Remembering Jackie

It was May, 1994, when I was coming home through Central Park, wondering why there were so many news trucks along Fifth Avenue.

I had yet to learn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, better known to the world, as just Jackie, had come home to die.

She had been suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for almost a year assuming she’d recover.  When she learned it had gotten worse without a chance of that happening, she made the decision to call it a day.

I’ve often wondered how that must have been for someone like her who lived such an amazing life, now choosing to leave it.

I wandered into the grocer’s where Harry, the produce man, told me Mrs. Kennedy, as she was always called, just received the last rites, according to her longtime cook, not expected to live through the night.

The whole neighborhood was shocked and saddened since, though we didn’t see her often, she was still a member of our little community.  All the shopkeepers knew her, from Stanley Lobel the butcher, to Timmy the florist who said, no one was as kind and courteous as Mrs. Kennedy.  They also knew Caroline and John since they were kids.

I remember how quiet the streets were as we all waited while a shrine of flowers  flourished in front of her home. People, young and old, solemnly held vigil behind police barricades as reporters stationed, on all corners, whispered to the world, also waiting.

Family members, Ted Kennedy and Jackie’s sister Lee, nieces and nephews arrived along with her close friends, to say their farewells to a woman who symbolized elegance and grace like no other.

How can anyone forget her courage in November 1963, holding the country up by it’s heartstrings, walking behind her husband’s casket, flanked by his two remaining brothers.

When her beloved son came down to say she had passed, it was hard not to remember that little boy his mother taught to salute, as his dad’s coffin mewled by when he was barely 3.  Here he was, the best of both of them, to tell us, his mom was no more.

“Last night, at around 10:15, my mother passed on.  She was surrounded by her friends and family, and her books and the people and the things that she loved.  And she did it in her way, and we all feel lucky for that.”

I cried along with everyone knowing an era had passed, picking up a stray rose, pressing it to my heart.

In her brother-in-law’s poignant eulogy, Ted Kennedy said…”No one else looked liked her, spoke like her, wrote like her, or was as original in the way she did things.  No one had a better sense of self.”

Hear Hear!

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis died on this day….May 19, 1994.   She was 64.

About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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18 Responses to Remembering Jackie

  1. Steve says:

    Wonderful words…for a sad firsthand experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wrote about her last year too. It was so long ago yet it’s recalled, not just by me, but everyone in the neighborhood with such clarity.

      I remember the day of the funeral. I used to live above a high-end cafe, and as I came out lugging my laundry, John Jr. was standing in front of my door speaking to a friend, after I’m assuming, having coffee.

      He apologized…I, stunned, said…oh it’s okay, as I proceeded to Mr. Chan’s to drop off my washing. Later on I was sorry I didn’t say, I’m so sorry about your mother but…hey…even I, old jaded me, gets star struck sometimes…sigh

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I always love reading your historical remembrances. I learn a lot from you. It seems she endured a lot of hardships in her life, so she must have been a strong woman.
    This is David, by the way. I followed your blog at work since it’s a great way to start the work day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gmg says:

    A lovely tribute to Jackie, Susannah. I just read “Jackie’s Girl” and loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for a neighborly view of a world-famous woman. She was only 64???? I didn’t remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. skinnyuz2b says:

    Beautifully written, Susannah. Jackie certainly was self-possessed, and the Kennedy’s were our answer for Royalty.


  6. It’s hard to believe she was only 64, but then again for me, it’s unimaginable that she was only in her early 30’s with the weight of the world on her shoulders as First Lady. She really did live several lives within one. Love this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Kindredspirit23's Blog and commented:
    I enjoy reading, doing so often. This is a fine example of how well she writes and how well she can share her heartfelt thoughts.


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