Blue Skies in Camelot: An Alternate 60's and Beyond


Hi all! I'm a big fan of alternate history, a long time lurker on the site and a first time poster.

I've wanted to try my hand at a timeline of my own for a while now, and decided to take a crack at it!

Before we begin, I just want to say a few things:

1. Any resemblance this timeline may bear to other timelines on this site or elsewhere is purely accidental. I have tried to be original in my ideas, while also sticking with what I'm interested in writing about. To that end, there will be some events which occur that have been done before, including, I imagine our POD.

2. I welcome and encourage comments and feedback! I want to hear what you all have to say. Just be civil and awesome to one another. If you have ideas for the timeline, PM me or feel free to post and I'll see if I can work it in.

3. The timeline is still a work in progress, and as such, I may change the format of updates depending on what you all enjoy, or which methods get the story across best. I will do my best to update the timeline at least once a week, hopefully more often than that!

Without further ado...

Blue Skies in Camelot: An Alternate 60's and Beyond

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Chapter 1
Blue Skies in Camelot
An Alternate 60's and Beyond

Chapter 1: Big Girls Don't Cry


Few would contend that they envied Marilyn Monroe on August 4th, 1962. Sure, she had been one of the biggest stars in the world for more than a decade, not to mention its most potent sex symbol. But things, of late, had taken a turn.

Apart from her divorce to playwright Arthur Miller, the previous year had also marked Monroe’s last appearance on film to date, starring in The Misfits, written by her ex-husband. In the time since, Monroe had spent most of her time dealing with various health problems. Years of neglect, and abuse of drugs had left her tired and in need of help.

Having been fired from Fox’s Something’s Got to Give, Monroe spent this Saturday, August 4th, primarily on personal business. That morning, she had met with a photographer to discuss Playboy possibly publishing nude photos taken of her on the set of Something’s Got to Give. She also received a massage from her personal massage therapist, talked with friends on the phone, and signed for deliveries. A perfectly placid day, at least in the eyes of housekeeper Eunice Murray, and Patricia Newcomb, Monroe’s publicist.

In the afternoon, Dr. Ralph Greenson, the psychiatrist charged with treating Monroe, arrived at her home in Brentwood for a therapy session. Greenson heard that the actress and Newcomb had gotten into an argument earlier in the day, and he thought it best that Newcomb leave the house immediately. Not wanting Monroe to be home alone, however, he asked Ms. Murray, the housekeeper, to stay the night and keep an eye on her. It would prove to be a wise decision.

Following a brief phone call with Joe DiMaggio Jr., whom Monroe had remained close with after her divorce from his father, the starlet turned to retire to her bedroom, but was stopped by the ringing of the telephone only seconds after she had put it down. Confused and annoyed, Monroe answered, to hear a cheery voice on the other end.

“Heya girl,” The actress grinned, despite herself. It was Peter Lawford, English actor, member of the Rat Pack and brother in law to President Kennedy. “What’s a guy got to do to get a hold of you tonight, huh?”

Something was eating at Marilyn, she needed to get to her bedroom. Lawford could wait. Oblivion couldn’t. “I’m busy, Pete.” She replied, curt. “Is it important?”

“Busy, at this time of evening?” Lawford laughed. “Doing what, sleeping? Come on, Marilyn! Pat and I are having a big old party tonight and it just wouldn’t be the same without ya. You’ll come and join us, won’t you?”

Out of the corner of her eye, Monroe watched her housekeeper, Eunice walk down the hallway toward the actress’ bedroom. Droplets of sweat began to form on her forehead, and her heart started pounding. “Pete, I really must be going. Can’t I ask you to leave a girl alone for a night?”

Lawford faux-sighed. “Not on your life, doll. You’re a good friend, and friends don’t let friends stay in alone on a Saturday night…” The Englishman kept on speaking, but Monroe stopped hearing what he was saying.

Eunice had entered Monroe’s bedroom, pulled the door shut behind her with a thud. Moments later, she emerged with a bottle of pills and tears forming in her eyes. Monroe gasped. No one was supposed to find them. Her last resort. Her means of escape.

“Ms. Monroe…” Eunice babbled and wiped her eyes. “What were you planning on doing with these?”

Her ruse up, her plans of ending her pain taken from her, Marilyn was trapped. Caged and cornered, poked and prodded, held up to spotlights and examined under microscopes, she had long felt like more of a zoo animal than a person. Less an artist and more an object to be gawked at. She loathed every minute of her existence, and here was Eunice taking away from her the only way out. Monroe slammed down the telephone, hanging up on Lawford.

She opened her mouth to scream, but all that came were tears of her own. Marilyn fell to her knees. All the world, her struggles, it seemed so perfectly terrible now. It swirled around her, taunting her like the witches in the Disney pictures. Depression kills. That’s what Dr. Greenson had told her. If it kills, why won’t they let it take me? She asked herself.

In a flash, Greenson was upon her, there with Eunice, still fighting back her hysteria. They were here to help, they said. They were going to make things okay, again.

They can say it all they want. She thought. Things can never be okay, again.
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me: the 1962 Midterm Elections

1962 had certainly been a tumultuous year for the Kennedy administration. It had begun triumphantly enough, with John Glenn becoming the first American in space on February 20th. The President, youthful, handsome and full of spirit had doubled down on his administration’s commitment to the Space Race in September, famously saying “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."in a speech at Rice University.


The President’s “New Frontier” programs were seeing mixed results in Congress. Though Kennedy had managed to secure legislation upping environmental protection of America’s waters, increases to the minimum wage, increases to Social Security payments, urban housing projects, and several other reforms, the strong conservative coalition in Congress prevented many of his other initiatives, such as a Medical Health Bill for the Aged, from making it through.

Add to all of that the near outbreak of global thermonuclear war that was the Cuban Missile Crisis, and one can easily see that the President was in need of a victory.

Thankfully for the beleaguered Kennedy, victory came on the evening of November 6th, as the results of the midterm elections trickled in. The Democrats lost four seats in the House of Representatives to the GOP, but beyond that, returns were eminently positive.

The Dems traded those four House seats for a net gain of four seats over the Republicans in the Senate. This left the President’s party with a 67 - 33 majority in the Senate, and a 258 - 176 lead in the House.

Throughout the campaign process leading to the election, Republicans had campaigned on Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, hoping to paint him as a weak, ineffectual leader in the face of a true threat to national security. This backfired spectacularly as the Crisis came to a peaceful end just days before the election, swinging public opinion the other way, in favor of the Democrats.

Following the elections, the ranks of liberal Democrats in Washington would be bolstered, an encouraging sign for the White House, as they sought to take another crack at getting the New Frontier through Congress.

Notable for the President personally was the victory of younger brother Edward “Ted” Kennedy in the special election to represent Massachusetts as its junior Senator, the same seat JFK held before his election in 1960.

Also remarkable was the defeat of former Vice President Richard Nixon in the California Gubernatorial election against Democratic incumbent Pat Brown. Nixon had been seen as having a real shot at victory over the semi popular Brown, but had burned bridges with the state’s conservative Republicans following a nasty primary battle with Joe Shell. This lack of enthusiasm among right wing GOP voters would ultimately be the determining factor in the race, costing Nixon the Governorship, and in the eyes of many, ending his political career for good.


