Join a hundred plus to listen to even the rich ad free in the laundry app, download the Wonder Free App and your Apple or Google Play mobile app store today. This episode contains descriptions of birth, trauma and violence that may be distressing for some listeners. Please be advised. Heads up, we're going to swear. Yeah, that's why they're here.
It's 2:00 p.m. on Air Force One, Jacqui, staring at the clothes laid out for her on her bed, a white dress, simple jacket and black shoes ever since she became first lady. She's put so much thought and care into each of her outfits. She's always had a sixth sense for what? Look, each public event required first ladies might not be elected, but it doesn't mean they don't have power.
For Jack's inaugural ball, she wore an off-White silk chiffon gown paired with a regal cape she designed herself when she visited India. She wore bright oranges and greens in tribute to the country's love of vivid colors.
It was diplomacy through fashion, and she played her role very well. She chose her current look, a stitch by stitch reproduction of a design from Paris Fashion Week. Because Jacques wanted her to open up the society ladies at lunch. They'd be wearing mink coats and diamond bracelets. Show them what good taste really is. Jack winked. They picked it out together, a simple but perfectly cut skirt suit and wool barkway, but now everyone's hinting that she should change, that her next stop will require something different.
But Jackie, not so sure if only she could think straight, but she's exhausted. Her mind is buzzing. Her thoughts feel as indistinct as the hum of the jet engines and just as loud she wishes she could just turn things down, off even. Maybe then she'd have a moment's peace. Maybe then she can make a decision.
Vice President Johnson's wife, Lady Bird, knocks and pokes her head in. Can I send someone in to help you change? Jackie shakes her head. No, that's all right, lady. Bird gestures to the bed. We've also laid out some towels for you, Jackie, not just enough to assure Lady Bird that she's heard her. The door closes with a click. Jackie takes a blue hand towel from the top of the stack and takes a few shaky steps to the bathroom.
She studies herself against the wall, then continues, It's so hot on the plane, it's like she's moving underwater in the bathroom, she flips on the lights for a moment. She doesn't understand what she's seeing. Her reflection in the mirror might as well be a cubist painting. Her face makes no sense. The colors make no sense. She slowly brings the towel up to her face and wipes away one long streak of red. It feels wrong, very, very wrong.
But now she knows what she's going to do. She's not going to change. She lets the towel drop to the floor, Ladybird sticks her head in again. Jacqui, we're ready for you. Jacqui nods. Her stockings are stiff with dried blood. It's caked onto her jacket and matted into her hair. But she knows that these next few moments are going to live on in history. The world needs to remember what happened to her husband, the unjustness, the violence of it.
She takes a deep breath, straightens the Navy collar on her pink suit and strides out to the main cabin. She takes her place next to LBJ, he holds one hand up and places the other on the Bible, flashbulbs pop, but Jackie doesn't flinch. She keeps her head held high, even though her thoughts are miles and miles away, because even though her heart is breaking, Jackie has work to do. She has to make sure the world remembers him.
She has to find a way to hold on to her. Jack. From London, I'm Erica Skidmore Williams, and I'm Brooke Saffron, and this is even the Rich in our last episode of JFK, and Jackie made it to the White House and began to turn it into a proper home. But just as they're finally learning how to live together, another tragedy will tear them apart. This is Episode three after Camelot shook.
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The food is elegant, but the mood is tense. As the waiters come to collect their plates, the guests brace themselves for this year's young starlet to shimmy out and sing Happy Birthday to the president. No one's forgotten Marilyn's performance. As the emcee announces the special guest, the crowd's eyes move from the stage to Jackie seated right next to Jack. Audrey Hepburn glides up to the mic, oh, she Jack's old fling, yup, but Jackie just smiles and it's not a fake smile either.
I imagine she leans into Jack and takes his hand.
Maybe she whispers something teasing and Jack laughs under his breath.
Jackie isn't worried about Audrey. She's not worried about any other women.
Her marriage is stronger than it's ever been since she refused to leave D.C. during the Cuban Missile Crisis to stay by Jack's side.
Everything's changed. Hey, speaking of missiles, does that mean Jack is finally keeping his in his pants?
No, actually, but he is a lot more discreet than he used to be. He started to realize what he's really gotten. Jackie, a true partner. When Jack gives his advisers silver plated calendars from Tiffany's to commemorate the 13 days of the crisis. He makes sure to order one extra and he gives it to Jackie, the person who did more than anyone else to get him through. Jackie keeps that calendar on her desk for the rest of her life.
