Edie Beale Attends President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s Inauguration

Edie B

‘The Bouviers arrived first, followed by the Lees, the Auchinclosses, then the others, the Kennedys arriving last because they had endured the cold the longest. We all reached for the hot coffee or tea, the spiced punch, the champagne, the cocktails, anything to thaw out. Then we returned to our respective clans.

I walked over to Hugh Auchincloss. He had never met me before and didn’t know me from Adam. “I know all about you,” I told him. I almost spat in his face. I told him off for Jack Bouvier’s sake, for Jackie’s father.

The Kennedys all looked very unhappy. I couldn’t understand how, having finally attained their dream, they could be so morose. They seemed hyper and mororse at the same time. I’ve never seen so much unhappiness in one room before.

I went up to Joseph P. Kennedy, the patriarch, and told him that I’d almost been engaged to his eldest son, Joe Jr. I knew Joe Jr. from a Princeton house party. He was visiting Princeton, and so was I. So I told his father that if the almost-engaged had become a reality, and if Joe Jr. had lived and gone on to become President of the United States, then I, little Edie Beale, would now be a First Lady, and not cousin Jackie. He walked away from me shaking his head.’

Edie Beale, cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy and the star of 1975’s Grey Gardens interviewed by C. David Heymann

A Woman Named Jackie, C. David Heymann, Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1989