At Miss Porter's School for Girls,
Jackie Bouvier Was "Extraordinary Teen"
AS HER FATHER HAD INSTRUCTED HER, SHE WAS SELECTIVE ABOUT INVITATIONS FROM CHOATE, ST. PAUL'S, EXETER, GROTON. Last minute blind dates were ruled out. As a result, the prep school youth who could truthfully say he had take out Jackie Bouvier had something to boast about. And that is how her legend grew.
In 1947, society columnist Igor Cassini, who billed himself as "Cholly Knickerbocker," voted Jackie Bouvier the debutante of the year, noting her enormous popularity with Eastern prep-school and college men. Her reputation was that she always held herself at a white-gloved arm's length from them; she was also very popular with the girls.
That summer, the Auchinclosses tossed a huge dinner-dance for her at the Clambake Club in Newport, R.I. as a coming-out party. She looked radiant. The stag line perspired and panted for her. Her relatives shared their stares -- "Jackie had come out of her shell"-- but had they known she was a secret person on speaking terms only with herself, there may have been vocal misgivings.
Her father, nicknamed "Black Jack", blamed his ex-wife Janet and "those so-called blue-blood Newport snobs," and for her personally asided to pals, "My whole life has been ruined by that bitch." There were no reassuring him that she loved him any less but Jackie was becoming more of her own woman and needed both parents less.
She used her father's apartment to stay over when she had dates and he got to see more of her...after a fashion. Jackie entered Vassar in the fall of 1947. Her grandfather was dying of cancer at 82 that winter. And her father remained confident he would be well taken care of in the will. When the vault was opened, all the lawyers could uncover of the Major's assets amounted to only $824,000.
Jack got $100,000 tax free and was forgiven $50,000 he had borrowed. Each grandchild got $3,000. It was Jackie's first inheritance.In the summer of 1948, Jackie announced that she wanted to spend July and August touring Europe with three other girls. She had her grandfather's $3,000 to pay for the trip. What's more, she devised a way for her father to pay the money for that excursion.She had begun to lose her taste for Vassar so she applied for the Smith College Junior Year in France program for the following year.
For Jackie, the year in France meant freedom: freedom from the endless bickering between her mother and father over her affection and her whereabouts. She had grown more than a little weary of it, and confided to friends that she would like to live in Paris permanently and never come home to either parent.
After they got engaged in 1951, Bouvier was ecstatic. The two men had Yale, the brokerage business and New York in common. But Jackie was more sophisticated; she broke the engagement calling Husted "immature," a word young people used a lot in the 1950s. Jackie's friends got the idea she seemed to have a preference for men who were older than she.