Oh, that's sweet and sad. Yeah, it's taken almost 10 years of marriage, but she finally feels seen. So as Audrey Hepburn starts to sing, Jackie just holds her husband's hand and places the other on her growing stomach. Wait. Yep. Jackie's pregnant again, and life feels full of possibility.
Jack is feeling hopeful, too. He always thought he would die young, but after the world could have ended but didn't, he started to finally let himself plan for the future. You can even hear it in his speeches. I want to read you part of his State of the Union speech from that year home. I mean, I want you to read part of his State of the Union speech from that year. OK, great.
I'm sure nobody is sick of us yet, but we cannot be satisfied to rest here. This is the side of the hill, not the top. The mayor. Absence of war is not peace. The mere absence of recession is not growth. We have made a beginning, but we have only begun. See, it's like he's finally realizing how much more he can accomplish if he allows himself the possibility of a future and how much more fun he can have to say.
During the workweek in D.C., he tries to stop nuclear proliferation and head off future crises. And on the weekends he flies back to Hyannis Port and takes everyone for ice cream. Just like Jackie, he feels like he finally has it all. He's managed to accomplish nearly everything he set out to do, which is why what happens next is so painful.
It's Wednesday, August 7th, 1963, in Cape Cod. Jackie beams with pride as she watches Caroline jump her pony over cross rails. Jackie enrolled her kids in horseback riding lessons on pretty much the day they started walking, and she can't wait to do the same for her unborn baby. She laughs as John. John is lifted up onto a horse and his little legs dangle over the side. But as she watches her children ride, she suddenly feels a cramp.
Her body goes clammy with fear. She's five and a half weeks before her due date. Then another cramp comes. Jackie turns to the Secret Service agent nearby and tells him they need to go now. Jackie's rushed from Hyannis Port to the hospital at the Otis Air Force Base by helicopter. I'm scared to ask, but where's Jack?
He's in the Oval Office working on a speech that he's going to deliver to Congress. But when Jack hears that Jackie was taken to Otis, he drops everything. He jumps on a helicopter and books it to Massachusetts. It's night and day from her pregnancy with Arabella, Jack races to Jackie's side to be with her when he arrives. She's just coming out of surgery, so he meets their son before Jackie does. Patrick Bouvier. Kennedy weighs four pounds, 10 and a half ounces.
Oh, he's so tiny, so little and so sick. He's immediately placed in an incubator because he's having trouble breathing.
His chances of survival are 50/50. Oh, no.
Jack consults with a pediatric specialist who tells him to send Patrick to the children's hospital in Boston, sent him. Now he says you don't have a moment to lose. So Jack flies with Patrick to Boston without Jackie. She's still recovering from surgery and can't be moved. She never even gets a chance to hold him.
Oh, poor Jackie. She's been through so much. Yeah, too much. And the world is watching every step of the way. This is the first pregnancy in the White House since 1893. And America's had front row seats to Jackie's entire pregnancy. So when they hear she's gone into labor, the media scrambles to cover the birth.
It's Jackie's worst nightmare.
Well, yeah. She's such a private person. Exactly. Jack tells the medic back at Otis to disable the TV in Jackie's room so she can't even turn it on. When the medic can't figure out an easy way to do that, he pulls off the back of the set and smashes a random tube that does the trick. Jack scared that if something happens to Patrick, the press might find out before Jackie and he doesn't want her to learn about it on the news.
That's actually a really smart move on his part. When Jack arrives at the hospital in Boston, the doctors tell him that the next 48 hours are critical. There's nothing Jack can do but wait. So that's just what Jack does. He waits and he prays and he waits and he prays some more. Early Friday morning, the doctors told Jack that they've tried everything. There's nothing more they can do. They let him hold his newborn son in a dark, quiet hallway.
Jack holds his tiny fingers. Just after 4:00 a.m., Patrick dies in his father's arms. A few moments later, a nurse takes the baby from him, Jack walks away into an empty room, closing the door behind him.
Then he sits on the side of the bed and weeps. Oh, this is heartbreaking. It really is. And Patrick's death is a watershed moment for Jack. He visits Jackie twice a day at the hospital, reads to her and tries desperately to cheer her up. And by some accounts, he even decides to stop sleeping around. Wait, is that really true? The romantic in me wants to believe that this whole experience knocks some sense into him, but we can't know for sure.
