ST. MARYS – A crowd of nearly 100 people gathered for RoseMarie Terenzio's "Fairy Tale Interrupted" book signing on Friday evening at the St. Marys Public Library, with all proceeds from book sales benefitting the library.
The event marked the kickoff of the library's 100th anniversary, which is being celebrated in July. In May the library plans to roll out their new e-book program as well, according to Scarlette Corbin, library executive director.
The New York Times best-selling book has a special tie to St. Marys, as Terenzio completed it while sitting on a local back porch at the home of her agent, St. Marys native Steven Troha. Following a brief introduction by Corbin, area resident and author John Schlimm posed several initial questions to Terenzio about her book.
As the former personal assistant to John F. Kennedy Jr. for five years, Terenzio turned down several offers to write a book about her experiences with Kennedy and his wife Carolyn Bessette following their deaths in July 1999.
She said Troha told her she had an amazing story to tell, but never pressured her to write the book.
"I think that made me obviously trust him and he helped me throughout the whole process," Terenzio said, referencing numerous panicked phone calls she made telling him she wasn't going to write the book and assistance he gave in helping her shape the story and understanding what the story was.
During a question-and-answer session, several attendees inquired about the Kennedy family dynamics. Terenzio said her relationship with Kennedy's sister Caroline involved speaking with her on a regular basis and seeing her once or twice a month. She described Caroline as very smart, exhibiting a "wicked, dry sense of humor" and often making light of herself, her family and their fame. Kennedy's relationship with his extended family, particularly his cousins, was a very close one, according to Terenzio. Despite them not seeing each other very often, except for at events, the cousins frequently spoke by phone.
In discussing Kennedy's possible political career, Terenzio explained that he was approached to run for the vacant New York U.S. Senate seat and while he contemplated the idea, he bowed out when Hillary Clinton chose to seek the position.
"As far as running for office went, it was probably not something he would have done until "George" (magazine) was a success," she said. "I think he would have been governor. I don't think we would have had a Governor Spitzer, is my guess."
Terenzio added the idea to start "George," a publication which blended politics and pop culture, was a natural progression for Kennedy as he always had an interest in media. Kennedy's access to celebrities and political figures was seen as an added bonus to the magazine.
"There was nothing extravagant about his lifestyle," Terenzio said of Kennedy.
She added that other than the occasional first-class seats on airplanes, a larger house and two family trips a year, the Kennedys did not live much differently than the average family, which she found to be surprising.
According to Terenzio, Kennedy often took the subway to work because it was faster and because he often became nauseous in the backseat of taxi cabs, rather than the media portraying this as Kennedy's attempt at trying to appear that he was normal.
Terenzio said she often quipped to Kennedy that he didn't have any famous friends; rather, most of them consisted of his college friends. While Kennedy could have very well chosen to make himself inaccessible, she said, he opted not to do so.
"He didn't enjoy that kind of lifestyle. I think he enjoyed himself much more when he was pretty down-to-earth," Terenzio said.
She noted the Kennedy family also insisted on paying for everything, including baseball and concert tickets. She described how Bessette would inform designers, who often sent her complimentary pieces, that she wanted to pay for them or would send them back.
Those interested in purchasing a copy of the book may do so by contacting the library at 834-6141.
Pick up a copy of the Monday, April 30, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.