With a newly minted Congress on the horizon, Kennedy prepared his next round of legislative proposals. He hoped to secure passage of a law to promote clean air throughout the country, and began to think about tackling civil rights, the decisive moral issue of the day.

Politics weren’t all that the President concerned himself with at the White House. There were, of course, the affairs.

For more than a year now, Kennedy had been carrying on an affair with Mimi Alford, a White House intern who had been 19 when they first met. In addition to their torrid relationship, the President supposedly had countless other forays, all of which were kept well away from the public eye, naturally.

It would be on November 23rd, a day after receiving the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame, the highest award bestowed upon American Catholics, that the President called Marilyn Monroe again.

The pair had originally been introduced in February of that year, and the extent of their relationship beyond a one night stand at mutual friend Bing Crosby’s house back in March, seemed to be null. Despite this, Kennedy had heard that Monroe had been checked into rehab by her therapist, and was taking some time out of the public eye while she recovered from her addictions.

Talking for only a few brief moments, Attorney General Robert Kennedy heard his brother wish Marilyn a “full and swift recovery” and say that he “would love to see her again if he could.” The call quickly deteriorated however, when Monroe’s ex-husband and self appointed protector, Joe DiMaggio took the phone from her and began to lash out at the President, insisting that “you crazy Washington types are the reason she got here in the first place!”

Bobby convinced his brother to let it go. “There’s business to attend to, Jack.”

The elder Kennedy sighed. “Isn’t there always? What’ve we got?”

“President Alessandri, of Chile, will be here in a few weeks to discuss the Alliance for Progress. After that, you have your trip to the Bahamas to meet with Macmillan about the damned skybolts. In the meantime, we’ll have to send letters of congratulations to all the new congressmen, and start cracking away at the next push on the hill.” Bobby rubbed plainly evident fatigue from his eyes. “What’re we moving on?”

The President thought for a moment before answering. “Tax cuts are probably the logical place to start. We don’t want the conservatives pouncing on us again right out of the gate. After that? We go on clean air, and equal pay for women.”

“Alright, Jack. That should put us in a good position for reelection.” Bobby turned to leave the Oval Office.

Reelection. The President mused silently to himself. Easing himself into a standing position, he couldn’t help but notice the pain in his lower back. An old friend at this point in his life, Kennedy did his best to ignore it. His mind wandered once again to Marilyn. She had been a lot of fun, and he meant what he said, about seeing her again. Too bad that prick DiMaggio beat me to it.

He let the thought escape his mind for a while. It was time to work.
Chapter 3

Chapter 3: He’s So Fine: January - July, 1963

The new year presented a series of challenges and opportunities for the Kennedy Administration. Chief among the President’s concerns was getting his agenda passed, now that he felt he had a Congress he could actually work with. In his State of the Union, Kennedy pleaded for that body to pass an Equal Pay Act for women, saying: "For one true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members. Let this be the measure of our nation."


Congress would, eventually, pass that Equal Pay Act, and the President would sign it into law. This due in part to the public support of one famous actress...

While Kennedy was busy pushing Congress to pass more of the New Frontier, Marilyn Monroe was making a dramatic comeback.

After six months in rehab, and living under the caring supervision of Peter Lawford and her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio; Monroe emerged a changed and significantly healthier woman. She immediately set to work putting her life back together, beginning with her career.


Booking interviews with several high profile journalists at The New York Times and other papers, Monroe did not try to hide her addiction, and subsequent recovery. She expressed her frustration at the stigma surrounding mental health issues and treatment in the United States, as well as the “dumb blonde” image that had come to so strongly be associated with her as a performer.

“From now on,” she declared. “I’m going to dedicate myself not just to my work as an actress, but to causes that I care about.” Of these causes, the biggest was undoubtedly feminism. Monroe gave an attractive, glamorous face to the feminist movement, and made headlines when she went to Washington to speak to President Kennedy about the Equal Pay Act (or E.P.A), not as an entertainer, but an activist.

A far cry, of course, from the year before, when she raised eyebrows with a breathy rendition of “Happy Birthday” at the President’s request.

Another happy moment came for Monroe shortly after the passage of the EPA. Still carrying a flame for her, despite the struggles, DiMaggio asked Marilyn to give him a second chance and marry him again. She agreed.

Across the nation however, not all was cheerful and well. Deep seeded hatred, bigotry and centuries of racial mistreatment throughout the South were about to boil over.

In Birmingham, Alabama, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel and others, instigated a campaign of nonviolent protest against what Dr. King called “the most segregated city in America.”


Protests began with a boycott led by King meant to pressure business leaders to open employment to people of all races, and end segregation in public facilities, restaurants, schools, and stores. When local business and governmental leaders showed resistance to the boycott, SCLC agreed to assist. Wyatt Tee Walker, an Organizer from SCLC joined Birmingham activist Shuttlesworth and began what they called “Project C”, a series of sit-ins and marches intended to provoke mass arrests.

The objective of the protests was most certainly met, as Birmingham Police began to arrest protesters en masse.

The “Birmingham Campaign”, as the movement came to be called, lasted from April 3rd to May 10th, when Dr. King, his fellow campaign organizers, and city officials in Birmingham were able to come to an agreement, which would provide for the desegregation of public places throughout the city.

Hailed as a massive success for the Civil Rights movement, the campaign also caught the attention of President Kennedy, at whose urging the United Auto Workers, National Maritime Union, United Steelworkers Union, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) raised $237,000 in bail money to free the demonstrators.


Bringing global attention to segregation in the south, the campaign spurred Kennedy to take more direct action on civil rights. Just a day after his speech at American University in which he called for peace between the United States and Soviet Union, the President gave his Report to the American People on Civil Rights.

Delivered on radio and television just after Alabama Governor George Wallace tried to prevent two African American students from attending classes at the University of Alabama, Kennedy’s speech marked a turning point for his administration. From then on, John F. Kennedy would be a vocal crusader for civil rights. In the speech, Kennedy specifically called on Congress to pass a civil rights bill, and vowed to put political and moral force into the fight.


The President also made head way in foreign affairs during the first half of ‘63. Throughout the month of July, Kennedy visited several Western European countries, including his ancestral homeland of Ireland and West Berlin, where he gave his now famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.

All in all, a strong showing in both foreign and domestic affairs for a resurgent Kennedy, who, as Bobby pointed out, had to start thinking about reelection. A major fight lay ahead, however, as southern Democrats and other congressional conservatives prepared to dig in on civil rights. Segregationist sentiment ran strong throughout the country, and overcoming it would require the youthful President to show great political tact and skill. Only time would tell if he could rise to the occasion.

On the Republican side of the aisle, moves were already starting to be made toward the nomination for ‘64. Seen nationally as the frontrunner for the GOP, recently reelected New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller began a spirited tour of the midwest to see what the response to his potential candidacy would be.