I'm guessing he realized how much Jackie means to him and that she needs him to step up and be a better husband.
A week later, Jackie is finally released from the hospital. But as she leaves, she's confronted by a mob of photographers. And Jack is right there next to her. He reaches out for her hand and she holds onto it tightly. Jackie forces a smile as the photographers snap away inside.
She's hiding more pain than she's ever felt before. The last thing she wants to do is share it with the world. It's her pain. It's her loss, not theirs. She wants to grieve privately, but as a first lady, that's almost impossible. Through the summer and fall, Jackie's mood darkens, she isolates herself from almost everyone, Jack does what he can, but Jackie pulls away even from him that her sister Lea invites her to join her on her boyfriend's yacht for a few weeks in Greece.
To Jackie getting out of D.C., where her loss is still front page news. Sounds pretty good. Lee's new boyfriend is none other than Aristotle Onassis, one of the richest men in the world, his yacht is as fancy as you'd imagine.
The bathroom fixtures are plated in gold and the balustrades are made of blue lapis.
There's an Olympic sized saltwater pool, a ballroom and a private screening room.
There's plenty of space for Jackie to get away from the relentless media coverage. OK, that's Boller status. It's perfect for Jackie.
And she loves the idea of a trip around the Mediterranean. But Jacques begs her not to go.
Aristotle's made some shady dealings with dictators and he has connections with organised crime, according to Jack. This guy is an actual pirate.
OK, I'm trying to think of a good pun about booty.
Just come back to me, OK?
But Jackie doesn't back down. She's put up with his shit for years now. It's her turn to do what she needs. In October, she takes off on her trip and the sea air does help Jackie turn a corner. It also doesn't hurt that Aristotle or Aeris for Short is a very attentive host. He puts her in the yacht's nicest cabin and make sure there's plenty of champagne on ice because he's heard it's Jackie's favorite drink. He tells her the yacht will go wherever she wants.
Jackie and Ari have actually met once before, back when Jackie was just a senator's wife, but she made an impression. After that first meeting, Ari remarked to a friend she wasn't conspicuously friendly, but she had a way of making you look at her.
She went on to say he suspected that she had a carnal soul.
OK, so then he starts dating her sister. I know now that Jackie's on his boat, is very happy to spend time with her, which leaves Lee seething with jealousy. But the whole cruise is exactly what Jackie needed. She water skis, eats caviar and sunbathed. She drinks Dom Perignon and lets loose to Besuki music on the yachts mosaic tile dance floor.
In fact, she has such a good time. The press starts taking notice and not in a good way.
The Boston Globe asks, does this sort of behavior seem fitting for a woman in mourning?
I'll fuck them.
Yeah, but Jackie decides that a hit to her image is a small price to pay, especially if it means she gets to be a regular person for five fucking minutes. Jack pleads with her to come home, but she basically tells him, listen, I love you, but I'll come home when I'm good and ready.
Yes. Queen Jackie finally returns home at the end of October, and she instantly regrets staying away so long, not because of the bad press, but because Jack looks so much more gaunt and tired than when she left.
Over dinner, Jack is much more quiet than usual. Normally, he talks to their meals, but lately Jackie's the one who's been filling in the silences tonight. Jack hasn't spoken in a while, but then he leans towards Jackie and tells her he has a question for her. Jackie puts down her silverware and listens. I imagine he says something like, look, I know you're going to say no, but I thought I'd ask anyway, you know, I need to get my numbers up before 64.
Will you campaign in Texas with me just three days and then maybe we can take a small vacation off the grid. Jackie's never actually joined Jack's presidential campaign before after Chicago. Jack's always known better than to ask. She tenses up around big crowds and swarms when she's forced into small talk. But she studies Jack's face, his eyes look so sad, she's left him alone too long, so she takes his hand and she gives him an answer that surprises them both.
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One more time that's hello. Fresh dotcoms even the rich twelve code. Even the rich twelve. La, la, la, la, la. Mary. Jacqui will always remember the puzzled look on Jack's face after the first bullet hit like he's stopping to consider a difficult question. And then he's in her lap. His eyes are open, they're pure blue as she cradles his head, her white gloves become red. She remembers the hardness of the floor against her knees as she prays, the doctors keep shouting, Get out, get out.
