I was the poor Ir­ish milk­maid who be­came ‘Jackie’s Girl’

Kathy, 72, on dream job with for­mer First Lady

Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS - BY JIM GAL­LAGHER

AN Ir­ish woman brought up on a re­mote farm with no run­ning wa­ter or elec­tric­ity has writ­ten a book about her 13 years as Jackie Kennedy’s per­sonal as­sis­tant.

Kathy Mckeon, the fourth of eight chil­dren from Co Mon­aghan, was just 19 and newly ar­rived in New York when she got the job of a life­time.

She had moved to the US to get away from the ex­treme poverty of her up­bring­ing where all 10 in the fam­ily’s three-room cot­tage in In­niskeen shared the same tooth­brush.

By sheer chance a po­lice­man cousin worked on se­cu­rity out­side Jackie Kennedy’s plush apart­ment block on New York’s exclusive Up­per East Side and dis­cov­ered the for­mer First Lady was look­ing for an Ir­ish girl to join her do­mes­tic staff.

It was 1964 and the as­sas­si­na­tion of Jackie’s hus­band, Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy, the pre­vi­ous year was still in­cred­i­bly raw.

In Jackie’s Girl: My Life With The Kennedy Fam­ily, Kathy tells for the first time how she went for an in­ter­view with one of the most fa­mous women in the world fear­ing she would have no chance as a hum­ble, un­e­d­u­cated Ir­ish “milk­maid”.

But a warm and friendly Jackie gave her the job on the spot af­ter see­ing her laugh­ing and jok­ing with her lit­tle son John Jnr. She moved in with the griev­ing widow and her chil­dren, Caro­line and John, and 1040 5th Av­enue, just op­po­site Cen­tral Park, be­came her home. Sum­mers were spent in Cape Cod and win­ter breaks were taken in Palm Beach or ski­ing in Colorado.

Few peo­ple ever heard of Kathy’s story un­til she released her book in the US this month.

Now 72 and liv­ing in Florida, the mother of three said she de­cided to write the book for her grand­chil­dren when they be­gan ask­ing about her ex­pe­ri­ences for their school work.

She said JFK’S mother dubbed her “Jackie’s Girl” to dis­tin­guish her from all the oth­erirish staff at the fam­ily com­pound in Cape Cod.

Kathy, who al­ways called Jackie “Madam”, re­veals she was more of a nanny and maid than a PA and helped to rear the two chil­dren.

She said she de­vel­oped a close and last­ing re­la­tion­ship with the no­to­ri­ously pri­vate Jackie.

Even when she stopped work­ing for her in 1977 to de­vote time to her own hus­band Sea­mus and three chil­dren she would still call in on Jackie at Cape Cod. She also told how her boss was al­ways a “per­fect lady” although she

I called her ‘Madam’, she was al­ways a per­fect lady but she could be a lit­tle ob­ses­sive

KATHY MCKEON ON LIFE AS PER­SONAL AS­SIS­TANT

CLOSE BOND Jackie with Caro­line and John Jnr at Kathy’s wed­ding

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