Life after JFK

Although Jackie loved New York, she was accustomed to spending the summer months away from the city. But instead of heading back to Newport, East Hampton, or Hyannis Port, Jackie chose a tenroom home in rural, woodsy Bernardsville, New Jersey. She liked the area because she could enjoy the outdoors with her children and there were plenty of riding paths.

Although the New York apartment was tastefully done, her primary objective was to make a permanent home for herself and her children. Without Jack there to act as a buffer, Jackie felt like an outsider among the Kennedy clan, except for Bobby. Her brother-in-law became her confidant. At one point, Jackie actually considered sending her children to stay with Bobby, concerned her unrelenting grief was adversely affecting them. Being older, Caroline suffered the loss of her father more than John Jr. did, and she was frequently withdrawn. But around Bobby she would open up, and she enjoyed a warm relationship with him.

SHE SAID …

“Because John Kennedy was so involved in life, his library will be not just a repository of papers and relics of the past. It will also be a vital center of education and exchange and thought, which will grow and change with the times…. It will be, we hope, not only a memorial to President Kennedy but a living center of study of the times in which he lived, which will inspire the ideals of democracy and freedom in young people all over the world.”

New Romance

Once she was settled with her family in her New York apartment, Jackie finally began to finally emerge from her crippling grief. She threw small, intimate dinner parties for a select group of friends. Eventually, she discreetly sought out romance. One of her first relationships as a widow was with architect Jack Warnecke, whom she worked with to design Jack's grave at Arlington. Although their affair lasted eighteen months, she and Warnecke never appeared in public as a couple. Part of the reason was Jackie's obsession with privacy; another part was concern over the potential public reaction to her relationship with another man less than a year after her husband's death.

FACT

Located in Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery honors Armed Forces veterans and selected prominent civilians. More than 300,000 people are buried there, and 5,000 people are laid to rest there each year. John F. Kennedy is one of only two presidents to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. The other is William Howard Taft.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Jackie was the driving force behind the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. She was extremely hands-on and oversaw everything from the organization of the exhibits to the location and design of the building. One of Jackie's most important relationships in the years after Jack's death was with architect I. M. Pei. It was deeply personal and purely platonic. Pei was the man to whom she entrusted the design of the building. Jackie chose Pei over other better-known architects because he impressed her with his individualistic style. She also felt he had the right temperament and emotional connection to the project, so his relative inexperience did not concern her. Perhaps most telling is that she once commented that she saw in Pei great untapped potential, which reminded her of the young Jack.

Jackie wanted a venue that would not only honor Jack's legacy of public service but also foster the passion behind public service. She wanted a forum where ideas were exchanged and intellectual conversations stimulated. In other words, she wanted the kind of place in which her French heroine, Juliette de Récamier, would have felt at home. Through those efforts, the Institute of Politics, later known as the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, was established.

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