But she won't leave the room. When she finally stands up, the hem of her skirt is wet with blood at 1:00 p.m., the doctors pull a white sheet over his body. One of Jack's feet pokes out and she kisses it. And then she pulls the sheet off him and kisses his leg, his thigh, his chest and then his lips. No one says a word. Ninety minutes later, Jacqui is still wearing her bloodstained suit on Air Force One, she wears it standing next to LBJ as he takes his oath, she wears it exiting the plane and she wears it while Jack's coffin is carried through the White House.
Oh, that's a long time to be covered in blood. It really is. She doesn't change out of her suit until four a.m. on November twenty third. But keeping that suit on was just the first step. There's still a lot of work ahead, including planning Jack's funeral, OK? There have to be people who can do that for her. Oh, there definitely are. But Jackie knows she has to be the one to do it. It doesn't matter that she never wants to see another soul again.
The funeral needs to be as big and public as possible. Jackie's exhausted but determined. She models it after the funeral of the most famous assassinated president in American history, Abraham Lincoln.
On the day of the funeral, a riderless horse pulls Jack's casket to St. Matthew's Cathedral. White House officials urge her to ride behind it in a Cadillac. But she insists Show-Off world leaders from 192 nations choose to walk behind her. She wants the world's eyes on her husband, and they are. More than a million people lined the street. They watch an almost complete silence as Jackie cloaked in black walks by them. The only sounds are the rhythmic drumbeat of the Marine Corps drums and the synchronized clomp of their feet as they march.
At the gravesite, Jack receives a 21 gun salute. Jackie flinches at each shot, but keeps her back straight and her chin high, a White House aide later said. We were supposed to be the tough ones, but this frail girl turned out to have more strength than any of us. Frail girl. OK, that's a straight up warrior. Yeah, and she's about to go even bigger.
Just because Jack became president doesn't mean history's going to remember him. Not every president stays a household name, especially when they haven't even served a complete term to make sure the world never forgets him. Jackie needs to appeal to myth, not history. She needs to turn Jack into a legend. It's the day after Thanksgiving, four days after JFK's burial.
The sky is slate gray and a cold rain is tapping against Theodore White's car window. The journalist is on his way to Hyannis Port, summoned by Jackie herself. Life magazine is holding the presses at a cost of 30000 dollars an hour for whatever story he'll be filing. Wow. He's probably thinking that's better be a good fucking story. Yeah, he hopes so, but he's not even sure what the story will be on the phone. Jackie's voice sounded urgent, but she was really vague.
She said she had something she wanted to tell the nation, but she wouldn't say what it was.
When White arrives at half past eight, Jackie greets him at the door. She moves slowly like she's in a trance. Within a couple of minutes, they've taken seats opposite each other on low sofas in the living room. Jackie lights a cigarette and barely seems to know she's smoking. Wow. She's smoking in front of a reporter. Yeah, she's pretty out of it.
Our girl is going through a lot. Her eyes are vacant.
White tries to get her talking. What did she want to tell the nation? He has his notepad out and his pens at the ready, but Jackie's not really listening. Instead, she starts reciting every detail of the day her husband died. She describes the oppressive heat of the Texas sun and the sound of the first shot. It sounded like a motorcycle backfiring. She describes the look on Jack's face after the second shot and the color of his skull fragments.
Oh, God. But her words come out in a calm, even monotone. Yeah, I mean, she's got to still be in shock. Yeah. Today she might have been diagnosed with PTSD, which tracks for sure.
White dutifully takes notes, but he knows Life magazine won't be able to print any of the details. They're way too graphic, too upsetting. But then Jackie remembers where she is.
She collects herself and makes eye contact with White. Here's what I wanted to tell you. She says she sounds like herself again. It's become almost an obsession with me. When Jack quoted something, it was usually classical. But I'm so ashamed of myself. I keep thinking about this line from a musical comedy. Hey, no judgment for me. I'm always thinking about musical comedies.
I mean, Big Hamilton fan over here, so I get it. But Jackie's eyes flick down to White's pen to make sure he's writing. He is. So Jackie continues. Before they went to sleep, she and Jack would throw open the door between their rooms at night and play records on their old Victrola. Jack's favorite record was the cast recording of Camelot about the legend of King Arthur and his roundtable. It was an age of daring and romantic deeds, an age in which England briefly existed in perfect harmony.