Rockefeller was encouraged by a mostly positive response, and when former Governor Goodwin Knight of California offered to open an office for Rockefeller’s campaign in the Golden State, Rockefeller saw no reason to say no. Additionally, seeing the importance California would hold in trying to wrest the primary from any challenger, and the general from Kennedy in the long run, Rockefeller made a controversial decision: reaching out to Richard Nixon.

Nixon, still bitter after his loss in the ‘62 gubernatorial race, was seen by most as a spent political entity. Republicans across the country distanced themselves from him, and few believed he had any relevance to the upcoming elections. Rockefeller, with advice from several prominent California GOP staffers, went against the prevailing opinion, calling Nixon, and asking him to join his campaign. “If I win this thing, Dick,” Rockefeller said during that phone call. “I want to consider giving you a spot in the cabinet. Secretary of State or Defense.”

Still early in the process, the former Vice President was initially hesitant to endorse Rockefeller. He wanted time to think over his situation, save whatever political capital he had left and invest it in a candidate that he thought would help him rebound in the future. Nixon wasn’t ready to give up on politics just yet. “I appreciate your offer, Nelson, it’s very generous. If you don’t mind, I’d like some time to talk it over with Pat.”

“Of course, Dick, take your time.” The receiver clicked and Nixon leaned back in his chair. He scratched his chin and thought to himself. I’ll have to watch myself, pick the right horse in this race.

Nixon certainly had options. Michigan Governor George Romney, Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes, and Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, the first female to be a candidate for a major party’s nomination had all declared their candidacies by July of ‘63.


Out of all of them, however, Rockefeller's biggest opponent for the nomination at the outset was Arizona Senator and conservative firebrand Barry Goldwater.


A libertarian, Goldwater opposed almost any expansion of government authority and spending, especially the welfare state. The right wing of the Republican party held him in high esteem, though his message alienated many in the party’s shrinking moderate, eastern establishment wing.

With a protracted primary battle against Goldwater ahead of him, Rockefeller faced another, more personal issue. The New York Governor had, for some time, been carrying on an extramarital affair with Margaret Fittler, a woman he called “Happy”. Rockefeller hoped to marry Happy, but his campaign staff warned him that such a move would alienate many social conservatives within the party, and could cost him the nomination. Rockefeller refused to set Happy aside, and so sought to nip the issue in the bud.

This meant an upfront press conference, embarrassing questions about when and how their relationship began. Following their marriage on May 4th, Rockefeller met with The Republican Citizens Committee, a caucus of moderate Republicans, and managed to convince them to keep their support with him. “The storm may be harsh,” he told them, impassioned. “But with your support, my campaign can weather the winds, the rain, and ride this thing out.”


With the moderate wing of the party firmly behind him, Rockefeller turned his attention toward convincing conservatives that Goldwater was too extreme to carry the banner of the Party of Lincoln. It would be a monumental task indeed.
Chapter 4

Chapter 4: One Broken Heart for Sale: August - November 21st, 1963

August began in tragedy for the President and First Lady. Their third child, a boy named Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, died just two days after his birth of infant respiratory distress syndrome on August 9th. Seldom affectionate in public, Jack and Jackie were seen holding hands as they departed from Otis Air Force Base, where they learned that the child had passed.


The nation mourned alongside their commander-in-chief. It was said by many who knew the first couple that the death of Patrick seemed to bring them closer together, that an unspoken understanding pervaded their subsequent life together. Mimi Alford reported that President Kennedy never attempted to sleep with her again, following Patrick’s death. The President was later seen weeping with the First Lady, she telling he that “There’s just one thing I couldn’t stand… If I ever lost you…”

“I know… I know.” Kennedy whispered in reply.

Unfortunately, the times would not allow the President long to mourn. On the 28th of August, some 300,000 activists participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event, which culminated in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, was seen as a great step forward for civil rights, and highlighted the struggle currently being carried out on Capitol Hill, where the President’s Civil Rights Act was struggling in committee in the House of Representatives.


Following his speech, Dr. King and several other civil rights leaders met with President Kennedy at the White House.


While the President was mourning the loss of his son, and working toward civil rights with Dr. King and Congress, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were living it up. The pair were married in a tiny, private ceremony outside of Monroe’s Brentwood home on September 3rd. Though Marilyn had wanted to invite several of her old Hollywood friends and members of the Kennedy family to the event, DiMaggio had flatly refused. “Those people are the ones that hurt you, and I’m not going to let them do that to you again. Do you understand?” Realizing he wouldn’t budge on the issue, the actress eventually relented.


They set a course for their second honeymoon that would put thousands of miles between them and the sources of her old problems. First they’d stop in Mexico City, then continue on through Latin America before finishing with a cruise through the Bahamas. Marilyn joked that by the time Joe let her come home, she’d be a shoo-in for a role in a new beach movie.

In Mexico City, they caught some rays and spent several days seeing the sights and taking in the wonderful murals around the city’s Ciudad Universitaria. The art portrayed scenes from Mexican history, and represented to Marilyn, a new commitment on Joe’s part to try and find interests besides baseball, that they could share. In the evenings, they read poetry together.

During the couple’s last night in the city, the 2nd of October, Joe was returning to he and Marilyn’s hotel, after picking up a volume of poems at a local bookstore. As he turned a corner, near the row of foreign embassies, he heard a heated exchange between a short, but well built American man with cropped hair, and a frustrated looking official in green fatigues, beneath the Cuban flag.

The American nearly frothed at the mouth with rage. “What do you mean you won’t approve the visa? I need to get to Cuba, so I can reach the Soviet embassy there.”

In reply, the cuban simply shook his head and rattled off a series of words in spanish. DiMaggio didn’t understand any of it, but it didn’t sound happy.

Trying to mind his own business, the Baseball legend took a wrong step and found himself brushing shoulders with the angry American.

The guy spun on his heels and looked up into Joltin’ Joe’s eyes. In all his years, DiMaggio had never seen such a furious expression on the face of another man. “I-I’m sorry, fella. I didn’t see where I was going.” DiMaggio caught himself and tried to keep walking, not wanting anything to do with the other man.

“Hey, wait a minute!” His countryman called after him. “I know you. You’re… that ballplayer, aren’t you? The one that just married Marilyn.”

Joe felt his heart beat a little faster, silly as that probably was. This wasn’t the first guy to ever pick him out of a crowd on the street. He was, after all, the greatest living ballplayer. Something about this guy just gave Joe the heebie jeebies. “Yeah, that’s me, Joe DiMaggio. And you are?”

The man’s lips curled into what could only be called an attempt at a smile. “Hidell. Alek Hidell. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”


DiMaggio waited for the guy to ask for his autograph, or about baseball, or Marilyn, or anything else. But all he did was stand there. Deciding that this weird, chance encounter had eaten up enough of his time, DiMaggio turned once again to leave. “Listen here, Alek. If I were you, I’d stop messing around with Cuba. It ain’t nothing but trouble, I can guarantee you that much. What do you even want to go there for? You got business?”

“Hidell” thought for a moment before responding. “You could say that, I suppose.”

