Remembering Carolyn’s future

Well everyone, the time has come to bring Remembering Carolyn to a close.  I had started this blog as an alternative to the Facebook page, because it’s not always easy to view photos on there.  It’s not user-friendly and tends to be slow and tedious.

My material has run out and I’d never intended this to go on indefinitely like Ultimate Carolyn.

One thing you do not have to worry about is Remembering Carolyn being deleted.  Unless something very strange occurs like WordPress goes out of business, Remembering Carolyn will stay up as a resource for Carolyn fans.

Lisa from Simply Carolyn, if you’re out there, thank you so much for the treasure trove of Carolyn photos and information that you provided for so long.  If not for you, I wouldn’t have most of these.

And I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the readers and followers of this blog for taking the time to stop by and comment and say such nice things.

If anything new comes out like a book or some previously unseen photographs, I will be sure to update Remembering Carolyn.

For now, I will probably turn off the comments as there is always spam to go through on the dashboard of the blog.  If the blog is updated, I will turn the comments back on.

Finally, Carolyn, John and Lauren, you are all missed so much.

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Some close-ups of Carolyn

These are little pictures that I’d cropped from HQ photos and planned to use for a collage, but I figured I’d just make a photo gallery of them…

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Photo negatives from White House Correspondents’ Dinners

This is from the same man who shot the high quality photos of Carolyn and John at the ’97 and ’99 Correspondents’ Dinners.  His site is

There seem to be a few that didn’t get developed into photographs.

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Touching article about Lauren Bessette

This man knew Lauren and I found his eulogy about her very interesting.  It sheds a little bit of light on what she was like, and she sounds a lot like her sister – very caring and a force of nature.


After all the eulogies for the Kennedys, here’s one for Lauren

One of the most vibrant women I’ve ever met died on that plane with John Kennedy Junior


“IN HIS novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the American writer Thornton Wilder reflects on the lives of a group of people who are hurled to their deaths when the bridge they are crossing collapses. The deaths are so sudden, violent, arbitrary. What sense can one make of such a swift and pitiless end? In two beautiful sentences, Wilder offers a consoling vision: “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead; and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” The bridge is love.

I was thinking of Wilder’s words last weekend as the coastguards and navy were searching the waters off Martha’s Vineyard for John F Kennedy Junior, his wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren Bessette. I heard the news that the plane was missing as I was lying in bed fighting a summer flu. I could not get up to watch the news, and so in a darkened room I listened to the radio broadcasts as they became more and more ominous. And then came the confirmation: the three were dead. Young and beautiful and dead.

The news reports focused on yet another dead Kennedy. That was to be expected. The lost son of the lost leader. The cursed First Family. All truths are no less true for being cliches. I listened to it all with a sense of dread. Waiting for the name of the Bessette sister who had disappeared with John and Carolyn.

I could not grieve for John Kennedy. Certainly I felt sorry for the loss of a young life, and for his family. But I did not know him and I have always regarded grief expended on distant figures as somewhat counterfeit. When a Diana dies is it not ourselves, our private losses and agonies that we weep for, rather than the ostensible object of our grief? But somebody I knew and liked, one of the most vibrant women I’ve ever met, died on that plane with John Kennedy. And it is the life of Lauren Bessette that I want to remember this Saturday morning.

You will not have learnt much about her from the newspapers or television. She was the least-known of the dead, a high-flying financier who was said to be romantically involved with another one of the Kennedy clan, Bobby Shriver. That was how her life was edited down for public consumption. But Lauren was bigger than that, by a long shot. She reminded me of the lines in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities where he is describing the bodyguard employed by a wily lawyer in Manhattan. Wolfe describes his man as being “less a human being, than a force of nature”.

Lauren certainly didn’t look like a bodyguard – more a catwalk model – but she never met you with anything less than the full force of her personality. And that was very powerful indeed. Her physical appearance was striking. Tall and statuesque, with long brown hair, she always surged rather than strolled; she was always the figure in the room who demanded the closest attention. I first met her through my friend Thea Guest, who is in New York helping to console Lauren’s family in their days of darkness.

Thea was the BBC producer in Asia when I arrived there from Africa in 1994. One of our first trips together was a fruitless month spent waiting for the death of Deng Xiaoping in Peking.

It was February and bitterly cold, with biting, sand-gritted winds blowing down on to the city from the Gobi Desert. As the days yawned into weeks, our boredom deepened. After a fortnight I was champing at the bit to go home. The Paramount Leader looked nowhere near death. But London insisted that we stay. And then one day Thea announced that a friend of hers was coming up for the weekend. “Lauren will liven this place up,” she announced.

The following Friday morning I knocked on Thea’s bedroom door, to be greeted by a tall figure in a white bathrobe, combing the water out of her newly washed hair. She bore an expression of exaggerated nonchalance.

“I guess you’re Fergal. Thea says you’re all right. Come on in,” said the figure. I think she made a point of not introducing herself, just to test my reaction. I just smiled and said, “You must be Lauren.”