His favorite moment on the record came near the end when Richard Burton sings Don't let it be forgot that once there was a spot for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot, Jackie waits for White's pen to catch up with her and continues. That's what Jack's time in office was, wasn't it? It was Camelot. And while there will be great presidents again, there will never be another Camelot. I see what she's doing, making her man a legend.
At midnight, White takes his notes into a spare bedroom and typed up his story. 45 minutes later, he presents it to Jackie, who takes it to the kitchen table. Jackie and her pencil then get to work. She slashes out sentences and reorders lines. She adds words and changes punctuation marks. At two a.m., White dictates a story to Life magazine from the kitchen while phone while Jackie sits next to him and listens. When she hears his editors pushing back against the Camelot theme, Jackie shakes her head at White.
No, that needs to stay, and in the end, Jackie gets her way. Eventually, Jackie returns to the White House. It was the place she made into a home for Jack and the kids, and after renovating the family quarters, Jackie had finally started working on the Oval Office. The grand reveal was set for the day they'd return from Texas. Oh, no, that's awful, right? Jack never even got to see it. Jackie visits, but it's LBJ s office now.
She has to quickly pack up Jack's things. As she's cleaning up, she empties Jack's desk and finds two yellowing newspaper clippings. Both are from April 1962. Get your tissues ready, Brooke. OK, at this point, I'm out of tissues. I'll just use my sleeve. Both clippings are about Jackie, not Jack. The first article covers Jackie's goodwill trip to Pakistan and how sad she was that her husband couldn't join her. And the second article praises Jackie on her trip to India.
She absolutely dazzled the foreign dignitaries and the press.
But Jackie doesn't have time to find tissues or even use her sleeve. The countdown is on for getting out of the White House. She needs to keep moving. Can't LBJ and Ladybird just let her crash a couple more weeks? Yeah, of course. They're not monsters. They tell her to stay as long as she needs. But sleeping with a view of the perfectly trimmed South Lawn feels like very fancy couch surfing. So Jackie immediately gets to work packing her kids belongings and sorting through Jack stuff.
What does she say for herself and what does she put aside for posterity?
I mean, I'd probably just be like throwing a box and maybe I'll get it one day because I cannot handle it right now.
Yeah, I've got a lot of boxes I have yet to handle, but Jackie keeps busy like her life depends on it. She meets with Lady Bird to give her the ins and outs of living in the White House. She responds to sympathy cards which have been flooding the mail room. She writes handwritten notes to everyone in the White House who served her and her husband, including the gardeners, the kitchen staff and the switchboard operators. She makes a point of thanking everyone in person to.
Now, that is a class act. Yeah, she really is. On December six, 1964, two weeks to the day of Jack's death, Jackie dresses Caroline and John John in matching blue coats. It's the same ones they wore to their father's funeral. She takes their little hands and walks them through the West Wing and out the door. They pass the Rose Garden that she lovingly designed, and then they climb into a black limousine waiting for them on the South Lawn in the quiet of the backseat of the limo.
Jackie finally has a moment of stillness to breathe as they pull away from the White House. She realizes it's the last home she'll have shared with her husband. With her children held close, Jackie barrels towards an undetermined and unknown future, and she realizes that she has no idea what comes next. Have you ever said to yourself, I love the fact that I've had the same few pairs of sheets since just after college and I never liked them then, but I just keep watching them every week or two and putting them back on the bed like it's totally normal.
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The nine. It's the spring of 1964, jockeys up every night thinking about the number three, why the number three? That's the number of seconds between the first bullet that struck Jack and the second Cheesus. I'm going to stop asking questions now because the story is just way too depressing.
It gets better, I promise. Just not yet. OK, can we just do like a quick summary and skip to the happy part? I can try vodka, cigarettes, nightmares, vodka, cigarettes, nightmares. OK, stop. Just go ahead. Tell the story. OK, so obviously Jackie's hurting.
She's obsessing over Jack's death, trying to figure out if she could have done anything differently, maybe if she'd recognize the sound of that first shot, maybe if she'd pulled Jack down after the second shot, maybe if she looked left instead of right.
She keeps trying to move on, but it's hard to do in DC.
She's living in a borrowed townhouse in the middle of Georgetown. And every night crowds gather outside to stand vigil. That's sweet, but also really unhelpful.
