Today in the NYT Kathy Horn writes an article about Jacqueline Kennedy. Part way through the article she writes the following paragraph:
“That Mrs. Kennedy is so closely linked to an item of clothing is fitting. In nearly three years as first lady, she had gained universal celebrity for her youthful style. Politically, it meant huge crowds whenever she accompanied the president. But for Mrs. Kennedy, who felt vulnerable, fashion gave her a sense of separation from the public’s gaze. It was armor.”
Wow, I didn’t have to think about that for one moment to identify. First, the President’s assassination will forever mark my generation’s coming of age. There are tears today filling my eyes. My parents hated him, they hated her and all of the Kennedy’s. Can you say East Coast Republicans? Yeah very right wing in the classist sense. Today I still love them and in part it is because they represent my generation although they were of another. And I have long had much admiration for Jackie. She did much good within her lifetime. I am a big believer in philanthropy. My parents saw her as “one of those do gooders and the Kennedys as shantie Irish. What the hell does that mean? And then OMG I married a Jew. My family never met my in-laws. Of course I personaly know that all of that snobbism was just a coverup for agoraphobia. She was dominant in the family and he just followed suit.
I left this post and was going to come back to finish later. But I see that I hit the “Publish Button.” OMG! There is a comment … OK. the points that I wished to make were:
1. My mother and father were deeply affected by WWII. He served on the ground in Europe and she served in London during the Blitz while working for the OWI. They did not know each other at that time.
2. Armor – I totally relate to Jackie Kennedy’s use of clothing as armor! I have done this since I was a about 15 years of age.
Well … that’s it. Not too poetic here … except for the act itself of wearing clothing as armor.