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March 11, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on the fourth conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, published by Hyperion.

The fourth conversation was recorded on March 23, 1964.

Jacqueline Kennedy discusses President Kennedy’s exercise routine for his back problems.

“Jack would do sitting up exercises, but could never touch his toes.  He couldn’t get his hand down any farther than his knees, standing up.  He couldn’t put on his shoes.”

The exercises made a big difference.*

“He could then touch his toes (&) do all the things he’d never been able to do.”

*The exercises for JFK’s back were prescribed by Hans Kraus (1905-1995), an Austrian born orthopedic specialist.  

Dr. Kraus warned JFK that unless he began a strict exercise program, he would end up in a wheelchair.

Arthur Schlesinger asks Mrs. Kennedy about the parties she gave at the White House.

Mrs. Kennedy says:

“Jack loved (them).  If he’d been having a bad time, he’d say, ‘well, let’s have another one of those parties.'”

Mr. Schlesinger asks: 

“Where would you go for weekends.”

Jackie answers:

“Glen Ora.   (Jack) hated Camp David & really didn’t like Glen Ora because there’s nothing for him to do. 

 He’d sleep all Saturday morning & watch television in the afternoon. 

 It was just a let down for him.

 But he said: ‘I don’t really care about Glen Ora because all I use it for is sleep.'”

Kennedys Leave for Glen Ora, February 10, 1961, Photo by Robert L. Knudsen, NARA Photo



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