JFK’s Children: John’s Birthday on his Father’s Burial Day & How Caroline Was Told JFK was Gone

Mrs. Kennedy at the birthday party she held for her son ten days after his father’s funeral. 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. Caroline Kennedy. 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. The Kennedy Yellow Oval Room in May of 1962. 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 a birthday party. He would be three years old. The Georgetown home of Jackie Kennedy’s mother. A message conveyed by the Secret Service from Air Force One, now on its way to Washington, requested that the children be immediately removed from the White House and brought to their grandmother’s nearby home. Maude Shaw quickly threw some overnight clothes in a suitcase for them and a White House car sped them away. Shortly thereafter, when her mother was able to speak to Jackie via the phone on Air Force One, she updated her on the children’s whereabouts. Mrs. Kennedy was annoyed: no, she wanted them in their rooms at the White House. The children were again packed up and rushed back. John and Caroline Kennedy on the White House Truman Balcony with their nanny Maude Shaw. Janet Auchincloss asked her daughter whether she wanted her or the nanny to break the news to the children that their father

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Categories: First Daughters, First Families, First Ladies, First Sons, History, Presidents, The Kennedys

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