After graduating college, one young woman went to D.C. for an unpaid summer internship, and ended up having an affair with the president of the United States. Three decades prior, a rising sophomore says that she found herself in the exact same position, with John F. Kennedy, in the last year of his life.
She says that he never kissed her on the lips, and gave her drugs at Bing Crosby's party in Palm Springs. She also alleges that he got her to give fellatio to an aide, while he watched, and they raced rubber ducks in the bath.
The Daily News of New York broke the story about Mimi Alford back in 2003, after Robert Dalleck published his biography of Kennedy, "An Unfinished Life," which reported the president's relationship with an intern. "It's all true," Alford admitted at the time, and said that the news finally breaking, after 41 years of secrecy, was "a relief."
Eight years later, the now 69-year-old Alford has published her version of events in a new book, "Once Upon a Secret: My Affair With President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath."
According to its account, the affair began in the summer of 1962. Marion "Mimi" Beardsley arrived at the White House press office, fresh from her first year at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, then an all-girls school. Within a few days, the tall, slim blonde was invited to join the president for his midday swim. Later that evening, she lost her virginity to him in the First Lady's bedroom.
"Slowly, he unbuttoned the top of my shirtdress and touched my breasts," she writes. "Then he reached up between my legs and started to pull off my underwear."
When the dapper, 45-year-old president noticed her discomfort, he asked if she had done this before. When she said no, he asked "Are you OK?"
"Yes," she replied. When he finished, he pointed her toward the bathroom.
"Would you like something to eat?" he then asked. "The kitchen's right here."
"No, thank you," she replied, "Mr. President."
"Short of screaming, I doubt I could have done anything to thwart his intentions," she says of the man, who also reputedly had affairs with his wife's press secretary, two other secretaries, a girlfriend of the head of the Chicago mob, the ex-wife of a CIA official and Marilyn Monroe.
"I wouldn't describe what happened that night as making love, but I wouldn't call it non-consensual either."
Alford says that she was starstruck teenager: She always called him "Mr. President," but when he phoned her at her dorm back at school, he used the pseudonym Michael Carter.
She writes that the affair was tender at times. He got her flights and a car service back to D.C. to visit when Jackie was away. They would sing along to show tunes. He taught her how to make scrambled eggs. In the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he confessed to his young mistress, "I'd rather my children red than dead."
But according to Alford, there were dark moments too. At Bing Crosby's desert ranch, a guest offered yellow capsules that she believes were poppers. She refused them, but the president, who didn't take any himself, popped the pill and held it below her nose.
"This was a new sensation, and it frightened me. I panicked and ran crying from the room, praying that it would end soon."
On another occasion, she says, during a noon swim, the president's aide Dave Powers came over to the pool to cool his feet. The president whispered to Alford, "My. Powers looks a little tense. Would you take care of it?"
She says that she dutifully performed oral sex on Powers while the president watched. Kennedy apparently later apologized, she writes, then also asked Alford on another occasion to do the same for his brother, Teddy, but she refused.
The autobiography is the latest installment in a series of works that have served to humanize one of the nation's most mythologized presidents. It also adds a chapter to the tales of how politicians have been sexually toying with their young female, and male, staffers for at least the better part of the past century.
The only difference, perhaps, is that journalists in the 1960s chose not to put these scandalous details into ink; today, such dalliances dominate the news cycle, and are deemed relevant testaments to the character of our leaders.
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