Book Review: Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath by Mimi Alford
This article first published at Blogcritics.org http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-once-upon-a-secret/page-1/
A bestseller but not tell all has been added to the Kennedy collection of nouveau books. This time it is Mimi Alford’s turn to crank out a bestseller about an unzipped 35th Mr. President. Yet there are no steamy secrets here. In just under 200 pages the author shows up with a polished voice telling a credible story you can take to the bank. Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath is her book.
What makes her book compelling and unsatisfactory at the same time is that Mimi, despite telling of her affair with Jack Kennedy, does not spill the proverbial beans. There is little salacious detail of their love affair. She does recount how it happened in the first place with a simple trip to the White House to interview a fellow Miss Porter socialite and graduate ala Jackie Kennedy (they never met) and her press secretary. It was on this visit that she was invited to apply for a White House internship.
Mimi Beardsley came from a middle class family who sent her to the local Country Day school, Miss Porters, and then to Wheaton College. She went into the world with the proper pedigree along with tall, slim girlish looks that were conferred by her family. However, it was the pretty, perfect WASP Miss Mimi who got herself into the White House and Jack’s bedroom.
In the first few chapters Alford discloses how she hid her face from her coworkers. Not exactly out of shame or remorse, but because she did not want to raise their jealousy or call attention to herself because she had jumped ahead of the line!
On page 45 she writes: “This special access would hardly have endeared me to my office mates. It was the rare employee inside the White House who did not gauge her status by how much contact she had with the President — or even if the President knew her name…So I kept my head down and my mouth shut and went about my work as if nothing had happened.”
Mrs. Alford got that and more than she applied for. I think she was most surprised at how casually the events of her long affair with Jack unfolded and maintained itself. He even called her at Wheaton College using the pseudonym “Michael Carter.” Jack took her on many of his official visits when Jackie did not accompany him.
The most surprising thing, if there are any surprises here, is that she often slept in the same bed with the president and that travel was arranged by Dave Powers from commercial flights to Air Force One flights.
What makes this mini memoir more believable is that Mimi contends that Jack never kissed her on the lips for any reason at any time and never told her that he loved her. There are no photographs in the book of him or her. He gave her presents of vacations, money and a gold pin. In his way Jack made it known that he cared for her, about her and enjoyed her company. And in case you’re wondering what ended their 18-month affair — she fell in love and got engaged.
Every woman needs a husband was more than a cliché with Miss Porter-trained young ladies in the 1960s. They invented the debutante cum future bride on display. It was destiny to find a suitable man, introduce him to the family and then go shopping for the engagement ring.
Mimi was no different. If Jack was crushed at the news he didn’t show it. Instead he began slowly pulling away that only in hindsight did Mimi Beardsley recognize what had happened.
Mimi married Tony after a whirlwind affair and dating cycle that nearly ended when she told him, upon JFK’s assassination, that she had conducted a secret affair with him. It was a sexual affair she explains but really hopes that outsiders believe it was also an affair of the heart. It was an affair of the heart in that a prolonged sexual affair with a married man can create lust and unbidden expectancy and dependence on sex with that particular person. In fact you might say that such an affair is not personal, not really. This affair was about Jack and his ability to pluck from the tree of life the woman of his type and dreams.
If Mimi had not become engaged, the affair along with maybe five others Jack was conducting would have continued, I believe, until his death in Dallas.
The man who made it all possible was a Kennedy insider: Dave Powers. As Mrs. Alford in her television interview stated she held this secret for 50 years and needed to unburden herself. One of the most difficult items on her tell-all list was her consent to perform oral sex on Dave Powers in the White House pool (now press room) – the same Dave Powers who acted as the go-between for Mimi and many others.
Mimi had an affair with Jack; married Tony but it ended in divorce; at age 63 married Richard Alford who read her story and her secret in the Daily News and wrote her a letter. She had just turned 60. She filed the letter away and instead enlisted a high-profile dating service. When that didn’t pan out on a whim she responded to Dick Alford’s letter. He wrote back and they made a date upon his return from a two-week trip. They are happily married now.
Like most women Mimi got it right finally and learned many lessons along the way. Especially the one that is often brushed off as too simplistic—there are no mistakes in life.
- Mimi Alford on affair with JFK: ‘I was swept away’ (today.msnbc.msn.com)
- Mimi Alford comes clean as Kennedy teen mistress (heloise8.wordpress.com)
- JFK took the virginity of White House intern Mimi Alford, 19 (dailymail.co.uk)
there are comments and video at this link where JFK gives his historic speech.
Rick you’re no JFK.
- Rick Santorum expels JFK, declares church-state separation ‘makes me want to throw up’ (dailykos.com)
- Santo Hits WMR, BHO, JFK (thepage.time.com)
- Santorum Explains Why JFK’s Speech On Religion & Politics Makes Him Want To ‘Throw Up’ (mediaite.com)
The same story sex sells. I find the story plausible because jack needed to debase women because of maternal neglect. This led to untreated mental illness like depression. For what it’s worth the woman could have said hell no. She didn’t why? I don’t buy abuse of power. She will suffer for these sordid tales.
Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath on sale at Amazon at #28 in books already. JFK does sell well.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/08/mimi-alford-interview-jfk-intern-affair_n_1264144.html In case you missed the interview on Rock Center.
You can see the 68 YO woman talk about it at the link. There is also a pic of her as an intern. She went for a swim in the pool then for a sexual swim in Jackie’s bedroom! Wow. I think JFK was suffering from depression because he raised himself. His mother was neglectful and his father was pretty much absent but influential in his affairs. Mimi is right to come clean after 40 years because secrets are deadly. She speaks candidly. And what else has written a book about the affair. “Alford says that she lost her virginity to the president in the first lady’s bedroom. In her soon to be released memoir, Once Upon a Secret My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath…”
By Jessica Hopper
Mimi Alford is speaking publicly for the first time about the secret she’s held for half a century. Alford claims that she had an 18-month-long affair with President John F. Kennedy when she was a White House intern.
“I think when you keep a secret and when you keep silent about something, you do it because you think it’s keeping you safe, but in fact, it’s deadly,” Alford told Meredith Vieira in an exclusive interview scheduled to air Wednesday on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.
In 1962, a 19-year-old Alford spent her summer in Washington, D.C., interning in the White House press office. She had just finished her freshman year at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Four days into her internship, Alford claims that JFK aide, David Powers, invited her to go swimming in the White House pool. Alford was surprised when the 45-year-old president joined her and two others in the pool.
- JFK’s teen mistress in explosive new tell-all (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- JFK did have teen mistress ….. (annozijlstra.wordpress.com)
- JFK took the virginity of White House intern Mimi Alford, 19 (dailymail.co.uk)
- Memoir: I was JFK’s teenage mistress (smh.com.au)
- Another President Who Had An Affair With An Intern (alan.com)
- Generation X – Kiss Me Deadly (johnnyjohnsen.com)
- New Tell-All From Alleged JFK Teen Mistress Speaks Of Drug Use, And Pressure To Give The President’s Advisers Oral Sex (businessinsider.com)
- JFK Teen Lover Reveals Torrid Details In New Tell-All Book (inquisitr.com)
There are excerpts at this site but it is also for sale for 500K.
members to Japan.
“He fell face down in back seat of his car, blood was on his head, Mrs. Kennedy cried ‘Oh no’ and tried to hold up his head.”
Elsewhere on the never-before-heard transmissions, newly-sworn in President Johnson and his wife, Ladybird, try to console Kennedy’s mother.
“Gonna put Mrs. Rose Kennedy on the line now,” a voice is heard saying.
“I wish to God there was something that I could do,” Johnson says. “And I wanted to tell you that we are grieving with you.”
Thank you very much,” Rose Kennedy replies. “Thank you very much. I know you loved Jack. And he loved you.”
Then Johnson’s wife, Ladybird, comes on the line.
“Mrs. Kennedy,” she says. “We just wanted to — we feel like we’ve lost…”
“Thank you very much,” Rose Kennedy replies.
This is interesting because His mother NEVER said that she loved her son but that she knew they loved him! Can’t win for losing with a mother like that.
- Chilling new audio tape from day JFK shot (cbsnews.com)
- New JFK Tapes Released by Kennedy Library (heloise8.wordpress.com)
- Clips From Last Night: Douglas Brinkley and Nathan Raab discuss the revealing new JFK tape (piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com)
- Newly discovered JFK assassination tapes made public (thehill.com)
- Kennedy house donated (politico.com)
President Kennedy recorded more than 260 hours of his life in the White House, unbeknownst to even his top aides. Now the Kennedy library has released (free download) the final 45 hours of the archives, providing a rare window into Kennedy’s life in the three months before his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The Daily Beast rounds up the most interesting excerpts.
1. Fretting Over Income Inequality
In a conversation with aides that could come straight out of a modern White House, Kennedy worries about income inequality and the difficulty of appealing to young voters. “What is it we have to sell them?” Kennedy asks an aide in November 1963. “We hope we have to sell them prosperity, but for the average guy the prosperity is nil. He’s not unprosperous but he’s not very prosperous; he’s not going to make out well off. And the people who really are well off hate our guts.”
- 45 Hours Of JFK Audio Tapes To Be Released Today (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- JFK Library To Release Last Of Secret Tapes (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- Kennedy Library Releases Private Tapes Of JFK’s Final Days (boston.cbslocal.com)
You know it’s articles like this one that would have Jack turning over in his grave. That is if he was in his grave. Apparently he is not dead according to this jerk: I already know.
THE cult of John F. Kennedy has the resilience of a horror-movie villain. No matter how many times the myths of Camelot are seemingly interred by history, they always come shambling back to life — in another television special, another Vanity Fair cover story, another hardcover hagiography.By: Ross Douthat
Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
It’s fitting, then, that the latest exhumation comes courtesy of Stephen King himself. King serves a dual role in our popular culture: He’s at once the master of horror and the bard of the baby boom, writing his way through the twilit borderlands where the experiences of the post-World War II generation are stalked by nightmares and shadowed by metaphysical dread.
