20150704

ARI

The 7 years marriage of Jackie and Ari Onassis had been described as "the most famous marriage of our time (or in the 20th century)." It was also a "modern Greek tragedy". Jackie Onassis touched the baby boomers generation in a very personal way. She was, "a phenomenon in phenomenal times." Jackie was said "moves in a glass bubble of her own design enabling her to hide in plain sight. A focus of attention she creates and often seems to shun...Throughout her life, Jackie is always evolved using lessons of experience to change and triumph from society page child to debutante to journalist, the '50s political wife who became a new kind of First Lady in the '60s, the wife of an international billionaire in the '70s, by the '80s a working woman, in the '90s, comfortable and secure, a grandmother." 

Lester David and Jhan Robbins were two highly respected investigative reporters in the United States. In 'Jackie & Ari', "one of the most hotly discussed books of (1976)", they noted: "Someday a great dramatist yet unborn, with the skill and insight of a Shakespeare, will seize upon the Jackie and Ari story and create from its elements a great drama. The marriage and the events that surround it shaped up like a Greek tragedy, and seemed headed for the same kind of awesome climax. All the ingredients of a great play appeared to be present…" 

Although "the marriage survived must be counted as a near-miracle, for the roadblocks in its path were monumental," it was pointed out several radio stations broadcast on New Year's Day in 1963, Madame Ella's "look into the future". She told the world, "Jackie Kennedy will very soon meet a tall, dark, handsome, charming stranger with lots and lots of money. My (Tarot) cards tell me that she will marry this man." No listeners took Madame Ella's forecast seriously because she "failed to mention death or divorce in her prediction." 

It was understood Jackie and Ari first crossed path in 1951 at a cocktail party. The party hostess told the world years later, "I particularly remember it because of what happened. I saw Jacqueline talking in a group. Nearby was Aristotle Onassis. I weaved through the crowd, which had already filled the room to overflowing, and took Ari by the arm, turned him around, and told him there was someone I wanted him to meet. Then I introduced him to Jackie. But, horrors! As they were talking, one of the maids who was offering canapés was bumped by a guest, and the whole tray was overturned. Most of the canapés went on the floor, but some mayonnaise got on Jackie's shoe, and I could see that she was annoyed. Ari was marvelous. He helped the poor maid scoop up the mess." 

Ari bought the island, Skorpios in 1962 for $60,000. He then spent some $3 million turning Skorpios "into a private pleasure dome." If he could, Ari was said, would have bought the Ithaca in the Ionian Sea because it was believed to be "the birthplace and kingdom of Ulysses, the hero of Hoer's Odyssey." With water supply, reservoirs were constructed on the highest point and they would be refilled every day with water carried in by boat. To withstand nature's earthquake, Ari was particularly careful to make sure the foundation be "almost as thick as that of the Empire State Building!" 

In 1963, Ari invited Jackie to visit Greece to rest after the tragic death of her 3rd child. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. accompanied Jackie on the cruise. Of Madame Ella's forecast, Ari was heard to have said, "Do you think the fortune-teller really had me in mind? After all, she did say a stranger, and I was introduced to Mrs Kennedy several years ago (in 1961). But I suppose that Tarot cards don’t lie." 

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. recounted, "Our first port was Lesbos, the island of Sappho, which we explored while Onassis stayed discreetly aboard. He was sensitive to causing embarrassment to anybody who was in the group. He wasn't particularly sensitive about showing his wealth…At any rates, our next port was Crete. Jackie asked me to speak to Onassis and tell him that he didn't have to hide out, that she would like it if he would come ashore with us. So he did, and he obviously enjoyed playing tour guide to his wide-eyed guests." One servant made known, "Jackie had this strange thing about that boat (the 'Christina'). Every time she'd see a picture of another yacht she'd say, 'It doesn't compare to Onassis'. I must have heard her say that at least a dozen times." 

As a couple, Jackie and Ari led "jet-set lives": She in New York, He in Greece; He in Egypt, She in France. However "they would always meet after a short time and spend time together on the island of Skorpios." During his life, Onassis' homes had included a villa in Glyfada in Greece; a townhouse in London; a hacienda in Montevideo, Uruguay; a penthouse in Paris; a lodge in Buenos Aires, Argentina; an apartment in New York; a mansion in Monte Carlo and the private island of Skorpios.

David Broder made the comment in 1994, "It is impossible to exaggerate the maleness of the political world of 1960. Few women were in politics and those who crossed the line were expected to adapt to the men's rules. That was particularly true in Massachusetts, and even by Massachusetts standards, the atmosphere and style of the Kennedy campaign was especially macho. It was a world of big cigars, loud voices, backslapping and locker-room language."

Marianne Means wrote in 1963, "The First Lady decided shortly after the election that her contribution to the nation would be to inspire interest in history and performing arts through the example of the White House." John F Kennedy had said, "Her emphasis upon culture at White House functions is an expression of her feeling that the White House ought to be the center of excellence." William Seale observed, "If today (in 1994) a First Lady went in there whose only interest was redecorating the White House, there would probably be bad press. But in those days a First Lady wasn't expected to have a cause, except maybe throwing parties. The style she wanted was very imperial." Peter Collier concluded, "She was the last of a generation of women for whom making a life had to do with the adroit choice of the man you spent your life with. She was the last public American woman who was wholly unaffected by the feminist movement and was larger than the movement."

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