Disregarding for a moment the history of the Kennedy family (PEOPLE, May 27), readers were curious about our cover, which showed Jackie Onassis wearing a name tag. Where, they asked, would she possibly need one?
KENNEDY WOMEN, KENNEDY MEN
On the Kennedy men: I’m having trouble correlating their “religion, spirituality, deep faith” with their disloyalty, dishonesty, betrayal and denial.
DEBBIE DE LA MORNIERE, Austin, Texas
Where was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that she needed a name tag? On Mars?
POLLY DILLER, Charleston, W. Va.
She was in New York City at the annual meeting of the board of directors for the Municipal Art Society of New York.—ED.
I am shocked and horrified by the portrayal of my husband and our marriage and my role as an abused wife that appeared in PEOPLE. This is demeaning not only to me, but to my children—and to my entire family, all of whom had the greatest respect and admiration for my husband. My husband cannot speak for himself—but I can. I was married to him for 35 years. He was a warm, loving, intelligent and compassionate human being—whom I loved very much and miss every day.
JEAN KENNEDY SMITH, New York City
I have never written a letter regarding a story about my family, no matter how offensive or inaccurate, but your cover story was so contrary to my personal experience and so profoundly upsetting to my recently widowed mother that I have to respond. I was not “shunted off to prep schools and Kennedy family homes” as you allege in your article. I lived at home until I was 18, as well as during my first year in law school at Columbia. I had dinner with my sisters and my parents virtually every night while I was growing up and spent every weekend together with them at a country home. Vacations and summers have always been spent together right up until my father’s death this year. My father never, ever treated my mother “like dirt,” as is alleged in your article. My recollection of my parents’ marriage is of a warm and loving relationship which deepened over time. You would have found this confirmed by hundreds of their friends if you had bothered to check with them instead of the anonymous sources that you cite. I love and respect my parents deeply. You have done a profound disservice to your readers, to the reputation of your magazine and to my father’s memory.
STEPHEN SMITH JR., Cambridge, Mass.
For the last 20 years we saw more of Steve and Jean Smith than we did of any other couple. We dined with them, went to the theater and the movies with them, played tennis with them, spent weekends with them, took holidays with them in America and in Europe. PEOPLE’S picture of the Smith marriage could hardly be more false. The idea that the couple “started living apart, and before long…were completely estranged” is fantasy. So too is the notion, as any New Yorker can tell you, that Jean Smith ever “stopped venturing out into the world.” So too is PEOPLE’S account of the Smith children “ensconced in elite prep schools”; three of the four Smith children were at home till they went off to college, and a fourth spent only two years away at prep school. The Smith family is a cohesive and devoted family, and Steve and Jean Smith had a lively and joyous marriage, mutually loving and mutually reinforcing.
ALEXANDRA EMMET SCHLESINGER
ARTHUR SCHLESINGER JR., New York City
Is Donald Trump so broke that he has to threaten his ex-wife with a lawsuit and cut off her alimony for telling what she believes to be the truth? If a girl had talked to me the way Maria did, I’d have done more than Ivana. As for the $15,000 engagement ring, I wouldn’t get too attached to it, Marla. It may be the next item up on the auction block.
S. REINHARDT, Iowa City, Iowa
Hooray for Terri Fischette! I do not wear makeup either. I have been told I couldn’t get jobs and was even refused one because I didn’t. Thanks, Terri, for making a statement for the rest of us!
REGINA LEA BURGESS, Ravenna, Ohio
I wonder if it ever occurred to Ms. Fischette that perhaps Continental Airlines was doing her a favor by suggesting that she use makeup? At 38, she isn’t the fresh-faced young lady she was 20 years ago.
PATTY JOHNSTON, Fairfax, Va.
I have three young children of my own and I can only pray that if they were in trouble, Mr. O’Bryan would be there to help. His courage and unselfishness in shielding two children from teenage gunmen in Boston set an example of what America is all about. This man is a true hero. There is no way, as a father myself, that I can sit back and allow this man to lose his home. Please tell me how to make a donation to show my support.
CURT RESNTCK, Longwood, Fla.
As we stated in our story, a fund has been established to help defray Mr. O’Bryan’s expenses. Donations can be sent to: Morlan O’Bryan Fund, St. Matthew’s Church, 33 Stanton St., Dorchester, Mass. 02124.—ED.