So much garbage has been written about this poor woman from people who wanted to make a buck off their names, but one thing that has come through loud and clear is that she was a very kind, generous person. Everyone goes through rough patches and has their moments. She had a reputation as supposedly “fierce,” as one of the clips below mentions, but from what I’ve read, feisty seems like the better term. I like a person who doesn’t take crap from people. Frankly I wouldn’t be grinning for the obnoxious paparazzi either. I’d be burying my face like little Suri Cruise if I came out of an establishment only to be faced with a million flash bulbs going off. But anyway, there are many tales of Carolyn’s generous nature that need to be told.
The best stories of Carolyn’s kindness come from Carole Radziwill’s What Remains and RoseMarie Terenzio’s more recent Fairy Tale Interrupted. In the coming months, I will try and post some clips from both books.
People magazine also has an article archive and a few of them have some anecdotes about Carolyn, such as:
George’s former creative director, who remembers the day he first met Carolyn. “John said, ‘My girlfriend is gonna stop by. Show her the [magazine’s] logos.’ I thought, ‘Oh no.’ All of a sudden, I saw her looking in. She put her hand out and said, ‘I’m Carolyn. Hi.’ Then she started looking over my shoulder, eating potato chips. The crumbs were falling on me, and she was getting greasy fingerprints all over my screen. She was doing it on purpose. She knew I was nervous and wanted to make me feel comfortable.”
John Perry Barlow, 54, on whose Wyoming ranch a teenage John spent the summer, agrees that Carolyn could be “hell on heels,” but adds that “it was just one aspect of her nature. She was also a person who gave money to just about every beggar she saw. If there were leftovers from dinner, she gave them to the guy who camped out across the street. That was as important as the fact she could be pretty fierce.”
Kennedy and Bessette had earned a reputation for graciousness during their stays on the Vineyard. The weekend before the crash the couple had stopped by the Wharf, a no-frills seafood restaurant in Edgar-town. Around midnight Saturday, they had driven to the scruffy Lampost bar in nearby Oak Bluffs for a round of margaritas with friends. When it came time to settle the bill, the friends paid. Then, Bessette did something that their waitress that night, Meredith Katz, 20, a student at Tulane University, will always remember. She discreetly took Katz aside to make sure the tip was enough. Just to make sure, Bessette gave Katz another $15 or $20, saying, “I know how expensive rents are here on the island.”
I also recall hearing about how she saw a saleswoman in a store being treated badly by a customer and subsequently breaking down in tears. Carolyn comforted her and sent her flowers the next day with a note to cheer her up.
Another girl remembers being a freshman in high school and running to the bathroom crying over something, and Carolyn, who was a senior at the time, went over and dried her tears and gave her a pep talk. The girl was astonished because Carolyn was a popular senior. I have to say I find this kind of interesting because I know in my school, no senior would have even looked at me when I was a freshman, let alone cheered me up when I was down.
Like I mentioned above, I’ll be posting more anecdotes as I run across them. I need to go through some more articles and books that I have. I think it’s important that we know who she was other than the woman who had beautiful taste and was married to John Kennedy Jr.