She was known for her elegant perfection and attention to detail, but there were some things even Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis couldn’t control.
In a new memoir Jackie’s Girl by Kathy McKeon, who worked as the former first lady’s assistant and nanny between 1964 and 1977, Onassis once discovered marijuana growing in the garden of her home on the famous Hyannis Port Kennedy compound in Massachusetts.
In the book, McKeon described noticing some of Onassis’ teenage cousins rendezvousing in her flower patch. Although she thought little of it at first, McKeon became curious after they returned to the same spot day after day.
“I went to investigate after the kids wandered off one afternoon but didn’t see any evidence that they’d been back there sneaking beers or cigarettes or anything like that,” she writes. “The flowers hadn’t been trampled.”
She continues, “That’s when it hit me. I went to find Jack Dempsey, the retired Cape [Cod] police chief who often hung out at the Secret Service trailer.”
Dempsey and McKeon returned to the garden, where he quickly confirmed the mystery plant was marijuana.
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Dempsey immediately went to inform Onassis, but McKeon was able to find the former first lady first.
“Are you kidding me?” Onassis said upon hearing of the discovery, according to McKeon. “Oh my God, this can’t get out. What should we do?”
She then headed out to the flower patch with Dempsey to see for herself. Reiterating that the news can’t get out, Dempsey and other Secret Service men pulled out the plants that very afternoon.
McKeon writes, “John and Caroline were much too young to have had any role in it, and while we all had a pretty good idea which cousins did, there was no confrontation, and no one got in any trouble.”
Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family (Gallery Books) was released May 9.