Meet Marta: The Nanny Who Cared for the Kennedys


"When [Marta] was over at my house for dinner, she noticed that my dog did not have a collar with a name tag. So she took his name and my home phone number, and the next thing I knew, she sent me a beautiful red dog collar with his name and number sewn into it," she said said. "And thanks to that collar, I've found my dog several times after he's wandered off in Central Park!"

Evidenced by the many generations of people that speak fondly of her, Marta has a great ability to relate to individuals of all ages.

"Today, she's very fond of my own son, whose second name is John after my friend John Kennedy [Jr.]. It's great to see how she's really embraces all the generations. Old people and young people alike feel great in her company," Amanpour said.

Marta has a soft spot in her heart for children, but also for animals, ladybugs, four-leaf clovers, Italy, and now the United States (she became a citizen nine years ago.) Cats and dogs seem are her favorite in the animal kingdom, and she frequently croons to them in languages she's invented specifically for each one.

She's given all of the important animals (and children) in her life multiple nicknames. Marta explained that her seemingly-random naming system is simply her way of showing affection and that the names are actually just "whatever words comes to mind."

Take Donald, for instance, her sturdy Scottish Fold cat who has tiny ears due to a genetic mutation that makes his cartilage crumple over itself. Marta is certain that "he is regal" and feeds him a fresh turkey breast every day. While Donald is his name "on the papers" he also goes by Moose, Mooseboy, Rusticone, Musellon, Palomino, and Puffer.

As for the Kennedy grandchildren, Rose goes by Moma or Lola. Jack by Momo or Lolo. And Tatiana by Lolita, Momina or "The Golden Child." Anybody and everybody goes by "Ponky."

Marta says she loves the three grandchildren, who she helped raise, as if they were her own. But there are some things from their childhood, like having to watch cartoons such as Ren & Stimpy with them, that she doesn't miss.

"[Ren & Stimpy] was disgusting, it was a guy who keeps his eyes on his hands," Marta said. "But the children liked it. All of them. And we all had to watch one program at the same time."

Marta also recalled the trials of raising John Jr., who adored teasing her when he was little. "He was a little rascal, always ready to do something to you, that you didn't expect. It was mischief."

As a kid, John once let loose seven black water snakes from the Everglades in the house in order to spook Caroline and Marta. The snakes got into the house's plumbing system, to Marta's frustration.

"They were going from toilet to toilet in the house," Marta explained. "When I picked him up from school, he was just laughing hysterically."

Marta loves talking about the happy times -- the kids, the animals, and Madam -- but there were also very sad times, including the deaths of John Jr. and Jackie. The losses were tantamount to losing a best friend and a child, for her.

"It affected me as much as it affected them. I work for them, but I love them. I love all of them," Marta said. "They were all very dear to me. To lose them was always a big loss. And that you have to deal with by yourself."

But Marta says undergoing hardship has made her closer to the family.

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