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Kennedy’s curse

John Kennedy jr. e la moglie Carolyn Bessette

That picture of him saluting his father’s coffin wrapped in the american flag during the state funerals in Washington on 1963, november, 25th, three days after Dallas assassination, in his own birthday, had moved the whole world.

After that, JFK jr. became history, along with all what his family had represented in the early sixties. A slob journalist (there were even then, even in modern journalism homeland, the United States of America) had nicknamed him John John, believing this was how he was called by that father at whose feets he had been playing in the Oval Room in the White House. Actually, JFK had called back his son twice, in rapid succession how it happens to all parents in some anxiety or nervousness moments.

John was jr. only. JFK jr., and once survived to that worldwide trauma he had set about living his own life, just like other Kennedies went along living their own, bounced away from Camelot by a tragedy on which America would have been long questioning herself.

At eight, he’d lose his uncle Robert too. The uncle that have been a second father for him, after his natural one’s death. That same year, his mother Jacqueline Bouvier, Kennedy’s widow, remarried. Her choice fell on Aristoteles Onassis, the so deeply chatted about greek billionaire.

Washington – Novembre 25th, 1963

As every woman whose destiny were the First lady’s one, Jackie had lived her years as the President’s Wife with more suffering than gratification. All know why. A public couple is not supposed to live her own joys nor troubles privately. As Lady Diana Spencer thirty years later, Jackie would have considered as her own right to make a new living with someone of her own choice. As the Sad Princess, she would have discovered that a people who identified himself with her more than with his own legal institutions would never consent nor forgive that.

John jr. had survived all this. Then he chose and walked his own way. From Manhattan’s Upper Esat Side to Boston Andover School, to Providence, Rhode Island Brown University, to New York University School of Law, cursus honorum (C.V.) of young Kennedy did match his father’s one.

Robert Kennedy, murdered in Los Angeles in june 5th, 1968,

It was easy to predict him a political future as much as to the challenge. In 1988, Democrat Party’s Convention noticed him. By his speech, bystanders understood they were not only listening to the son of the President murdered in Dallas. The baby saluting the coffin had grown up in the meantime.

In the next years, John jr. dedicated himself to his lawyer’s profession. And to his own private life as well. After a short but intense wordly season (in dad’s palmares there was Marylin Monroe, but he could boast someone like Madonna and Daryl Hannah), he got married with Carolyn Bessette. And broke the family tradition celebrating not in Martha’s Wineyard (Kennedy’s historical home in Massachussets), but in Cucumberland Island, Georgia.

Once a day, they all knew history would have knock on his door again. Bill Clinton’s presidency was going rotten under the effects of his improper liaison with Monica Lewinski. Soon the Democrats would need a charismatic figure to address to, attempting to prevent Republican’s revenge.

Would it be up to a Kennedy once again, after his father and his uncle? Mario Puzo had written one of his fantapolitical thrillers, titled The Fourth K., in which he had fancied America facing again the candidacy of the most famous and most tragically destined family of the country.

Edward “Ted” Kennedy

Things went in a much more trivial way. John jr. was supposed to be a skillful civil airplane pilot. He had gone through 300 flight hours as he got on board of his Piper Saratoga II HP, in the late evening of 1999, july, 16th. Darkness and bad weather conditions suggested otherwise, but he got in his mind to reach Martha’s Wineyard for his cousin Rory’s wedding. His wife Carolyn and sister in law Lauren were on board with him.

Wedding had to be postponed. The most waited for among the invited relatives never got there. With the dangers’ contempt that was typical of his family’s males, with the courage inherited by his own father, John jr. ignored the weather forecast, put himself on the cloche of his Piper and went meeting his own fate. And the women he was trasporting one’s.

By order of President Clinton, his personal friend, US Navy took part massively in the research of the bodies of last Kennedy’s offspring, his wife, his sister in law. Once recovered, they were tributed by a private ceremony on board of USS Briscoe. And then, those state funeral in Washington again, the stars and stripes flag at half mast in front of the White House. This time, nobody felt like repeating that military salute of 36 years earlier.

The funeral speech was kept by last survivor of early generation, senator Edward Kennedy, Ted for his friends, the third Kennedy of the new frontier age. The man who had been one of the Mud Angels at the time of Florence Flood in 1966. The man who had experienced the family’s curse on himself a few years later in Chappaquiddick, as a strange car crash on local Dyke Bridge had costed him his political future, and even life to his passenger miss Mary Jo Kopechne, with whom he was later accounted to have a clandestine liaison. Even in his case, as well as for his brothers, public opinion had been led to suspect that the family curse were helped by human hands.

Ted spoke in loving memory of his nephew. His words were syntetics but highly effective. He said: «We hoped this Kennedy would have come to comb his hair when they become grey, with his beloved Carolyn at his side. But like his father, all was given to him except for a long life».

JFK, Jackie and their daughter Caroline, still living

A thousand days lasted JFK’s stay in the White House. A thousand days the wedding of his son with Carolyn Bessette, with the promise of what could have been a public life of their own together. Kennedies had to echonomically indemnify the Bessettes, on the base of one of those legal assumptions that made justice so ridicolous and absurd in modern world: if the conspiracy theorists are right, even the second JFK’s death was not caused by his own imprudence (as established by National Transportation Safety Board ), but because a new attempt, a new murder was  plotted by whom didn’t like a new democratic hope, a Kennedy’s new frontier in the White House in the 2000s; in that case, Bessette had found herself trapped in a game bigger than herself, and had to be indemnify.

The mortal remains of John and Carolyn, who loved each other more than their families would have done after their departure, don’t rest in Arlington, where lay JFK and his wife Jackie, meanwhile forgiven by american people. Their ashes were dispersed on Atlantic Ocean, now resting there together with the solution of the mistery of their last life’s moments.

As for the picture of the little blond boy in 1963, the one of 1999 portraying that not yet grizzled man kissing his wife is not likely to be forgotten by the world so easily.


Simone Borri

Simone Borri è nato a Firenze, è laureato in scienze politiche, indirizzo storico. Tra le sue passioni la Fiorentina, di cui è tifoso da sempre, la storia, la politica, la letteratura, il cinema.

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