Joe took a deep breath. “Well, whatever it is, good luck to ya, Alek. You ought to find something that means something, y’know? I should be off.” The Yankee Clipper waved goodbye to his countryman and finished the short trip back to his hotel without further incident. That man, “Hidell”, would eventually have his visa to Cuba declined, and would return home to Dallas, Texas, even more of a defeated, bitter man than he already was. It was mid October, and having returned home, Hidell read the paper over breakfast with his wife, Marina. In it, he learned a most interesting tidbit: President Kennedy and the First Lady would be making a stop in Dallas on his goodwill tour through the South, rallying some votes before the election next year. The President, First Lady, Governor Connally and his wife, would all be riding in an open top car as part of the motorcade.

“Harvey,” Marina asked him. “What are you reading about?”

This will teach them. Oswald grinned. Show them the error of their ways. Joltin’ Joe was right. This one ought to mean something. “Is that job at the Book Depository still open?”

On October 7th, 1963, President Kennedy signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union. Though not a complete end to the testing of Nuclear weapons across the globe, the treaty did manage to ban tests in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater, areas which the scientific community had confirmed could be especially vulnerable to radiation. If nothing else, it was a definite source of relief for a world still slightly on edge from the events of the previous October. Prominent Republicans including former President Eisenhower and his Vice President, Richard Nixon came out in support of Kennedy’s decision to sign the treaty, winning him additional popularity and support.


The next day, Kennedy also announced an agreement with the Soviets to open negotiations for the sale of American wheat. Though a Cold Warrior at heart, the President also possessed a great desire for peace. He believed that only through continued negotiation and engagement with the Soviets could cooler heads prevail in the “great twilight struggle” he described in his inaugural address.

On the domestic front, the President had even bigger plans. Deciding that his reelection campaign should be as much about the issues as it was about personality, especially when he had an even chance of squaring off against Barry Goldwater as he did Rockefeller, Kennedy called together his council of economic advisors into the Oval Office on November 21st, the day before a fateful trip to Dallas.

“Gentlemen,” The President began, leaning sternly against the resolute desk. “Today, as the Mrs. and I prepare to depart for Texas, I, like James K. Polk before me ask that this country to declare war. Not a war on Mexico to fulfill our manifest destiny, not a war on Germany and Japan to protect the flame of liberty abroad, but a war on the most detestable of domestic conditions. Gentlemen, today, I ask you to prepare a war on poverty. Get legislation ready, we’re marching up Capitol Hill to a fight next year, and I want to make sure we have plenty of ammunition. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes.” They all murmured, one after the other. “Thank you, Mr. President.”

As the dark suits trickled out of the room, one by one, the Attorney General approached his brother. “Jack, you and Jackie ready for the trip?”

The President sighed and stretched his aching back. “Ready as we will be, I guess. It’s still hard, Bobby, hard as hell. He was so beautiful, such a beautiful boy. To have him taken like that… in the blink of an eye.” Kennedy’s eyes threatened to fill with tears. “You know I haven’t reached for another woman since it happened? I’ve been good, Bobby, as good as I can be. And Jackie… she’s too good for me. I don’t deserve her.”

In a rare display of brotherly closeness, Bobby put his arms around his sibling. “I know Jack, I know. You can make it right, you know. You’re still young. You and Jackie love each other, I see it every time you two are together. You’re like a couple a kids, holding hands for the cameras!”

The President chuckled. “Still not as bad as you and Ethel. She pregnant again? Do you two ever stop fucking?”

Bobby released his brother and shook his head, laughing. “Stay strong, Mr. President. I have a feeling if you keep being good, keep trying to do right, Jackie will come around to you. There’s no understanding like being the survivors of mutual trauma. That’s the real shit.”

The President took a deep breath, wiped his eyes and patted his brother’s back. “Thanks, kid. I think I needed to hear that.” Tapping the Resolute Desk a few more times, Kennedy surveyed the Oval Office carefully. “I’ll be back soon, you hear? Don’t catch this place on fire while I’m gone or anything.”


Bobby nodded and turned to leave the room. “I’ll do my best. Goodbye, Jack”

JFK slid back into his seat and sighed once more. Beside the papers and the unread memos and the whisky glasses, a picture of Jackie and the kids stood proud above it all. Sweet Caroline and handsome little John. I’ve sure been blessed. Kennedy thought. Connally and Yarborough are so pissed at each other, I’ll be even more blessed if I come back from this trip alive!

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5: I Will Follow Him: The Republican Race Heats Up (August - November ‘63)

It was September 16th, 1963. Nelson Rockefeller sat at his cushy desk in the Governor’s mansion, one of his recently purchased paintings hanging just above him. The art was more than just a hobby for the Governor, it was a major part of his identity. His family fortune had long made him a connoisseur of the better things, and being a patron of the arts was the greatest pleasure of them all.


Across from the Governor sat Stu Spencer, Rockefeller’s campaign manager. Between them, a map of the United States, divided up by state and bearing tacks of five colors: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Each color corresponded with one of the major contenders for the GOP nomination: Blue for Smith, green for Rhodes, yellow for Romney, orange for Goldwater and red for Rockefeller. The purpose of the meeting? To set a strategy for Rockefeller’s campaign. It was still too early to actively seek votes, it would be uncouth to do so with the New Hampshire primary still half a year away, after all.

The Governor adjusted his boxy glasses and eyed the map with interest. “You really think we’ll do so well in New Hampshire?” He gestured to a large cluster of red pins sticking out of the Granite State. “I hired you to get me elected, not stroke my ego, remember.”

Stu grinned boyishly. “I know, Governor. Don’t worry, these aren’t my numbers, they’re Gallup’s. Recent poll they did up that way has you up several points on your competitors. Smith and Rhodes didn’t even make it out of single digits.” He rubbed the corner of the map between his fingers, clearly excited at the prospect. “We don’t want to jump the gun, sir. But the numbers are encouraging.”

“What about Goldwater?” Rockefeller asked, a little too nervously. “How’d he do in the poll?”

Spencer frowned and let go of the map. He pointed out a substantial amount of orange pins crowded throughout the state. “Better than we’d been hoping. It seems that the story about you and… Mrs. Rockefeller is still weighing on a lot of people.”

“Of course.” The Governor attempted to hide his fury, to no avail. “What is wrong with these people? Can’t they see that I’m the only real option, here? Why is it that a crazy fucker like Goldwater can talk about gutting Social Security, and dropping Nukes on half of Asia and still be seen as a legitimate candidate? No one bats an eye when he goes on his rants about ‘liberty being faced with extinction’ but I happen to get remarried and suddenly everyone and their mother is questioning my ability to lead?” Rockefeller’s right hand clenched into a fist. “Unbelievable.”

His campaign manager only nodded, solemnly. Hoping to change the subject and break the awkward silence that ensued, Spencer pulled his chair back and stood. “Coffee, sir?”

Rockefeller didn’t, couldn’t meet Spencer’s eyes. “Yeah, sure.” As the other man got up to make the brew, the Governor continued. “Do you have any other good news for me?”

The hint of a smile crept back onto Spencer’s face. “Indeed I do sir, more from New Hampshire. Governor Hugh Gregg has agreed to endorse you, and help with the ground game there. He says ‘I’ll do anything it takes to stop that bastard Goldwater from getting within a mile of the nomination. Your boss is the man for the job.’”

