'America's Queen' Excerpt: Part II

On the surface, however, the young Bouviers’ life seemed sunny and serene. In New York and at East Hampton they were a glamorous couple on the social scene. Many years later, Jackie told Peter Duchin how she remembered her mother’s scent and the softness of her fur coat as her parents leaned over her bed to say good night before an evening out listening to Eddie Duchin perform. In New York they lived rent-free in an eleven-room duplex in the prestigious apartment building at 740 Park Avenue, built and owned by Janet’s father. Central Park, which for so many years was to be the physical focus of Jackie’s life and where Black Jack sweated around the reservoir in a special rubber suit to keep his weight down, lay two blocks to the west. In the summer at East Hampton they rented a charming cottage, Rowdy Hall, on Egypt Lane near the Maidstone Club, where the infant Jackie first made the social columns with her second birthday party and was reported that season showing her Scottie dog Hootchie at the East Hampton Show. Her parents gave lavish parties with a speakeasy atmosphere at the Devon Yacht Club, and for summer baseball games at the Maidstone, Jack invited a visiting team called, naturally, the Wall Street Stars, while Janet captained the women’s side.

Reprinted from America’s Queen by Sarah Bradford by permission of Viking Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Sarah Bradford. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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