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Jack, Jackie's children had taken mantle of Kennedy legacy

By Boston.com, 07/18/99

In a story published May 29, 1995, People Magazine did a restrospective on the life of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and wrote about how her two children, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and John F. Kennedy Jr., have coped with the loss of their mother.

Jackie died of cancer at age 64 in the spring of 1994, and the first time that many Americans saw her children together since her funeral was at the JFK Library in Dorchester the following May on the occasion of the annual Profiles in Courage award.

JFK Jr., 34 at the time, rose to speak, citing the past five recipients of an award that, he said, reminds all citizens that politics remains an honorable profession. When Caroline, then 37, presented former Oklahoma Rep. Mike Synar with the award -- a sterling Tiffany lantern designed by her artist husband, Edwin, 49 -- she beckoned John to join her with what People characterized as "Jackie-ish savvy."

"At that moment it seemed another torch had been passed: the custodianship of the JFK legacy," People wrote.

In the months after her death, Jackie's legend grew. New York City renamed both the Central Park Reservoir and a Manhattan high school in her honor. Books about her were published. Average attendance for "A Tour Named Jackie," a $10, 2-hour guided walking excursion through Jackie's Upper East Side neighborhood, doubled soon after it was revived last July after a hiatus at the time of her illness.

"It has a whole new audience now," tour operator Sam Stafford told the magazine. "People say they come to pay their last respects."

John and Caroline spent the first several months after their mother's death settling her estimated $200 million estate -- a task People said was both "difficult and sad." The antique French and English furnishings of her Fifth Avenue apartment had to be sorted for an auction Sotheby's held later that year that garnered more than $30 million.

One parcel didn't go on the block: Jackie's jewels. Caroline appeared at the opening of the American Ballet Theatre season in Manhattan wearing a pair of diamond earrings, among her mother's favorites, People reported. Most of the gems, including a 40-carat diamond ring given to Jackie by Aristotle Onassis, reportedly was sold privately through friends of Jackie's longtime companion, Maurice Tempelsman, a diamond investor.

There were painful moments for John and Caroline, People reported. Their mother's Fifth Avenue apartment was sold to billionaire energy executive David Koch, 54, for $ 9.5 million. "She had great taste; it was very personalized and filled with books everywhere," Koch told the magazine. "I want to upgrade it and make it my style."

As movers emptied the 15-room apartment, John Jr. was seen watching quietly from across the street, accompanied by his then-girlfriend Carolyn Bessette, publicity director for Calvin Klein.

Of John and Caroline's larger inheritance -- the family name -- People magazine believed that Caroline was particularly mindful. Though a friend told the magazine that the Schlossbergs have done less entertaining in their Manhattan apartment since the deaths of Jackie and, in January of 1995, Caroline's grandmother Rose Kennedy, Caroline has stepped into her mother's role as a cultural patron. In February of 1995, she took over Jackie's job as honorary chairwoman of the American Ballet Theatre -- listing herself on correspondence as Caroline B. Kennedy (the B is for Bouvier), according to People.

John made his own splash with the debut of George, the political-personality magazine launched in late 1995.

"Instead of writing about the highest- grossing film, we'll write about the best campaign ad," Kennedy told People.

He dived into learning the media ropes. ""It has dawned on him what a huge undertaking this is," a George contributor told People. "He's a charming, sweet guy, but he's all business about this. They have lots of meetings."

For its story, People magazine also visited Jackie's grave at Arlington National Cemetery, "an area in which Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's grace and strength still find poignant expression." There, the magazine spoke with Lorena Arroyos, 16, an El Paso high school student who was crying at the sight of the two matching slate slabs, Jackie's and that of the slain president.

"At JFK's funeral, Jackie didn't cry. She was strong for everyone," Arroyos told the magazine. "They weren't together very long in life. At least they're together now."



 


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