Oh, yeah. And the crowds just keep getting bigger. At some point, Jack's grave and Jackie's townhouse become legit tourist attractions. Tour buses keep on rumbling up and down the street.
And to your right, we have the grieving widow who's now justifiably scared of crowds and loud noises. So let's scream our support as we drive by. Ready? Exactly. And when Jackie leaves her house, she's hounded by reporters and photographers.
Finally, she says enough's enough and tries to start over. In New York, she scoops up a penthouse apartment directly across the street from Central Park.
It has a private elevator that opens directly into her own foir, which means less chance of running into people in the hallway.
Exactly. This new pad is the perfect refuge from the world.
And Bobby, who's maybe the one person in the world who feels the loss of Jack as profoundly as Jackie does is now living in New York, too. She leans on him for support and bit by bit she starts to feel more like herself. She starts to go out of the house again.
One morning she takes a walk through Central Park. A few days later, she checks out an antique shop. She has lunch with one friend, then dinner with another.
She goes to a polo match in West Chester, a fox hunt in New Jersey, and then water skis on a trip to Mexico. She travels a lot, almost like she's afraid of staying in one place for too long. She updates her old look. No more conservative first lady suits her pillbox hats. Now it's mini skirts, cropped white jeans and black turtlenecks. OK, Steve Jobs could never. Oh, never. It's summer in nineteen sixty five.
When the tabloids catch on, they publish pictures of the grieving widow having fun attending events, even gasp dancing at a club.
In one picture, she's walking through Rome barefoot.
One headline screams from Mörner to swinger Jaji totally.
For the most part, though, Jackie doesn't care. But just as Jackie is starting to get her groove back, her world is once again turned upside down. Bobby's been shot. Oh my God. I know Bobby was running for president just like Jack. In fact, he just won the California primary and given a brief victory speech. Jockeys in London, when she hears the news and she immediately takes a private plane to California when she arrives, Bobby is still hanging on by a thread, but he doesn't live through the night orisha.
I said it was out of tissues. I know. I'm sorry. Bobby's death froze Jackie into another tailspin, and it makes her wonder if she'll ever be safe. She tells a friend if they're killing Kennedys, then my children are targets. I want to get out of this country.
I mean, after all this, I feel like Jackie deserves her own desert island. Agreed. And that's also what Jackie thinks. So she makes a decision that a lot of people won't understand and really won't like.
She marries Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping tycoon who's had his eye on her for years. Finally, that pirate gets his booty. There's the pun there. It is worth the wait. Yeah. Since Jack's death, Jackie's been courted by Frank Sinatra, Philip Roth, Marlon Brando, basically every A-list bachelor. But Ari has something that none of those other men do, a security force to rival the Secret Service and his own private island, Scorpio.
So Scorpios, that sounds like the name of a Bond villains layer. Yeah, it does. Jackie's friends and family think it's a horrible idea.
Ari's in his 60s old enough to be her dad, and he's made his fortune by cutting deals with fascist leaders. The press goes in for the kill. Let me read you some headlines from right after their wedding, Americ. Has lost a saint, Jacqui, how could you and Jack Kennedy dies a second time today of harsh? Yeah, it's gross. Privately, though, Jackie pushes back.
She tells her friends that this is exactly what Jack would have wanted. She's keeping her family safe. And for a while, Jackie's new life seems to be exactly what she needs. She hosts parties under the stars. She finds solace in the care. She learns how to speak Greek. Of course she does. And maybe a part of her thinks she can live on an island forever. But life doesn't ever work out that way.
The marriage is pretty much doomed from the beginning. Ari wants to go out to clubs and show off his new wife, but Jackie just wants to curl up in bed with a novel. And Ari's kids hate her. His son refers to Jackie as a gold digger. His daughter calls her the black widow. Oh, is that I think I'm detecting some flavor notes of sexism. Yeah, I'm picking up on that, too.
Ari ignores their jabs until his son dies in a plane crash and Ari starts to unravel. He refuses to believe the crash was an accident. And when he can't find a culprit, he turns superstitious. Maybe his daughters. Right? Maybe Jackie brings death wherever she goes. Maybe the crash is her fault. OK, those top notes of misogyny are really coming through now.