Relief passed over Rockefeller’s face, he needed Gregg’s endorsement, and many more if he was going to maintain his position as frontrunner. As the news of he and Happy’s marriage had faded somewhat from the public consciousness, it seemed like things were starting to look back up for the New Yorker. “That’s excellent, Stu, just great.” He took the mug Spencer offered him and downed a sip of the bitter black drink. “What they’re trying to do is terrible you know, the right wingers.” He ran his hands through his slicked hair and grimaced. “It disgusts me, what they want to do to this Grand Old Party of ours. They want to throw it to the crazies.”The complaint was an old one, and oft heard, so Rockefeller went no further.

Later that day, as he appeared alongside Gregg in Concord to accept his endorsement, Governor Rockefeller laid down the gauntlet. When asked by a reporter what he thought about the polls some newspapers were reporting, which had him behind Senator Goldwater by several points, Rockefeller confidently shrugged them off. “I’ve been counted out before, many New Yorkers have. I would remind the American people that I am confident in my ability to win, in the rightness of my policies over Senator Goldwater’s, and am humbly asking them to consider me when the time comes. As for Senator Goldwater, I would like to take this opportunity to formally challenge him to a debate on how our party can best address political issues moving forward.”

Posing with his shoulders back and a smile on his face, Rockefeller looked directly into the camera as he delivered the final line of his response. “The Senator claims that I am trying to ‘tarnish’ the great values of our nation. Let him come then, and debate with me on how to preserve those values, and carry them forward into the second half of the 20th century and beyond. I look forward to meeting with him, if he so chooses.”


Across the nation, at a campaign office in Portland, Oregon, Barry Goldwater fumed. “A Republican debate, ha!” He scoffed, surrounded by some of his dedicated staffers as they watched the conclusion of Rockefeller’s press conference on television. “He’s making a great ass of himself, I’ll give him that much.”

The Senator had not yet officially begun his campaign, and thus did not want to directly respond to Rockefeller’s challenge at all. Yet, he knew that a response would be expected by the press, and if he wanted to have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this thing and knocking Rockefeller out of the race, he couldn’t hide from the challenge. Still, Goldwater would not debate his rival.

“A debate would disrupt party unity.” was the eventual quote given to the papers later that day. “Senator Goldwater, at this time, is more concerned with performing his duties in the Senate, where he is a valiant defender of small government and personal liberty, than spending time gallivanting around the country playing politics.”


Goldwater wasn’t all anger and bluster, of course. Deep down, he looked forward to the general election, should he make it that far. President Kennedy was a personal friend of Goldwater’s, and the Arizona conservative wanted nothing more than a chance to duke it out with his political rival in an old fashioned, issues based,“whistle-stop” campaign across all fifty states in his private plane, flown into town by Goldwater himself, naturally.

Outlined in his book published in 1960, Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater’s political philosophy was very much at the right wing of the Republican party. Seen as the natural heir to the legacy of Robert A. Taft, of Ohio, the Arizonan felt that for too long, the “eastern establishment” of the GOP held too much sway, and muddied the nation’s politics by dragging his party closer and closer to the center. He had called President Eisenhower’s economic policy “a Dime Store New Deal”, and generally opposed Ike’s foreign policy, which he considered too soft on communism.

“My candidacy,” he explained to those close to him, when he decided he would run in ‘64, “Would offer the people of this country a choice, not an echo. A new direction away from taxation, and welfare statism, and weakness abroad.”

This split in the Republican party: conservatives, moderates, and liberals, remained a constant problem for the GOP. If they wanted to have a chance of unseating the popular Kennedy, they knew that eventually, they would need to unify around whichever candidate could gain the most support. It was this line of thinking that influenced former Vice President Richard Nixon to pick up his phone on the afternoon of November 7th, and call the candidate he felt most deserved his support.

“Yes hello, Governor? It’s Dick. I’ve thought about your offer, and talked it over long and hard with Pat and the kids. I’ve heard that you’re planning on officially beginning your campaign tomorrow, is that correct? Would you be willing to have me fly out there to speak for you when you do? I’ve listened to Goldwater, and with the way he’s been talking lately, there’s no way we’ll be able to take back the White House if he’s the nominee.”

On the other end of the line, Rockefeller’s face lit up like the Fourth of July. “That would please me tremendously, Dick. You’d be welcome to stay with Happy and I for a few days, if you wanted. We’re elated to finally get this show on the road.”

The next day, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller became the first Republican to officially declare his candidacy for President of the United States. The announcement came outside of the State Capitol in Albany. Alongside him, Richard Nixon, clean shaven and looking as professional as ever, seemed the perfect right hand. Nixon spoke briefly about his decision, heaping praise on the New Yorker and expressing his desire to see “responsible government” prevail the following November. As Nixon and Rockefeller shook hands for the cameras, and President Kennedy flew south to shore up support in Texas, a single message reverberated across the nation: election time was here again.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6: The End of the World: November 22nd, 1963

President Kennedy and the First Lady rose from bed early on the morning of Friday, November 22nd. Though reluctant to leave each other's’ embrace, both had busy days ahead of them, as each was painfully aware. The President gave a speech in a crowded square praising the city of Fort Worth for its burgeoning aviation industry, and a second at the Texas Hotel’s grand ballroom. The second of these was interrupted at the fifteen minute mark by the arrival of Mrs. Kennedy, who received a round of hearty applause. The President smiled warmly at her arrival. “My wonderful wife, ladies and gentlemen.”

As the speech was wrapping up, Roy Kellerman, the Secret Service agent in charge of the trip, was advised by Kenny O’Donnell that the Presidential limousine should keep its bubbletop on, as the weather reports predicted rain in Dallas during the procession through the city.


Press Secretary Mac Kilduff showed the First Couple a disturbing advertisement seen in The Dallas Morning News ironically headed “Welcome Mr. Kennedy to Dallas.” The ad morphed into a laundry list of complaints about the current administration, and blamed the President for many of the issues facing the world. Kennedy turned to the First Lady, gripping her hand tightly. “We’re heading into nut country today.”

At 11:38 AM, CST, the First Couple landed at Love Field in northwest Dallas aboard Air Force One. The cars for the Presidential motorcade had been lined up in a certain order earlier that morning. As he had been instructed, Agent Kellerman began to attach the bubble top to the back of the limousine. Through vexing winds and a steady drizzle of rain, reporters for local and national radio and television news arrived to catch the President as he and the First Lady made their way off of the plane. Still in the swing of their newfound closeness, Kennedy proved the gentleman, and was photographed holding an umbrella over Jackie as she made her way down to the car.

The First Couple would not be alone in the Presidential Limousine. Also in the car would be two secret service agents, one the driver, and the other in the front passenger seat; Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie would occupy the middle row of seats. President and First Lady Kennedy would take up the rear seats of the vehicle. As they filed into the automobile, the President cracked a joke about the rain, which nearly every weatherman in the country had failed to predict. The Texas Governor, no friend of the Kennedy administration despite his party affiliation, did not laugh, though his wife did. “Tough crowd.” The President whispered to Jackie, who hardly suppressed the chuckle which ensued. After the first couples posed for a picture in the car, Kellerman attached the bubble top.


