by Marsha Brandsdorfer

John F. Kennedy, aka “Jack,” was born May 29, 1917 in Brookline, MA, to a wealthy family. As a young man, he went to Harvard University, and injured his back during football practice. Jack had two back surgeries in his later years, to try and relieve him of his chronic pain. To keep his mind active, during recovery, while bedridden, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which became a bestseller, and won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for biography.

However, the back surgeries were not successful and the pain continued throughout Jack’s entire life, sometimes quite severe, but he would not complain about it. Jack was a good looking man, who attracted many women. Although he was much of a playboy, when he was the U.S. Senator, he was motivated to run for the presidency of the United States, and he needed a wife to appear conservative. He got along well with the younger Jacqueline Bouvier, also known as “Jackie.”

image437She was pretty. She had class. Jack married Jackie in Rhode Island. Jack did fulfill his ambition, and when he was sworn in as the 35th President of the United States on January 20, 1961, he had been the first President to have been born in the 20th Century, and was the youngest man to ever to be President.

Jack continued to have many affairs while he was President. Jackie knew about the extramarital affairs, but she did not know the identities of all the women. However, she did know about his affair with actress Marilyn Monroe and that worried her. She was afraid of Monroe going public, causing a scandal that would ruin her husband’s reputation, cause public ridicule, and possibly destroy her marriage.

image446However, after Monroe passed away suddenly on August 5, 1962, still no one connected Marilyn Monroe with having had an affair with Jack. Jack did not often show Jackie physical affection in public. However, as he adored the children he had with Jackie, photographers often captured pictures of Jack playing with their children, Caroline and John Jr.

Jackie became pregnant again, and then on August 7, 1963, Jackie gave birth to their son Patrick Kennedy. However, Patrick was born premature, with a severe respiratory disorder. He was put into an incubator, and all efforts were made by the hospital to save the baby. However, he died of cardiac arrest on August 9, 1963 at 4:04 a.m. while in Jack’s arms. Losing Patrick drew Jack and Jackie closer to each other, and Jack started showing affection to Jackie in public.

image435But then, on November 22, 1963, Jack was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. As if to keep her husband closer to her just a little longer, Jackie refused to change her blood-stained pink suit after the incident. She was still wearing it later that day when she was with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, when he was sworn in as the new President of the United States.

(My research comes from These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie, by Christopher Andersen.)