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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Camelot Was Built On Confluence

Now JFK and Jackie must be one of history's most famous couples. The era in which they were the President and First Lady was referred to as Camelot. The stuff of legend. When elected JFK dedicated himself to nobly fighting the common enemies of mankind:- tyranny, poverty, disease and war. But how did the Camelot tag come about? It was not till after his death that the association happened and the person who began it was his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy. By ironic co-incidence two days before the asassination, there was a ball at the White House and Camelot was played. She quoted the lines as favorites of the President and said- "There will be great Presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot".

Yes, but what has this to do with 'Confluence' I hear you ask? Well just about everything is my immodest reply! Let's do some basic checking shall we? John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29, 1917 and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born July 28, 1929. Their birth years were twelve years apart, which you should know by now makes them 'Confluent' for 10 months out of a possible 12 in every 'Life Cycles' 'significant year' (ie. 19/24/31/36 and 43 in their case). That's the closest match I have presented to you so far. Now we all know they had relationship difficulties, due mostly to JFK's philandering and Jackie's overspending, so how exactly did their relationship work and why could it be considered so special?

In a forgotten corner of her correspondence Jackie wrote a note to a Newport friend, that in 1949 (as a College Junior) she had just met Jack Kennedy. This was in their combined 'Years of Broken Pathways' (at 19/31). So they met when 'Confluence' was present. Her description of him was:- "a charming, confident,and handsome but insistent flirt, to whom she responded with indifferent amusement, yet absolute attraction." As a blueprint for their marriage it was very close. Even though they went on separate journeys for a while, it was again in their combined 'Years of Revolution' at 24 and 36 that they married in Sept. 1953, in the society wedding of the year. So here was 'Confluence' again when they marked the transition to marriage.

Jack was quoted as saying:- "I'd known a lot of attractive women in my lifetime....but of them all there was only one I could have married...and I married her." They also had to immediately face Jack's severe back pain, caused through a war injury, that was to result in two potentially life-threatening operations not long after. 'Confluence' can sometimes mean facing mutual dramas, be they physical danger or emotional hurt. Even though they shared a close and supportive family life, his affairs took their toll. There is no more poignant quote about their relationship than this one:- "Jackie was a woman full of love and full of hurt. They were two private people, two cocoons married to each other, trying to reach into each other. I think that she felt that he, being so much older than her, that it was up to him to reach more. But he couldn't."

However things took another and more positive turn in their next period of 'Confluence'. When was this? I'd like you to actually tell me. OK, how's it done I hear some ask? Just add seven years to the last period of 'Confluence' (in 1953/4), because the 'Year of Broken Pathways', at either 31 or 43, is seven years later than their last combined 'Year of Revolution'. So that makes it August, 1960 to end May, 1961. No prizes for guessing what their combined challenge was at this point. Jackie, even though pregnant, had helped in the campaign and her knowledge of languages was beneficial. It was a narrow victory and she was one of the youngest First Ladies.

It has been written of this time that "they fell in love all over again" as they had to face both the campaign and gaining respect in the top job. It was said after a year in the White House:-"the dynamic of their relationship was changing and there was a more consistent pattern of expression of mutual love and devotion." There was also no doubt that Jack needed her comfort and advice especially after the Bay of Pigs.

I'm going to let Jackie have the last word, because nothing sums up the power of 'Confluence' like this does. Everything about their relationship was the veritable definition of what I mean by the term 'Confluence'. If your relationship has it, as well as mutual respect and admiration and the capacity to forgive, then you are truly blessed.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 Jackie said :- "If anything happens, we're all going to stay right here with you," she remembers telling her husband. "Even if there's not room in the bomb shelter in the White House. ... I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do, too – than live without you." May the cycles always bring you good fortune.


  1. Hey, Neil! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Neil, this is just a wonderful post, and I got so much out of it.

    We have left Tucson after 14 years and now live in coastal Georgia. Today I baited my crab traps and caught enough blue crabs for a wonderful dinner for me and Rod. This is our next "Life Cycle."

    Hope your tennis game is thriving!!

    1. Hi Judie,
      I love crab even though it's a bit messy to eat. I hope your next life chapter is both productive and enjoyable.
      Yes, our Friday tennis group is still going strong and I've just finished another wonderful morning playing.

  2. Thats one of the greatest stories ever told.

    1. Hi Angie,
      Yes Angie, it's one of my personal favorites and I do love first person quotes.

  3. Neil, another entertaining post. It's charming of you to preserve the sentimental memory of Camelot, though I understand the behind the scenes reality was quite different.

    1. Hi Marty.
      You are right of course, but the poignancy of their romance is unquestioned. One quote I didn't put in happened after Jack couldn't stop his womanizing when he was in the White House. Someone said:- "You couldn't change. Too bad you found your true love too late."

  4. Neil thanks I loved this entry…and Jackie of course ..I am very sentimental and it brought me around to my childhood…and the childhood of our nation..xoxoxo

  5. Hi Liane,
    Yes it was part of my childhood too and I enjoyed the researching of it. No-one alive during this era will ever forget it,,,,,,,,so Jackie was right I guess, about being only one Camelot.

  6. Neil, I am delighted you chose JKF and Jackie Kennedy (I am a huge fan of Jackie!) and what a great Confluence example. Those two were destined to be together. I was young but I remember those years. JFK was inaugurated president on my 12th birthday. Reading this, I can easily see how Camelot was built on Confluence. Having that kind of love story, despite the challenges, would be awesome. That was a very poignant quote from Jackie at the end. Great post!

  7. Hi Lil,
    I am so pleased to receive your wonderful comment. I think our ages are pretty similar actually and it was an era I'll never forget. By saying you have no trouble recognising how 'Confluence' applies, is exactly what I hope other readers may see for themselves. 'Life Cycles' is really 'falling off a log easy' once you get properly started.

  8. A great article indeed and a very detailed, realistic and superb analysis of the current and past scenarios.
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