Earlier that day, at 7:23 AM, across the city, Lee Harvey Oswald showed up for work at the Texas Book Depository, carrying an ungodly long, cumbersome object wrapped in paper packaging. When asked by co worker Buell Wesley Frazier what was in the packaging, Oswald simply shrugged the question off. “Just some curtain rods.” He says, dismissively. “Did I tell you about the time I met Joe DiMaggio?”


The motorcade departed Love Field at 11:45 AM, immediately setting a course for downtown Dallas. There, despite the less than ideal weather, nearly 150,000 people had gathered to see the President and First Lady as the limousine passed by. Kennedy, ever charming, did his best to remain animated and wave to the crowds through the confines of the car’s plastic bubble top. The onlookers and well wishers are a far cry from the critical, even threatening ad that the First Couple read earlier in the day.

At 12:29 PM, the Presidential motorcade entered Dealey Plaza after taking a 90 degree right turn from Main Street onto Houston Street. As they completed the turn, Nellie Connally turned to the President and grinned, gesturing to the thousands gathered beneath umbrellas and clutching their raincoats. “Mr. President,” she remarked. “You can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you.”


Having waited, rather impatiently, all day for the big moment, Oswald was ready. His “package of curtain rods” had been unfurled, revealing inside a 6.5x52mm Carcano Model 91/38 infantry rifle, with a telescopic sight. Italian made and ordered by Oswald through the mail under his alias of “Alek Hidell”, the rifle would be his tool for this job; the instrument of his vindication.


The former Marine sharpshooter rubbed his eyes and opened the sixth story window next to his hastily constructed sniper’s nest. “Fuck.” He whispered to himself. “Still raining. Oh well, shouldn’t make too much of a difference.”

The Presidential limousine came into view as it finished the turn from Main to Houston. Through his scope, Oswald could see the throng that had braved the weather, that had come out to see their “champion”. He scoffed and took a deep breath. They will never understand what I have come here to do. But perhaps their children may be able to. I shall be the Lenin of my age, or the Robespierre. I will be reviled in my own time, but history will forgive me, as it does all great men, all great revolutionaries.

The vehicle passed the Book Depository. The back of President Kennedy’s head began to line up with Oswald’s crosshairs. Oh Shit. The damn rain was starting to fog up the scope. Better do this quick, I’ll miss my chance. Oswald’s finger reached for the trigger, but his mind was as foggy as the sights on his weapon. He thought back to that trip to Mexico, meeting that baseball player, heard his words echo over and over again in his mind. "Do something that means something..." Oswald's arms trembled and his perfect shot grew shaky and uncertain.

On the ground, the President felt the squeeze of Mrs. Kennedy’s hand against his own. “What is it, Jackie?” He asked, his famous boyish grin spreading across his face.

“Come close.” She whispered, giddy. “I don’t want the bores in front to hear.”

The President leaned in toward his wife, intent on hearing what she had to say. Instead he heard what sounded at first like a motor bike backfiring in his other ear. Confused, he instinctively turned his eyes to the sky. A piece of the limousine’s bubble top flew inward, narrowly missing him and careening into the seat in front of him.

Before anyone could think, Mrs. Connally screamed, and a second shot was fired, its rapport suggesting the source to be the same as before. This time, the President felt a sharp, hot pain in his right shoulder. He knew in an instant that he’d been hit, even before the blood began to seep from the freshly made wound. The bullet seemed to have passed through him however, as in front of him, Governor Connally let out a grunt of pain just a second after the President felt his.

Not knowing what else to do, the President ducked, making himself as small as he could in the backseat of the limousine. By now, shrieks of terror were erupting from the crowds of people. Running away in a panic, many vacated the roadside, dropping their umbrellas to the grassy knoll as they sprinted to hopeful safety, away from the gunshots.

A clumsy third shot rang out in the plaza, but this one seemed to miss the Limousine completely, at least as far as the President could tell. Keeping his head low, he barked to the driver, his voice cold and hard as wrought iron. “Drive! To the nearest hospital as fast as you can!”

Following orders are something of a speciality for the secret service, and before long, the engine was gunned. The limousine gained speed and a moment later had vacated Dealey Plaza, making all possible speed for Parkland Hospital.

Kennedy, feeling intense pain, but also relief, wasted no time in sitting up and looking in his wife’s direction. “Jackie!” he cried, praying that she was unharmed.

Though sitting perfectly still and silent, the First Lady was unharmed. At first unable to speak, she threw her arms around her husband. “Oh, Jack!” She cried, tears beginning to form. “Are you alright? Did he get you?”

The President gently removed his hand from Jackie’s, now covered in sweat, and held down the wound on his shoulder. “I’m fine. I told you, absolute nut country.”

The First Lady, seeing the exit wound, removed her hat and held it over her husband’s hand. “Jack, I… I Love you so much.” She pulled him close and kissed him, harder and truer than she had since their wedding day. Still shaking, she reached out to Mrs. Connally. “Nellie, John! Are you alright?”

Nellie Connally did not respond right away, she was still reeling from what had happened. “Nellie!” The President called to her this time. “What’s going on up there?” He reached forward to try and get a better look and was appalled with what greeted him: a massive hole in the center of the Texas Governor’s chest. Kennedy took a deep breath and steeled himself. The ride to Parkland were the longest seven minutes of his life.


Back in Dealey Plaza, local police were swarming like hornets around a nest. Oswald, realizing that in his haze he had missed his date with destiny, wasted no time in getting the hell out of there. Cursing under his breath every step of the way, the would be assassin hid his Carcano rifle behind some boxes in the northwest corner of the Depository and swiftly made his way downstairs to the second floor of the building. As he reached the second floor lunchroom, Oswald walked with purpose but with a face completely void of emotion. This would serve him well.

“Put your hands in the air!” A motorcycle cop - Oswald could tell by the helmet - pointed a .38 revolver at him and held it steady. “Who the hell is this one?” The cop, Baker, according to his nametag, asked Roy Truly, the superintendent of the building, Oswald’s boss.

“He’s Harvey!” Truly replied. “Let him go, he’s one of mine!”

No more words were needed. The cop lowered his gun and the pair continued their ascent up to the sixth floor, where witnesses reported hearing gunshots coming from. Oswald saw his chance and took it, walking out the front door of the Depository at 12:33 PM.

Following a convoluted path back to the rooming house where he stayed during the week, the shooter gathered what cash he had on hand, the .38 Smith and Wesson revolver he’d ordered along with the rifle through the mail, and a suitcase full of spare clothing. Charging out into the street, he flagged down an approaching truck, a 1950 Ford F-6 and whipped out the pistol at the driver. “It’s not worth your life pal, is it?”


The driver agreed and immediately left the truck, darting down the road as soon as he saw the gun. Once behind the driver’s seat, Oswald got it into gear, reversed, and sped as quickly as he could toward the city limits. Before long, the police would be closing Dallas, and Oswald had no intention of being caught. Not until I do something with meaning. The shooter’s eyes were wide, and full of rage. Not until I go down in history.

