by Mary Jane Dougherty
Modern, loved art, fashionista, our First Lady. "Vive Jacqueline!" Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961 made a huge impression on me and especially her trip with her husband, the President of the United States John F. Kennedy in May of 1961 to France.
"The Way You Look Tonight"
sung by,The Letterman
written by Jerome Kern and Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
"Someday,when I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight"
In 1961 I was nine years old and our family lived in Anchorage in our log house on Second Street. Our family always went to the movies. The movie stars on the screen always had perfect hair and wonderful stylish clothes. I would go home and try to put together outfits and hairstyles just like the movie stars.
My mother, Feodoria, also had great style. I was allowed to dive into her jewelry box as long as I asked her and put everything back in its place. My make-up never really looked like the movie stars I was trying to mimic. But I still had fun. My rouge was red and more clownish my brothers would say. And my mothers bright red lipstick was, bright and kinda went over my lips. Oh, well at least I got the hair and clothes right. As a matter of fact, now I'm a background actor in Hollywood and my pretending has come to life. Neat!
We had two TV stations in Anchorage, KTVA Ch 11 and KENI Ch 2. Our family had a 50's television set which was all wood on the bottom and the screen on top had knobs on the front. I remember seeing Jacqueline Kennedy on TV in her Inauguration ball gown. The dress was lovely and she was beautiful. To me, the President and the First Lady were like movie stars. The way they dressed, their love for the theater, horseback riding, riding in the new style of limousines and sailing. They had a lovely house in Hyannis Port Massachusetts. All together, to me they were like movie stars.
My mother always had the radio playing and I would watch the news on television with my family after dinner. And looked at the newspaper to read the comics and to see what was playing at the movie theaters. That is where I learned about Jacqueline Kennedy and the Presidents trip to France in May of 1961. Their trip was all over the news.
Paris, May 31st, 1961 the First Lady was in her favorite city. She visited Paris as a child and went to college there for one year. The crowds were in the thousands and so happy to see the President and Mrs. Kennedy. She spoke French in a television interview and charmed the city.
Paris, June 1st, 1961 at the, "Hotel de Ville" which was hosted by the chief mayor of Paris. And this is a memory that I remember vividly. As Mrs. Kennedy stood their in her lovely navy blue silk suit, she attracted more attention than the President, who joked, "I do not think it all together inappropriate to introduce my self... I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I enjoyed it." The Parisians where thrilled when she spoke in French saying,"I'm enjoying the trip terribly and want to walk around and look at the buildings and the streets and sit in the cafe."
Many of you have your memories of the President and the First Lady, please share them with your family and friends. Because this was a very special time in America.
The celebrities were on the cover of magazines or in the movies or on television.
Unapproachable, not like it is now. Mrs. Kennedy made an impression on me because of her kindness, generosity and she was a lady.
On October 3, 1973, in Anchorage, just before I was to deliver our first baby, Nikki Ann, the nurses said this to my husband Mike and I. "Alright, we're going to be taking Mrs. Dougherty into the delivery room in a few minutes." "Quick" I said, "Mike, hand me my makeup kit. I need to fix my makeup to get ready to deliver the baby." "What?" The nurses said as they laughed "If it's a girl she's going to be born wearing green eye shadow." I said, "I want to look like Mrs. Kennedy did when she had her photo's taken after she had her babies." More laughter ensued.
And by the way, I did the same thing on November 26, 1976 when our son Christopher Ray was born.
My excerpts about The Kennedy's trip to France are from the book, "Mrs. Kennedy Goes Abroad." by Jacqueline Duheme. I purchased three books. One for me, one for our daughter, Nikki Ann and one for our son, Christopher Ray and I wrote a personal inscription to them. I hope they looked at it from time to time.
The romantic in me saw the President looking at the First Lady and saying this to her;
"Someday, when I'm awfully low. When the world is cold. I will fill a glow just thinking of you. And the way you look tonight."
As a young girl growing up in Anchorage this made a big impression on me. I even used to go window shopping in Downtown Anchorage on snowy winter afternoons.
Looking at the reflection of the lights and snow flakes on the window displays, I would imagine myself wearing the clothes and wondering if I would look like those movie stars, and Jacqueline Kennedy.