Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 6, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
June 6, 1973 THE LETHMIOGE HERALD Her years with the Kennedy clan Nurse Rita Dallas her story By 1SABELLE SHELTON Washington Star-News WASHINGTON If Rita Dallas had it to do over again, she probably would not nurse the Kennedy family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, for the last eight years of his life. She had an enormous respect and affection for her patient. And she found having an in- side view of the comings and goings of the Kennedy clan fas- cinating if sometimes heart- breaking. But the price of the experi- ence was high. Mrs. Dallas says she has not been able to make a living as a nurse since Kennedy died three and a half years ago. "I know you're not going to believe she said during an interview in her high riss apartment in Arlington, Va. Doctors she met around the country while caring for Ken- nedy (who was seriously incap- acitated after a stroke) find it hard to believe too. It was because she couldn't keep busy as a nurse that Mrs. Dallas finally acceded to friends who had been urging her to write a book about her years with the Kennedys Kennedy Case." which has just come out. "It seemed to be destiny, be- cause I had no intention of writ- ing this book otherwise, and I don't believe I would have if I hadn't been pushed into she says. "People assumed the Ken- nedys had given me a pension, so that I didn't really need to so she was constantly being dropped to the bottom of the nurse's registry. The Kennedy's gave her no pen- sion, she insists, "nor did I ex- pect them to Some people thought that after having such "high-flown patients1' as the Kennedy's it would be "an imposition" for them to ask for her. And finally, "Washington is a Republican town and "it did not help to have the Kennedy name on my resume. This was true with private pa- t i e n t s, government agencies and private firms (where she applied for "industrial nursing she says. About a year ago Mrs. Dallas decided to concentrate on her book. She is now out on a book promotion tour, and in the fall she's giving up en Washington. She will moveoack to Florida, where she once lived and worked. She "wrote" hejr hook by talking her recollections into a tape recorder and mailing the tapes to her collaborator, Jeanira Ratcliffe, a profession- al-writer, who lives in Indiana- polis. The publisher (brought them together. Mrs. Dallas has a very high regard for former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy itself enough to set her book apart from just about everything else written about the Kennedys. Only Mary Van Rensselaer Thayer, who has more or less become Mrs. Kennedy's offi- cial biographer, has written about the former first lady with the same unswerving enthusi-. asm. Rita Dallas admired her pa- tient because hehad such a tremendous will to overcome the multiple handicaps brought on by his stroke (his right side was completely paralyzed, and his speech was incomprehen- Because of her devotion to him, she was vastly impressed with the sensitive way he was treated by Jacqueline Kennedy. Mrs. Dallas liked Jackie Ken- nedy because she was almost the only member of the family to introduce herself, and to say "please" and "thank you." There was, for instance, the day when Joseph Kennedy, after months of painful therapy directed by the famous rehabili- tation expert, Dr. -Howard Rusk, was about to try for the first time to walk unaided ex- cept for a cane. The therapist offered Ken- nedy the sturdy but unattrac- tive cane that was standard for such exercises. But Kennedy, always extremely fastidious about his personal appoint- ments, noisily rejected it be- cause of its ugliness. The whole walking experi- ment was about to go down to defeat when First Lady Jackie Kennedy arrived, bearing a gift "The most beautiful walking stick I have ever seen, glisten- ing black and with a silver Mrs. Dallas records. Delighted, Kennedy grasped the new cane, and his daughter- in-law's arm, and walked and walked and walked up one hospital corridor and down the next, far surpassing his ther- apist's hopes for him. The therapy, alas, was not to continue, however and therein lies the story of what probably should be called the only "villain" in Mrs. Dallas's book. The book isn't a hatchet job i on anyone. Mrs. Dallas isn't waspish in the manner of many "backstairs" story-tellers about the famous. But she does obviously feel very unhappy about Ann Gar- gan, Rose Kennedy's niece who became Joseph Kennedy's con- stant companion in fact un- official nurse, although she had no training for the post. She forced an end to his walk- ing therapy treatments, fed him when he should have been en- couraged to feed himself, dis- couraged him from learning to write, and finally, in a particu- larly spiteful gesture, told him that his talking was gibberish which he just about stopped trying. Mrs. Dallas writes that one thing she has "always admir- ed" about Jacqueline Kennedy was that "she completely ac- cepted (Joseph) Kennedy's condition, while the others pre- tended not to notice the side of his body that was affected by the paralysis, she always held his deformed hand and kissed the affected side of his face. "The First Lady was trying to help Mr. Kennedy accept himself and not be ashamed of his condition. Perhaps that's one of the reasons he loved her so much. Her lack of