“To Have a Home Here…”
In June of 1961, following her famous visit to Paris with President Kennedy and further itinerary to Vienna and London, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her sister Lee Radziwill made their first visit to the nation of Greece.
Jackie became especially excited about the visit after her conversations with Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis and his wife during a luncheon she and President Kennedy hosted for them on April 1 and she learned about just how much ancient history was still to be found in evidence there.
The experience, however, far exceeded her expectations.
There was a call on the Greek royal family, like the one she’d just had with the British royal family. There was water-skiing and swimming while luxuriating on a private yacht, as pleasurable an experience as those she’d relish on taly’s Amalfi coast.
Greece, however, especially moved Jackie Kennedy not because of the expected welcome of ceremonial flourish by the Greek government for her as an official but rather the unexpected embrace by the Greek people of her as a person.
She arrived there with an impressive knowledge of its traditions but left with an emotional grasp of how entirely integrated those were in the daily lives of even the village peasants she encountered.
The more ancient ruins she visited and classical plays she attended, the more spontaneously she would taste its food specialties and dance barefoot to its music at a street festival.
When it was over, she declared to a gathering of Greek reporter with conviction, “I want to return and bring my children here.”
She added, with conviction, “I want to have a home here someday.”
Seven years and four months later, she got one.
She could never have imagined then, however, the circumstances under which her dream would be realized.
In all the running commentary which still continues about why Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis half a century ago, and what the two of them could have possibly shared that would sustain them as a happy husband and wife, the premise always defaults to her presumed motive of securing unfathomable wealth and his of possessing the world’s most famous person.
Others, in seeking to further understand the marriage of a woman who was a public symbol of the national tragedy of her first husband’s assassination that millions to a ruthless pirate of a tycoon usually list a series of external factors to more rationally conclude that they could possibly have loved each other.
Even among those who knew them as real people and appreciated their human complexities, the marriage of Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Continue reading →
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