The first few hours with Lauren were pretty stilted; we were each trying to get a sense of the other. I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated by her. This woman takes no prisoners, I thought. Our relationship might have remained in that formal no man’s land, had Thea not managed to slip down the stairs of a restaurant that night. By morning her ankle had ballooned and, armed with Lauren’s fluent Mandarin Chinese, we set off for for the foreigners’ wing of a local hospital. Grim, foreboding, bureaucratic, the hospital promised a grim experience.

But I had reckoned without Lauren Bessette. Boy, this lady could make things happen. Within minutes of our arrival she had dragooned what seemed like the entire medical team to examine Thea’s ankle. Not long after that we were ushered respectfully into the plastering-room, where a large cast was moulded around the ankle. Lauren kept chatting to the doctors in Chinese, respectful and grateful now. Outside in the corridor, Thea took one look at her plastered ankle and collapsed. Lauren and I took an arm each and, laughing like children, hauled her down to the waiting taxi. That was Peking, early spring 1995.

I went to the antiques market with her and admired her bargaining skills. She was tough but never patronising in her dealings with the Chinese furniture-sellers. After Peking, I met Lauren several times in Thea’s company. We all lived in Hong Kong in the age of money. This was before the Asian financial crash and Lauren and her colleagues in the banking sector were riding high. In truth, Lauren deserved everything she earned. The woman worked so hard, travelled so far and long. She was very driven. I may be completely wrong, but I always sensed a loneliness in Lauren. The tough exterior, the power-woman who excelled in the witty verbal put-down, was covering up a much more vulnerable person. It never did cover up the decency or the sweetness, though.

Lauren and I had many battles about the attitude of Asian governments to human rights. She was a pragmatist, and believed that human rights would come with economic prosperity. I didn’t believe they were things people should be forced to wait for. But Lauren was always sincere, and she had the gift of a formidable intellect. It was a pleasure to argue with her.

Once, I brought her round to my way of thinking. It was Thea’s farewell to Hong Kong party, and we all ended up in a bar. At two in the morning, after another human rights argument, I ended up telling Lauren about the Russian poet, Osip Mandelstam, who died in Siberia after being banished to the camps by Stalin. I quoted some lines from his wife Nadia’s last letter to him in which she asks, with terrible, simple urgency: “Where are you?”

Lauren borrowed the book from which I had quoted. For two years she held on to it, and then sent it back via Thea. We were all living different lives by then. Thea and I were back in London, and Lauren had moved to New York – where one day last week she headed for an airport in New Jersey, to take a fateful flight with her sister and brother-in-law.

The bridge, as Thornton Wilder said, is love. The only survival, the only meaning.”

The writer is a BBC special correspondent

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Photos from the Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy message board

I somewhat recently stumbled across this message board devoted to Carolyn and the girls over there are brilliant, because they somehow managed to find new photos!

There are a few of them on a boat, one of Carolyn and John at the ’96 Whitney event, one of them at the ’96 Cartier party in Switzerland and three from the anniversary of what would have been JFK’s 80th birthday in 1997.  Those three were sold on ebay, so I included the back photo of one of them as a credit.  Unfortunately all were sold out by the time I saw the listings.  :\

I hope the message board members won’t mind me sharing these.  I want to thank them for allowing these to see the light of day, because no Google search would have brought them up.  Thank you!!

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Carolyn’s jewelry

Carolyn didn’t really wear much jewelry, but what she did wear was always tasteful and never overdone.  I’ve read about the friendship ring she had with Carole Radziwill and always wondered if it was one of the rings she wore on her right hand starting in ’98 or so.  It supposedly had an amethyst in it.

Anyway, here’s a small gallery of the jewelry Carolyn wore.  I’m not sure if the Gaultier clamshell necklace was part of the suit’s top or a real necklace, but I included it anyway:

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Carolyn’s bags and clutches

Just like RoseMarie’s book said, Carolyn bought quality pieces and reused them frequently.  Going by these photos, her most popular bags were the Birkin, the snakeskin clutch, the little Comme des Garçons pouch, and the Prada.  All were beautiful, of course.  The second one in the gallery that looks like a little backpack has a name on it that I can’t read (possibly Kate Spade?) and was from around 1994 or so and had a different feel from the rest of her bags.  Her simplicity is one of the things I admired about her style.  Stars today have room upon room to store their shoes, clothes and accessories, and Carolyn, one of the most stylish women ever, stored everything in one closet.  Amazing.

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Professional shot of them

This was from a trio of photos that they had in their loft.  I included a shot of it at the end of the gallery.  Richard Freeman (Carolyn’s stepdad) was the one who carried it out.

While the photo is one of my favorites, it also makes me especially sad when I see it.

Posted in Misc., Professional photos, Random photos | Tagged

Photos of her from Bergin book

I really debated about putting these up.  I decided I would just crop out the schmuck and post the photos of her in a gallery.  Some of the ones I had saved were just close-ups of her anyway, so not much cropping was needed.

She looked equally good with darker and lighter hair.  There was truly nothing Carolyn couldn’t pull off.

Posted in Pre-John, Random photos | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

New screenshots

I took these off some of the new videos I found on ABC where RoseMarie was talking about her book.  Nothing really very different here, except the quality is a bit better and I’d never seen any photos or screenshots where they appear to be standing in front of an elevator at the 1999 Whitney event.

There are probably doubles, so please excuse any you come across.

Take a look at this gallery after the jump…

Continue reading

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