On this day in 1963, an essay by Theodore White in the Dec. 6 issue of Life magazine inexorably linked Camelot and the Kennedys for decades to come - and resulted from an interview with Jacqueline Kennedy on a stormy Friday night in Hyannisport on Thanksgiving weekend, one week after JFK was assassinated in Dallas.
In the essay, White wrote:
"When Jack quoted something, it was usually classical," she said, "but I'm so ashamed of myself - all I keep thinking of is this line from a musical comedy.
"At night, before we'd go to sleep, Jack liked to play some records; and the song he loved most came at the end of this record. The lines he loved to hear were: Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot."
"She wanted to make sure that the point came clear and went on: 'There'll be great Presidents again - and the Johnsons are wonderful, they've been wonderful to me - but they'll never be another Camelot again.
"Once, the more I read of history, the more bitter I got. For a while I thought history was something that bitter old men wrote. But then I realized that history made Jack what he was. You must think of him as this little boy, sick so much of the time, reading in bed, reading the Knights of the Roundtable, reading Marlborough. For Jack, history was full of heroes. And if it made him this way - if it made him see the heroes - maybe other little boys will see. Men are such a combination of good and bad. Jack had this hero idea of history, the idealistic view ...
" ... She said it is time people paid attention to the new President and the new First Lady. But she does not want them to forget John F. Kennedy or read of him only in dusty or bitter histories:
"For one brief shining moment there was Camelot."
White described the interview in great detail in his 1981 book, "In Search of History."
"I left the house the morning after Thanksgiving to visit my dentist, and was taken from the dentist's chair by a telephone call from my mother saying that Jackie Kennedy was calling and needed me ... Making a call back to Hyannisport, I found myself talking to Jacqueline Kennedy, who said there was something that she wanted Life magazine to say to the country, and I must do it ... I called and learned I could rent no plane because a storm hovered over Cape Cod ... In a rented limousine, with a strange chauffeur, in a driving rainstorm, I made my way back to New England."
When White arrived at the compound, he found Jacqueline Kennedy with Pat Lawford, one of JFK's sisters, Dave Powers, a close aide to her husband, Chuck Spalding, a classmate of Kennedy's and Franklin Roosevelt Jr.
"She did not want anyone there when she talked to me," White wrote. "So they left ... she had asked me to Hyannisport, she said, because she wanted to make certain that Jack was not forgotten in history ... over the telephone, before I had undertaken to come to Hyannisport, she had angrily commented on several of the journalists who by now were writing the follow-up stories, assessing the President, just dead, by his achievements. She wanted me to rescue Jack from all these 'bitter people' who were going to write about him in history. She did not want Jack left to the historians.
"Well, then, I said, concerned for her sorrow, tell me about it. At this, then, there poured out several streams of thought which mingled for hours. There was the broken narrative, the personal unwinding from the horror, the tale of the killing. Then there was the history part of it. And parts too personal for mention in any book but one of her own ...
" ... Out of all of this, then, being both a reporter and a friend, I tried to write the story for which Life's editors were waiting in New York. I typed in haste and inner turmoil in a servant's room and a Secret Service agent, who had been sleepless for days, burst in on me and snarled, 'For Christ's sake, we need some sleep here.' But I went on; and in 45 minutes brought out the story she was waiting for ...
" ... Life was waiting, and at 2 a.m. I tried to dictate the story from the wall-hung telephone in the Kennedy kitchen. She came in while I was dictating the story to two of my favorite editors, Ralph Graves and David Maness, who, as good editors, despite a ballooning overtime printing bill, were nonetheless trying to edit and change phases as I dictated. Maness observed that maybe I had too much 'Camelot' in the dispatch. Mrs. Kennedy had come in at that moment, having penciled over the copy of the story with her changes; she had overheard the editor trying to edit me, who had already so heavily edited her. She shook her head. She wanted Camelot to top the story. Camelot, heroes, fairy tales, legends were what history was all about. Maness caught the tone in my reply as I insisted this had to be done as Camelot. Catching my stress, he said, 'Hey, is she listening to this now?' I muffled the phone from her, went on dictating, and Maness let the story run.
"So the epitaph on the Kennedy administration became Camelot - a magic moment in American history, when gallant men danced with beautiful women, when great deeds were done, when artists, writers and poets met at the White House, and the barbarians beyond the walls held back.
"Which, of course, is a misreading of history. The magic Camelot of John F. Kennedy never existed. Instead, there began in Kennedy's time an effort of government to bring reason to bear on facts which were becoming almost too complicated for human minds to grasp. No Merlins advised John F. Kennedy, no Galahads won high praise in his service.
The knights of his round table were able, tough, ambitious men, capable of kindness, also capable of error, but as a group of men more often right than wrong and astonishingly incorruptible. What made them a group and established their companionship was their leader. Of them all, Kennedy was the toughest, the most intelligen, the most attractive - and inside, the least romantic. He was a realistic dealer in men, a master of games who understood the importance of ideas. He assumed his responsibilities fully. He advanced the cause of America at home and abroad. But he also posed for the first time the great question of the sixties and seventies: What kind of people are we Americans? What do we want to become?
"For 25 years, from the day of my graduation and departure for China, I had been fascinated by the relationship of Leader to Power, of the State to Force, of the Concept to Politics - and most recently of the Hero to his Circumstances. I had given unquestioning loyalties to all too many men, as one does when one is young, and I would give guarded affection to several more in years to come. But I would never again, after Kennedy, see any man as a hero. A passage in my own life had closed with a passage in American politics."
Used fake passport to flee the country while on probation for prostitution
The infamous Osterville Madam was busted over the weekend for allegedly obtaining a phony passport in a Georgia woman’s name and using it to flee the country while on probation for prostitution. According to a story in WebSleths.com, Anne Flaherty Simon, who served six years for running a Cape Cod prostitution ring in the 1990s, used the bogus passport to travel to England in 1997 and the Netherlands in 1998, even though she was banned from traveling out of state, authorities say. Read the follow-up story about her later marriage and divorce in the Dedham Transcript.
On right is her mug shot courtesy of the Harwich Police Department from her arrest for for OUI (Liquor), Negligent Operation of a Vehicle, Possession of Mace without an FID Card, Failure to Yield to Right of Way and Marked Lanes Violations..
The phony document, which had Simon’s picture but listed her name as “Linda Louise Jackson Ergle,” was discovered in a safety deposit box by authorities during a nasty dispute between the ex-call girl and the children of her late husband, a millionaire. Simon, 45, admitted to an Orleans judge that she used the fake passport. Asked on the witness stand if she tried to leave the country on a false passport after her prostitution conviction, Simon replied: “Oh, I didn’t just try,” court documents show.