At 1:13 PM CST, acting White House Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff entered a nurses’ classroom at Parkland Hospital filled with press reporters. His hair tousled and soaked with sweat, Kilduff gave the first official announcement on what had occurred. “President John F. Kennedy was the intended target of an assassination attempt this afternoon in Dallas. The President was shot in the shoulder. He is undergoing surgery at the moment in what the doctors are calling severe, but not critical condition. He is expected to not only survive this attempt on his life, but to make a full recovery. Governor John Connally was not so lucky. The bullet which struck President Kennedy’s shoulder passed through the President’s arm and pierced Governor Connally’s heart, rendering him dead almost instantly. I have no further details regarding the assassination of the Governor, but will pass on information as soon as it is made available.”


Rest in Peace: Governor John Bowden Connally Jr.

February 27th, 1917 - November 22nd, 1963

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Chapter 7

Chapter 7: You’ll Never Walk Alone: Nov. 22nd - December 31st, 1963

President Kennedy was discharged from Parkland Hospital two days after having been admitted. His shoulder was damaged, but not destroyed, and though he would suffer pain and endure a rather cumbersome cast while his arm recovered from the surgery, he was otherwise given a clean bill of health. The day of the shooting, the President and First Lady refused to be out of each other’s presence until President Kennedy was eventually forced into the operating room. Reporters captured images of the First Lady comforting Nellie Connally, and Vice President Johnson seated beside the pair, the large, heavy features of his face hidden behind his hands in sorrow.


The nation heard word of the assassination attempt primarily from CBS’ Walter Cronkite, called “the most trusted man in America.” Though reports were slow going at first, the American people, once they learned what had happened to their leader in Dallas, became shocked, horrified, and outraged. An outpouring of emotion and support for the President and his family followed, boosting Kennedy’s approval ratings well into the 70s, or even 80s, depending on the poll one examined.


After stealing the Ford F-6, Lee Harvey Oswald made a beeline for the city limit. Driving recklessly, well over the speed limit and rarely sticking to the proper lane, the assassin soon had a deputy of the Dallas police on his tail, trailing behind on a motorcycle. Desperate as he was to avoid capture, Oswald attempted a risky maneuver. Leaving only one hand on the wheel, the former Marine reached for his Smith and Wesson revolver, turned over his left shoulder and fired four rounds at the policeman on his tail. Despite his velocity, and the challenge of driving while simultaneously firing, Oswald was able to hit the officer twice in the chest, causing the bike to swerve and crash into a nearby telephone pole. No longer pursued, Oswald gunned the gas and managed to make it out of the city before it was completely closed off.

Unfortunately for Oswald, however, he had murdered an officer of the law, a Deputy Paul Dana, in front of some thirty seven onlookers and witnesses. They quickly gave their testimonies to the authorities, and the trail got a little bit warmer.

Within a few hours, the FBI and Dallas Police were able to confirm that the man behind the slaying of Deputy Dana was also their shooter from the book depository. Lee Harvey Oswald, an unassuming, quiet man who, by all accounts was a dependable, hard working guy, had tried to murder the President of the United States, and had succeeded in killing the Governor of Texas. The Police found his rifle hidden in the sixth floor’s northwest corner shortly after Officer Baker let Oswald go and walk right out the front door. Warrants went out for Oswald’s arrest, and the Texas Rangers were called up to aid in the investigation.

Preston Smith, who had just been sworn in as the new Governor of Texas appeared on national television to inform the American people on what was being done to catch the killer. At the end of his interview, Smith turned to the camera to address Oswald directly, saying: “Wherever you are, you son of a gun, know this: we will find you, and we will bring you to justice.”


Having escaped capture for the time being, Oswald returned to the Ruth Paine home in nearby Irving. There, he collected his wife Marina, daughters June and Audrey, and loaded everything he could carry into his stolen truck. Hoping to avoid capture, Oswald would head for Florida, and from there seek to attain asylum in Cuba. History is waiting for me. He kept saying to himself. There will be another chance, just wait and see.

Thankfully, Oswald never had a chance to test the validity of his claim on destiny. Later, on the evening of the 22nd, just hours after Oswald returned to Irving, the house was surrounded by Federal Agents. The killer attempted to struggle and escape on his own, even taking another shot at one of the Agents as they brought him to the ground, all to no avail. Oswald was captured, alive. The nation, at least, would be able to breath a second sigh of relief. The man who tried to kill their President was in custody.


A hero’s welcome awaited President Kennedy as he and the First Lady returned to Washington. A crowd of hundreds of thousands gathered around Andrews Air Force Base to salute the Leader of the Free World back from his near scrape with death. The people cheered for him and reporters flashed photographs as the First Couple descended the steps of Air Force One.


In typical fashion for Kennedy, he joked to his brothers, Bobby and Ted, about his recent bump in the polls, when they met him on the tarmac. “Well now, this is just what we needed. Maybe I ought to get shot at more often.” A politician and fighter to his core, the President knew that the attempt on his life, and the sympathy which resulted would work wonders not just in the temporary popularity it garnered for him, but also in the fights on Capitol Hill he was walking back to.

Though this shooter, Oswald, was yet to be proven guilty, and the police did not yet know what had motivated him, the circumstances surrounding the assassination attempt seemed to strengthen the rightness of the President’s crusade for civil rights. Oswald, a white southerner, had tried to kill the President only months after Kennedy had announced his administration’s commitment to seeing comprehensive Civil Rights legislation passed through Congress. If there was a worse situation for the pro-segregation forces to find themselves in, Kennedy did not know what it was.

Four days after the attempt on his life, on November 27th, the President spoke before a joint session of Congress to thunderous applause. Kennedy waited nearly twenty minutes as cheers and triumphant cries drowned out his words before finally being allowed to speak. The speech served as a forceful and impassioned call to arms from the wounded, but resolute President. He demanded that Congress act decisively on Civil Rights and the new initiative of economic programs designed to ease the suffering of Americans across the nation: the War on Poverty. “Act not out of sympathy for me, but in memory of Governor Connally.” The President said. “Act today because our nation, the greatest and freest in the history of the world, deserves to see us toil toward the fulfillment of its most sacred promise: that all men are created equal.”


Not a month later, Congress passed The Clean Air Act, fulfilling a major part of President Kennedy’s “New Frontier” agenda: protecting the environment. The President signed the act into law, and turned the pressure up on Congress to work hard on Civil Rights as they left for their Christmas recess. In a private conversation with his brother, Bobby, Kennedy revealed his intention to use his “Bully Pulpit” to twist the arms of as many Congressmen and Senators as they needed to pass the Civil Rights Act. The President said: “They’ll pass the bill, I swear to God they will. The public, bless them, are firmly behind us. If anyone’s on the fence and they don’t want to risk drawing the ire of the American people, they will vote for it.”

Bobby was less confident, but promised to leverage any influence he could on the Hill toward getting the thing through. Ted would work tirelessly in the Senate alongside his brothers as well. JFK was right to declare that the battle for Civil Rights would be the defining fight of his Presidency, and indeed, the defining fight of the decade, but luckily for the President, he had backup from the other side of the aisle.

