While the country was both mortified and destroyed when JFK was assassinated in the notorious parade in 1963, his family was struggling with the loss of a husband, friend, and father.
For over seven years Maud Shaw cared for the Kennedy children, not just as their nanny, but as a nurse playing soldiers with John Jr., and a teacher to the Kennedy daughter, Caroline.
She was trusted so much by the family that when JFK was shot that fateful day, Jackie Kennedy’s mother, Janet Auchincloss, asked Shaw to be the one to break the news to, then nearly six-year-old, Caroline.
In Shaw’s memoir, White House Nannie, written in 1966, she talks about that horrific time period and let the public in on the painful and intimate moment she shared with Caroline. In the book she states:
“I sat on the edge of [Caroline]’s bed [that night] and felt tears well up in my eyes. Caroline looked up at me. ‘What’s the matter, Miss Shaw? Why are you crying?’ I took her in my arms. ‘I can’t help crying, Caroline, because I have some very sad news.’ Then I told her. It was a dreadful time for us both. Eventually she fell asleep while I sat on the bed, still patting her. At last I tiptoed from the room, leaving the door open just a crack, as always.”
How heartbreaking that moment must have been for both Shaw and Caroline. She was a lucky little girl to have such a caring woman to comfort her during those desperate moments.
Featured image via People Magazine.