In this landscape, the death of J.F.K. looms up like the Overlook Hotel. The gauzy fantasy of the Kennedy White House endures precisely because the reality of the assassination still feels like a primal catastrophe — an irruption of inexplicable evil as horrifying as any supernatural bogeyman.
At its best, King’s new Kennedy assassination novel, “11/22/63” — which sends its protagonist back in time to change that November day’s events — offers an implicit critique of this generational obsession. (I am not giving much away when I reveal that the time-traveling hero does not succeed in freeing ’60s America from the cruel snares of history.)
11/22/63 new novel by Stephan King at Amazon
If you squint real hard you just might think that Stephan King has stumbled into the rebirth zone! That’s my take on his new novel. In fact I am going to post a link to it. It might be worth a read and I don’t read his novels.
I just got the book and tapes Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy with foreward by Caroline Kennedy. I happened to get my copy at Barnes and Noble and it is a first edition. You can get copy at Amazon:
Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy
Jackie recorded conversations only four months after JFK’s death. I put the first one in the DVD player and nothing happened. I knew it wasn’t the disc. So I slapped the player around a few times and tried other CDs in it. I had not used the darn thing in months and it was just sitting collecting dust. Well, the thing fired up after I hit it a couple of times and listened first to the sound of Caroline’s voice.
Then an introduction by Michael Beschloss. He reminded me of what one thing I already knew and had experienced in dreams more than once: Jack and Jackie married September 12, 1953. My daughter was born September 12, 1973. How can that be? I cover that and more in my book on the laws of rebirth which no one else, including the highest of the high Buddhists have given out. Why? Because they were not given the mantle to do so.
The tapes told me something I didn’t know that JFK helped the Egyptian government to save a important site when the Aswan damn was being built. I mean we the USA sent them money to help out. In return they sent something from the temple of Dendera, not sure what have to look it up, as a gift. My daughter’s middle name “Dendera.”
The other connection comes in the way of Jack’s back. I once had this strange vision and had a flashback about my back being opened up. Didn’t realize it was about surgery but always had this nagging feeling about my back not being safe and that something, someone attached my back and it opened. That’s spine surgery for you. And Jackie said that Jack no more needed surgery on his spine than Arthur did at that moment. More karma to come. Whether or not Jack needed surgery it has replayed itself in this life because I spent 5 years working for who else? Spine surgeons before I left Chicago in 1995. I enjoyed it. But knew that many who went for the surgery did not really need it. Orthopaedic surgery is better now than it used to be. Jackies said that a woman doctor named Janet saved Jack by giving him trigger point injections of novocaine into his back. She did not use the medical lingo like I just did but that is the only thing it could have been. She probably pioneered it. Of course, his back got worse and weaker and was always on crutches for a surgery he did not need. But the meds helped him to recover finally. He and FDR sympatico that they are both were damn near cripples in the White House.
Finally the way that Jackie restored the WH is the way that it has remained. She and Jack loved history and researched it and hired a woman named “Parrish” to do much of the work. I have a connetion with a “Parrish” family in this life. Surprising to know that RFK returned to a family by that name. Well, one day. I think that many of us were brought to Texas and just told to “wait there.” We are waiting for what’s next even though I’ve taken steps to ensure the record is straight on whom returned as whom. More about that later.
Jackie is starting from the beginning of when he wanted to be president. Then she moves onto their early life together about his frequent awayness and tired from all the campaigning and she was pregnant and could not be with him. It is really a good book and recording of history IMO. I know that listening to it will bring a flood of new dreams and memories just like the Diane Sawyer special did. Lots of people don’t want to hear it or think it is over the top adulation for Jackie and for Jack. But there is much more here than meets the eye or the ear. You’ll see.
- No One Knew JFK Like Jackie (thedailybeast.com)
- Jackie Kennedy book: glimpses of White House intimacy, and happiness (csmonitor.com)
- New bestsellers in SoCal: Jackie O (laobserved.com)
- New Book Shows Another Side to Jackie Kennedy (abcnews.go.com)
- Jackie: JFK mused on own assassination (cbsnews.com)
- The Confessions of Jackie Kennedy (socyberty.com)
Here are some brand new releases about the life of JFK from Amazon.
Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy pre-order now $33.00 (reg $60)
- Jacqueline Kennedy Reveals That JFK Feared an LBJ Presidency (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- In new book, Jacqueline Kennedy recounts JFK’s scorn for LBJ (theglobeandmail.com)
- Book: Kennedy Scorned Idea of Johnson as President (abcnews.go.com)
- Jackie No Fan of MLK, LBJ (foxnews.com)
Here’s the PDF with all the nominees. Greg Kinnear nom for best actor as President Kennedy and the actor who played Bobby was also nominated..
- Emmy honors shunned Kennedy miniseries (cbsnews.com)
- After controversy, ‘The Kennedys’ rises (politico.com)
- ‘Kennedys’ Creators Says Nominations a Vindication (abcnews.go.com)