Monday, March 11, 2013

Mrs. Kennedy and Me - Clint Hill

Another suggestion from one of my reading groups that I devoured in a couple of evenings in March.  I delayed posting this review until after the reading group discussed it.

Clint Hill was the secret service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy from her first days as the first lady of the United States until a year after her husband, President Jack Kennedy's death.  He was adopted at 3 months of age by a loving Lutheran family and grew up in North Dakota with no experience with the rarefied lifestyle of the Kennedy's.

His gentlemanly demeanor and tremendous respect for the woman and her role were evident and a welcome respite from the gossipy, mud-slinging stories of other memoirs.  This man is one class act and unfortunately a dying breed.

I was struck by how much time she spent away from the White House.  I had not remembered her children that had died in infancy nor realized that her last child died only 4 months before her husband was assassinated. I did recall our nation and the world's fascination with her and her lifestyle and the Kennedy family.  Hill's story captures that feeling and takes me back to that time.

I clearly remember where I was the day Kennedy was shot and the reactions of my mother and other adults at the time.  Reliving those events from the author's perspective brought emotions of sadness and longing for what seemed a time when the presidency was magical and full of promise.  I wonder if young people today will have a similar view of the Obama presidency.  Maybe it just reminded me of a time when I felt I had passed from one phase of childhood to another, when I realized my parents could be shaken and hurt by something much larger than I could imagine.

Published: 2012  Read:  March 2013  Genre: Memoir

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