fear help- ed him overcome his." Mrs. Dallas thinks she wit- nessed the scene that persuad- ed Jacqueline Kennedy she should marry Aristotle Onassis. It was 1968, and Bobby Ken- nedy was rolling up substantial successes in the primaries. The iamily. including Jackie, was sitting around celebrating that fact one evening at Hyannis- port, when Jackie said: "Won't it be wonderful when we get back in the White "What do you mean, cried Bobby's wife, Ethel. "Jacqueline Kennedy looked as if she'd been the story continues. She flinched as though a blow had actually stung her cheek. The room was crisp in its silence. Ethel gave a careless shrug and walked away. "The First Lady looked help- lessly around the room, gave a shy embarrassed smile, kissed Bobby fleetingly on the cheek, and went to her home alone. No one offered to stop her." "When the f a m i 1 y let her leave alone that night, I think she realized that although she still carried the name, her place in the Kennedy menage had come to an end." fV SIMPSONS OcdIS Kenmore spin dryer 13998 White. e-26 06 21100. Apartment size Plugs into any outlet. at the same lime. 15-min, wash and 5-min. dry timers. 2-way impeller. Automatic pump. On casters. Kenmore automatic portable dryer 139 98 d-26 06 68100. Up to 120 min. drying time. Perm-press cool-down prevents heat-set wrinkles. Lint filter. Door safety switch. Push-to-start button. Only 24" arid reouires no installation. 5-cycle Kenmore dishwasher with forced air drying 308 a-26 06 72051.2-leve! washing action with upper rotating rack. No pre-rins- ing of dishes! Detergent dispenser. Silverware basket. Porcelain interior. Woodgrain rnelarnine work-top. Retractable cord. 00 White b-26 06 72130. Built In model with same features. 279.98 in decorator colours only more Major Making his point His films are plentiful, and classed as significant, but he, himself, is rarely photographed. It's Swedish director- writer Ingmar Bergman who is shown making a point with an associate. Many gimmicks, games spawned by Watergate New York Times Service WASHINGTON While al- most a dozen writers of future books struggle to follow the in- cidents in the bizarre Water- gate affair, a flood of games, records, trinkets and bumper stickers already has been spawned from what started as a "third-rate burglary i Take, for example, the "Wat- ergate which is not a bug at all, but a 14-carat gold pin'in the shape of an elephant wearing earphones. Designed by Basil Theologus, owner of the Watergate Jewelers in the Watergate Mall, the bug costs about S225 in gold and about in sterling silver. The shop has received orders for "a half 'dozen" pins. Bumperstickers. some origi- 1 nal and some resurrected from j last year's presidental cam- paign. have also begun to follow I cars around the country. I Although the origin of "honk if you think he's guilty" and i "amnesty for Nixon" could not be determined. Jay Eisen of i Gateways Unlimited, a Wash- ington advertising specialty shop, has filled orders for strips ranging from "impeach Nixon" to "God bless the Washington Post." Eisen also reports a resur- gence in popularity of the but- j ton "Nixon's the one." I But one novelty company owner, asked if he handled any items relative to Watergate, jsaid he had been sold out of I some tee-shirts. "You're deal- j ing with president of the United i said Joe Piccolo of JAAA Novelty Company, in op- posing such souvenirs, "that should be handled on the high- est level and on the Q.T." Records are also offering comic relief for those dizzy from the Watergate reports. "The Watergate Comedy written by Ann Elder' and the team of Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber of Los Angeles, has music by "H. R. Halde- man and the Buckpassers Two singles have also hit the market. "At The Water- gate'' features Ron Marshall and the Waves. And not to outdone. WNBC's (New York) radio personality, Don Dams. has come up with a series of staged interviews called "Sons Of Checkers: The Case." There is also talk of re-re- leasing the movie in 1971. which deals, according to its promoter, Wayne Smith, with "a coverup of a paranoid president." "The Watergate Scandal" is not the real thing but a copy- righted card game created by Howard Mercer of Los Angeles and Joe Sugarman of Chicago. It tests players' "ability to cover-up and lie." Introduced at the Watergate Hotel last, weekend, it's billed as a of cover-up and deception for the whole family." Suggested to be played "be- hind closed doors, in hushed voices and with f u r t i v glances." the instructions "re- qmre you to check phones, clos- ets, linger beds, and any mov- able object that ticks'" before playing. In addition to one card desig- nated "the attorney general's wife." a blank wild card is provided "so that the person who owns the game can update the deck" due to rapidly chang- ing circumstances. Finally the instructions warn "nobody in the Watergate scandal wins." According to Milt Fisher of the Karma Group, a graphic de- sign company in New York, an- other novelty, titled simply "the Watergate sold puts its first printing of in four days. The winner of this is the last person to stay out of jaii STORE HOURS: Open daily from 9 a.m. to p.m. Thun. and Fri. a.m. to p.m. Centra Village Malt, Telephone 328-9231 On patrol Hannibal had no better transportation than "ele- phant patrol" on duty in area of Ban Me Thufo, South Vietnam. Sure-footed and no paddles.