Portrait of a Friendship

WHEN IT CAME TO HUMAN QUALITY, JACQUELINE ONASSIS HAD PERFECT pitch. After her son John had read aloud at the 1979 dedication of the Kennedy library in Boston the poem by Stephen Spender that begins with the words "I think continually of those who were truly great," she brought out one of her most delicate exhalations and said, "I'd really like to meet Mr. Spender, and I'd like Caroline to meet him too."

During the dinner my wife and I set up for that purpose, she made one of the quiet but definitive remarks at which she excelled. Spender had asked...

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