Sunday, December 31, 1961
December 31, 1961
JFK continued his holiday in Palm Beach. He had a haircut at the house around 9:30 am with his barber Carl Pfendt (which was arranged by the visiting Evelyn Lincoln.)
In the morning JFK also conferred with press aide Pierre Salinger. A planned briefing for 40 newspapermen was moved from the outdoor patio area to the living room because of the chilly weather. During the morning, a planned portrait session with an artist was rescheduled because of lack of time.
During the session with the newsmen, JFK went out onto the patio, where Evelyn Lincoln was transcribing and typing some letters that Jackie wanted to get out. Mrs. Lincoln asked about an appointment that was tentatively scheduled with Matt McCluskey and Kennedy told her that he would see him at 6:00 pm and then headed back into the session, which broke up slightly after noon, with the press corps asking JFK questions on the way out of the room.
Kennedy then went over to the desk Lincoln had set up and was handed a letter from his mother. After he read it, he instructed Evelyn to get a copy of Fortune magazine, which was carrying a feature on Joe, Sr. He also reviewed a cable dealing with international business.
While he was reading, Jackie emerged from her bedroom and inquired whether it was too late to go for a swim. When Jack said, “Yes” she quietly turned and headed back into her room. JFK then went to change clothes to get ready to go for a sail
After his sail, JFK relaxed in his bedroom with Mike Feldman, Ted Sorenson, and Larry O’brien. Around 6 pm Matt McClaskey arrived for his appointment. Provi alerted the President that his visitor had arrived and JFK instructed Provi to seat him in the living room.
Before coming out to the living room where Lincoln and McClaskey were chatted, JFK called the phone there to talk to Lincoln. He asked that she remind him to talk to Kenny ((Kenneth O’Donnell) about Louella Hennessey and Mike DiSalle.
Then somewhat inexplicably, Kennedy wished his secretary who was in the next room a happy New Year. When Evelyn somewhat bemusedly pointed out that she was in his living room just a few feet away from him with McClaskey, he said, “Fine, give Matt a drink and tell him I will be out in a few minutes.”
While the pair was waiting for Kennedy to appear, Caroline came into the room and upon seeing McClaskey gave him a proper curtsy. He asked her how she made out for Christmas.
Caroline tellingly said, “John got a boat.”
McClaskey said, “Didn’t you get a boat?”
“No, I asked for a reindeer,” Caroline replied.
“Why didn’t you ask for a real one? 15 or 20 real reindeer graze my lawn every morning,” McClaskey countered.