She was sort of fabulously unconventional that way.
While she’d been away at boarding school early on, her mother pulled her out, mostly because – it is thought – her mother was just lonely, though supposedly Edie had respiratory troubles. Little Edie spent her 11th an 12th year going to the movie houses of South Hampton with her mother every day (unsurprisingly, she dreamed of being an actress).
She was constantly with her mother, and once wrote in her diary that:
“There are lots of 11-year-old children who think they know the meaning of love, when they honestly haven’t any idea,” she writes. “I have two great loves in my life. First, I love my mother, which will always go on, never be forgotten or forsaken. Most children think that mother love is a thing taken for granted, isn’t it? Second, my buzzing love for a boy, no mere crush, but a true, steady love.” When she eventually did go away to boarding school she signed her letters to her mother “With ladles and ladles of kisses, loves & hugs—your ever precious, ever loving and ever darling and kissable Edes.”
This is how I sign my letters to my mother: “love.” If I signed my letters they way Little Edie did, my mother would think I had gotten into drugs. How do you sign your letters to your mother? Do you go for ladles and kisses? Does anyone else think this is odd? Does it not seem odder because old school WASPs (like Jackie Kennedy) don’t seem like they would be naturally overly effusive?
I have no idea who that boy Edie is thinking of in her diary was, but I suspect Joe Kennedy took his place.
Really, is it any wonder that Joe Kennedy fell in love with her? Though supposedly, Edie preferred Jack. She later told Gail Sheehy she went after Jack first, but:
“Jack never liked society girls, he only dated showgirls. I tried to show him I’d broken with society. I was a dancer. But Jack never gave me a tumble. Then I met Joe Jr. at a Princeton dance, and oh my! Joe was the most wonderful person in the world. There will never be another man like him.”