Ari actually rewrites his will, leaving almost all of his fortune to his daughter and his lawyer to drop divorce papers. But before the lawyer gets the chance, Ari collapses and a few weeks later, he dies. Jackie loses husband number two and of course, his money Ari's revised well, gives her a yearly stipend, but it's not what she expects. And almost all of Jackie's own wealth is tied up in real estate and art, clothes and jewelry. She's what's called cash for God.
One of these days, I really want to be cash poor. You and me both.
New York becomes her home base again and she starts showing up at clothing retail shops with her arms full of her fabulous couture to sell off. Finally, during a round of afternoon tea in Manhattan, one of her best suggests Jackie. Try getting a job.
Jackie skeptical. At first, she's like, Who, me work? She's been a housewife for two decades. What could she possibly do? Her friend has an answer.
She tells Jackie she has a good brain and she's organized. She's seen the world and done interesting things. Why not work in publishing?
She encourages Jackie to get in touch with a mutual friend who runs a large publishing house, and Jackie starts warming up to the idea.
It's the second week of September 1975 when Jackie shows up for day one at her new part time editing job with Viking Press in New York City. Wow, full circle back to her Vogue internship. Totally. And Jackie's determined to be just like everybody else in the office. No special treatment, but that's easier said than done.
Suddenly, everyone in the world knows exactly where she is. While she settles into her cramped one window office and gets to work. Fans storm the waiting room with manuscripts she just has to read. Reporters rang the office demanding interviews. People call in bomb threats, but Jackie ignores it all. Her coworkers get used to seeing her in the break room, making her own coffee and waiting in line at the copy machine and getting tipsy on Nog at the holiday party as part of a job.
Slowly, she starts to think of this job as a refuge, the one place where she can totally be herself. Be the girl who loved to curl up with a good book. Maybe she can help create books other people will love.
And it turns out she's a natural at editing, just like she knew how to shape the story of Jack's presidency.
She knows how to shape other people's stories to her part time gig, turns into a full time job, and after two years, she ends up going to another major publishing house. Jackie never writes her own autobiography, but if she did, these years would probably be her favorite chapters. She's no longer Jackie O. Or Mrs. John F. Kennedy or even Queen Deb. She's just Jackie. Good enough for me, too. And this, Jackie, is all the things she's always been smart, capable, empathetic, stubborn and stylish.
But she's doing it all on her own without a man. In fact, Jackie's publishing career lasts longer than both her marriages combined. She helps bring more than 100 books to publication and continues to edit manuscripts until the final days of her life. Using her own money, Jacqui designs and builds her dream house by the sea. It's just a short boat ride away from the Candy's place in Hyannis Port, but it's far more private and more importantly, it's all hers.
There she can dig her toes into the sand, swim out into the surf and breathe in the ocean air. She's finally found the freedom she was seeking as a girl at the beach all those years ago. Now she can sit back and think, I did this. This is the final episode of our three part series, JFK and Jackie, if you like our show, please give us a five star rating and a review and be sure to tell your friends subscribe on Apple podcast, Amazon Music, The Wonder App or wherever you're listening right now.
DRAINE Wonder E-Plus in the Wonder app to listen ad free. You'll also find some links and offers from our sponsors in the episode notes. Please support them by supporting them. You help us offering you this show for free. Another way you can support the show is by filling out a small survey at thundery dotcom slash survey. We used many sources when researching this episode, like the New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair and the John F. Kennedy Library.
But we especially recommend Jacqueline Bouvier, Kennedy Onassis, The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming These Few Precious Days by Christopher Andersen, Jackie as Ed by Greg Lawrence and the Death of a President by William Manchester. I'm a Reesha Skidmore Williams. And I'm Brooks Ephron. Elizabeth Cosson wrote this episode, editing by Allison Rimer. Our audio engineer is Sergio Henriquez, Sound Design by James Morgan. Our producer is Natalie Sheesha, our associate producer is KIYOUNG.
Our executive producers are Stephanie Gen's, Jenny Lour Borkman and Marshmallowy for Wondering. Hi, I'm David Brown, the host of the Business Wars podcast and author of our new book, The Art of Business Wars, The Art of Business Wars features great stories from history's greatest business rivalries. And the stories are fascinating, that's for sure. But the lessons we draw from them about determination, ingenuity, patience and all the other traits of the victorious enterprise are invaluable. Whether you're just coming up in your career or are already a CEO to order your copy today, go to Wonder Dotcom, the art of Business Wars.