Monday, September 4, 1944
Labor Day Pathos
Kate Thom recalled the weekend at Hyannis Port:
So many things happened that weekend! I remember Eunice was in a sailing race and didn’t have a crew. I’d never been in a boat in my life and I was made her crew. They were in everything to win, not just participate. I remember how cruel I thought she was because she kept barking orders at me and if I did something wrong, she’d scream. But she knew what she was doing and what she had to do to win. And we won the race.
Joe had just been killed. Kathleen was home. I spent a lot of time with Kathleen. She was more or less the quiet one. We had a lot in common. And I was pregnant at the time and wasn’t doing as much as everyone else. I remember vividly my conversations with her. We talked a lot about the war and religion and Joe. She’d been the last one to see Joe. I was also married to a non-Catholic and we talked about that.
Did anybody tell you about sneaking into the kitchen to get the scotch? They only served one cocktail before dinner. But these were a bunch of Navy men. So when the cooks left, we’d sneak into the kitchen and get the scotch. Bobby came home from Harvard. He was a scrawny little guy in a white sailor suit. He was very upset that we were sneaking booze in the kitchen. He was afraid his father might catch us and he knew his father’s wrath. But Kathleen handled him. She told him to get lost.
In the evenings, the Kennedys would retire early and we’d sit on the lawn. I remember that Red and Barney were clowning around and we were all singing and clapping our hands and Mr. Kennedy leaned out the window and said, “Jack, don’t you and your friends have any respect for your dead brother?” Which shut us up.
[41, p. 392-3]