While speaking at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Nelson Rockefeller not only wished President Kennedy “a swift recovery from his injuries”, but also gave the Civil Rights Act his “full and unconditional support.” Rockefeller, along with the liberal and moderate wings of the Republican Party, were supportive of the legislation, and hoped to see it passed “with all due speed, seeing as it is long overdue.” Margaret Chase Smith and George Romney also spoke out in favor of the bill, and congratulated the President on his strong moral stance on the issue. Of the GOP candidates, only Senator Goldwater stood in opposition to the Civil Rights Act.

Citing issues with the legal implications of the bill, particularly its constitutionality in his own view, Goldwater sent shockwaves throughout the nation when he became the first Presidential candidate to openly oppose the law. The stance, while winning Goldwater support among conservatives, and especially with whites in the south, alienated African American communities, and other, more urban constituencies of the Republican Party. The black community’s reaction to Barry Goldwater was best summarized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s response when asked about who he would be voting for next November: “A vote for Senator Goldwater would be a vote for Jim Crow.”


Taking a much needed break to recover from his injury and prepare for the battle looming ahead on the Civil Rights Act, President Kennedy, the First Lady, and their two children departed Washington to spend Christmas with Bobby, Ethel, Ted, and the rest of the Kennedy clan at the Family estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

On Christmas Eve, after Caroline and John Jr. had been put to bed, and the sun had long since passed over the horizon, Jack and Jackie sat together on the sofa, holding hands. They had seen much over the last year, from a promise to the world that America would go to the Moon, to the death of their son, Patrick, to nearly losing Jack to an assassin’s bullet. In the dimly lit living room of their cabin, the fireplace causing light to flicker and dance off the Christmas Tree, the President leaned in close and kissed his wife on the cheek. He had taken Bobby’s words to him before the Dallas trip to heart. There was still time for he and Jackie. There was no reason they had to be married and hate each other. He did not have to continue to be his father’s son and live his philandering lifestyle. There was love in their marriage. Real, hard earned love had bloomed between the two and grown stronger since the attempt on Jack’s life.

That night, as the world awaited the coming of its savior, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Kennedy nee Bouvier renewed their commitment to each other and Jack promised to remain faithful to her, for the rest of their days. It would not be an easy promise to keep for the sex addicted President, but it was one he intended to abide by. “God has given me a second chance.” He said to Jackie that night, in half a whisper. “Let me try to prove to him that I deserve it.”


“You do deserve it, Jack.” Jackie held him close. “We’ll get through it together. One step at a time.”

In all the wars President Kennedy would be forced to fight in the coming days, weeks, months, and years; the First Lady would make sure that he never walked into battle alone.

Thank you both! I really appreciate it :) Glad to hear you're enjoying the TL! I think updates will probably follow a schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday for the foreseeable future. If there are any changes, I'll make sure to post about it.
Pop Culture 1963

Special Update! Pop Culture Highlights from 1963

In the interest of keeping this timeline fresh and catering to some of my interests outside of politics, a short update will be entered at the end of each year to call attention to the major goings on of pop culture around the world. What defines “major”, I realize is fairly arbitrary, but I’ll do my best to report on a variety of subjects. If you are ever interested in what a certain figure is doing in this timeline, or what the fate of a particular subject may be, feel free to let me know!

Biggest Hit songs of 1963:

“Ring of Fire” - Johnny Cash

“Surfin’ USA” - the Beach Boys

“The End of the World” - Skeeter Davis

“Blowin’ in the Wind” - Peter, Paul, and Mary

“If I Had a Hammer” - Trini Lopez

Other News in Music:

March 22nd, 1963 - Liverpool based Rock group, The Beatles release their first LP in the UK. Entitled Please, Please Me, the record is a smash hit, and sets the world stage for Beatlemania, a craze surrounding the shaggy haired youngsters which will eventually consume America, Japan, and the rest of the world.


May 27th, 1963 - The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is released in the United States. The folk singer-songwriter’s second and most influential studio album, Freewheelin’ features the lead single “Blowin’ in the Wind”, which serves to increase Dylan’s burgeoning popularity and scores a hit for both he and pop folk trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary.

June 7th, 1963 - The Rolling Stones release their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Route 66.” The song peaks at number 21 in the UK.

Throughout the year - Thanks to their television specials, appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, and massive record sales, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, world renowned celtic folk singers and a huge inspiration for Bob Dylan, become known as “the Four Most Famous Irishmen in the world.” They are invited to the White House by President Kennedy to perform and outsell even the King of Rock N Roll, Elvis Presley, in Ireland.


October 16th, 1963 - The Berliner Philharmonie concert hall opens in Berlin, just west of the infamous wall.

Biggest Films of 1963:

The Birds - Horror/Suspense. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels. Hedren goes on to win a Golden Globe award for her performance. Today considered one of the greatest horror films of all time.


Cleopatra - Epic historical. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, starring Elizabeth Taylor as the titular Pharaoh and her husband Richard Burton as Mark Antony. The most expensive film ever made to that point, the picture nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox. Still, the film would win four Academy Awards and be the highest grossing picture of the year.


Charade - Romantic Comedy/Suspense. Directed by Stanley Dolan and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Called “the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made”, Charade is considered a pleasantly surprising bit of fun.

From Russia With Love - Second James Bond/007 Film. Directed by Terence Young and starring Sean Connery.

Something's Got to Give - Screwball Comedy. Starring Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin. Directed by George Cukor for 20th Century Fox.

Everyone’s Favorite Shows in 1963:

The Twilight Zone

The Andy Griffith Show

The Ed Sullivan Show

Dr. Who
- Debuted in the UK on the BBC this year.

Events in Television - 1963:

April 11th - The television remote control is authorized by the FCC.

September 16th - The Outer Limits, a Science Fiction anthology often compared to The Twilight Zone, but unique in its darker tone and visual style, premieres to American audiences.


November 22nd - The same day that President Kennedy is shot in Dallas, the pilot episode for a new sitcom, Gilligan’s Island is filmed in Los Angeles. The show will go on to become one of the most iconic and enduring comedies ever to grace television.


December 7 – Instant Replay is used for the first time during the live transmission of the Army Navy Game by its inventor, director, Tony Verna.

Throughout - For the first time, most Americans say that they get more of their news from television than newspapers.


1963 in Sport:

AFL Championship Game: Boston Patriots defeat the San Diego Chargers 51 - 10.


NFL Championship Game: Chicago Bears defeat the New York Giants 14 - 10.


World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the New York Yankees 4 games to 0. Future hall of fame pitcher Sandy Koufax is named World Series MVP.


NBA Finals: Boston Celtics win four games to two over the Los Angeles Lakers.


Stanley Cup: Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to 1.


Time Magazine’s Person of the Year: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Hey, I'm loving the TL, but I think you need to fix the Treadmarks. they are a bit screwy.

Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying the TL. I apologize for the Threadmarks :p I'm still new to the site and am learning the ropes. I've just tried reordering them, let me know if I've made it any easier to navigate.
Marilyn Monroe in the Tippi Hedren role in the Birds...interesting...butterflies are already starting to flap...

My favorite story from the Birds is Tippi Hedren's asking Alfred Hitchcock why she'd go up to an attic full of birds. His reply: "Your salary."