at that. Every Catholic family I knew had 2 pictures framed on their wall, the much loved Pope John XXIII, and JFK.
The Kennedy’s were a New England dynasty. How his ancestors came to their money was questionable, a fact not much addressed until after JFK was killed. His father Joe was portrayed in “Boardwalk Empire” as one of the players in the bootleg industry that built Atlantic City.
In 1960, he was the youngest president elected. He was a PT boat captain and WWII hero. He had numerous health issues of a serious nature; yet to look at him, no one would suspect anything but a picture of health and vigor.
Hollywood noticed, and so did organized crime. His associations with both came out as the years passed. The talk of scandal and illicit liaisons came long after he was gone.
His wife Jackie personified charm and dignity, and was the first to introduce the adoring public to the interior of the White House, as she set about her redecorating efforts.
They had what has been called “the wealthy man’s family”; one each, daughter and son. Also beautiful, John and Caroline were the youngest to ever reside in the White House.
His legacy was cut short. Mistakes would be made, the Bay of Pigs and threat of Cold War and communism had yet to surface. Some of his social programs would fail.
But when he spoke, we all listened, and we were captivated. When he addressed the nation, we all gathered around the TV. We didn’t groan that our program had been interrupted. He commanded and received our respect, and attention.
American aristocracy in the early 1960’s…had never happened before, or since. Not like this.