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White House Intern Says She Had 18-Month Affair with JFK

3:10 PM, Feb 6, 2012   |    comments
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NEW YORK -- She was 19, working as a White House intern when she first met President Kennedy. It was the beginning of an 18-month affair that the now grandmother kept under wraps for more than 40 years.

The New York Post this weekend reports on the tell-all book "Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath" that will be published by Random House on Wednesday.

The Post says it bought a copy of the book, by Mimi Alford, at a Manhattan bookstore.

Alford, who was a 19-year-old debutante working at the White House for the summer, was known at the time as Mimi Beardsley.

She did not divulge the secret, even to her family, until her name was revealed eight years ago when a biography of Kennedy was published with portions from a 1964 oral history that mentioned the affair.

Alford's agent, Mark Reiter, told the New York Times in 2009 that Alford was stunned when the affair came to light in the tabloids and decided to write her account to "take control" of the story.

Alford will be interviewed on NBC's "Rock 30" on Wednesday night.

According to the account published by the Post, the affair began after she was invited by an aide to go for a midday swim in the White House pool and the president was there. He invited her to evening drinks.

Among some of the points in the book:

• Mimi says she was a virgin when she began the affair at the White House in the bedroom of the first lady, who was away at the time. She says Kennedy was very matter-of-fact about their first sexual encounter. Afterward, he arranged for a White House car to take her home. On the ride home, according to the Post account, Alford writes that it "kept echoing in my head: I'm not a virgin anymore."

• She always called him "Mr. President" and he always maintained a bit of reserve, never kissing her on the lips.

• She was with JFK during the Cuban missile crisis. According to the book, the Post says, he confided to her during his standoff with the Soviet Union that "I'd rather my children red than dead."

• Mimi consoled him after the death of his infant child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy. She says a crying JFK sat with her on the White House balcony while he read letters of condolence.

Their last meeting came seven days before his assassination in 1963. She told him that she was getting married.

Here, according to the Post, is how Alford describes the scene in her book:

"He took me in his arms for a long embrace and said, 'I wish you were coming with me to Texas.' And then he added, 'I'll call you when I get back.' I was overcome with sudden sadness. 'Remember, Mr. President, I'm getting married.'

" 'I know that,' he said, and shrugged. 'But I'll call you anyway.' "

Detroit Free Press

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