The absence of their mother during the shocking aftermath of their father’s murder had led to several hours of uncertainty about who should first break the news to Caroline Kennedy and John Kennedy, Jr. and how it should be explained.
Earlier that afternoon, Caroline Kennedy was being driven by the mother of her schoolfriend Agatha Posen, about to have her first experience sleeping over her friend’s house.
A news bulletin about the assassination broke over the radio. Mrs. Posen snapped it off.
If that didn’t make the First Daughter suspect something was awry, the fact that the Secret Service agents in the follow-up suddenly seized upon her and took her to the White House did. She began to cry in fear.
She was brought to the White House where a group who usually didn’t organize in the Yellow Oval Room in the middle of the afternoon without her parents sat nervously waiting for news from Dallas: her grandmother Janet Auchincloss, her aunt Jean Smith and her mother’s confidante Nancy Tuckerman.
The familiar presence of her brother John and their nanny Maude Shaw, was the only note of normality. John busily played with a new toy plane, and bragged that his birthday was coming in only three more days.
His mother had promised to give him
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