In Carly Simon’s memoir Touched by the Sun, Simon reveals supposed truths about her life and friendship between her and Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Carly’s father was the founder of Simon and Schuster, but Carly grew up to be something big in her own right. Jackie was a motherly figure to her. When Carly marries her second husband, Jim, who happened to have been expelled from the seminary due to breaking the rule of celibacy, Jackie has serious reservations about this. “Jim is not for you Carly, he’s got to get a life.” Further on, “…if he doesn’t get a job, you’ll end up despising him.” The great irony to all this is its irrelevancy because years down the road, as the book reveals, Carly’s husband comes out as gay.
There are some rather not so motherly things Jackie O does to Carly. She presses her for business; asks her to write her autobiography so that Jackie can publish it. Jackie worked at Doubleday back in the 70s and 80s. Instead, Carly agrees to write a series of children’s books and asks what a good amount of money would be to ask for in return. Jackie mentions a number and they agree upon it, draw up and sign the contracts, etc. A year or so later, Jackie says over the phone, “Oh Carly, you got screwed.”
image via daily mail
Another interesting tidbit, Jackie felt competitive with journalist and news reporter, Diane Sawyer. There was a reason: she liked Diane’s husband, the late director Mike Nichols. Jackie saw him as the one that got away. Diane was much younger and able to deal with any lingering jealousies at parties on the Vineyard. In the book, Carly does a great job of pointing out other awkward and ugly social fronts one must put up with in order to socialize with couples. It takes work to have fun (is the irony.) When she is out to dinner with Mike and Diane she recounts the situation: “It’s astonishing how in polite society…people can mask their sexual jealousy. “…whatever gave rise to the laugh, (holds) also a modicum of pain.”
Carly hosts a dinner for the President at the time, Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary and their daughter Chelsea on, where else, Martha’s Vineyard. Later on, Jackie and Carly discuss Bill Clinton and Carly gives a name to his sex appeal, calling his eye contact, “the Glint.” It amuses Jackie. They both compare him to Rhett Butler and Marlon Brando.
image via pinterest
What’s clear in the book is that Jackie never confided in Carly, while Carly told Jackie everything. She told her about her addiction to pills (Valium, Klonopin, Percocet) which ended up landing her in rehab for several days; the only call she made was to Jackie. Everyday. She talked to Jackie about her marriage troubles, she talked to Jackie about her ex James Taylor, her husband Jim who she suspected was cheating. She confided in her a lot, and Jackie always gave her a listening ear and sound advice. But the only thing Jackie mentioned about her first husband, Jack, was that his favorite song was “Greensleeves.” It was understood that JFK was off-limits for Carly.
In the end, Jackie died, with Carly there visiting days before. She crossed the busy New York streets, went up the elevator, passed the drinking Irish Kennedys, passed solemn daughter Caroline, watched as Jackie’s male companion, Maurice Tempelsman, and her son stood over her bed, quiet, their hands folded in repose, as Jackie whispered words from her bed as if they were incantations while she slowly exited the world.
image via wall street journal
Yes, there were some salacious moments in the book. (Carly witnessed Jackie go into full PTSD mode by accidentally bringing up her slain husband JFK; like I said, a big mistake.) But why did she write this memoir if she knew how notoriously private Jackie was? Did she need the money? Is she mad at a Kennedy? Or is she just bursting at the seams and finally ready to share with the world her friendship with someone who was considered royalty once upon a time in America? One wonders.
Featured Image via Next Tribe
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