Thursday, November 21, 2013
Redux: Freeze Tag
Stop time. Have her remember why they need to leave. Decide to fly out that night, back to the capital, fly back to the children. Think of a reason.
It is San Antonio, Texas, November 21, 1963. They still have to do Houston and Fort Worth. In the morning, they go on to Dallas. She plans to wear her pink; she hasn't worn it for a year or more, since the visit of the Maharajah of Jaipur. She has no idea.
I first posted this a year ago today.
Since then I've thought, on and off, about the curious life of this in many ways tremendously ordinary woman, who found herself in the cross-hairs of history and so spent the rest of her life finding a way to survive that shattering experience. She was not, and definitely not, approved of in our house when I was growing up. Even at the lowest low, however - trying too hard in her late '60s minidresses or later, technically a widow but somehow with the louche air of a divorcée ("no better than she ought to be") - the harshest criticism was also, in the end, leavened - "...of course, you have to remember what she's been through..." Not enough to redeem, but enough to explain. And even, to a point, forgive - "...and she was so lovely in the White House..." She was, but all that ended, fifty years ago.