Mimi Alford Once Upon a Secret

ISBN 13: 9780091936563

Once Upon a Secret

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9780091936563: Once Upon a Secret

In the summer of 1962, nineteen-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived by train in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. The Kennedy Administration had reinvigorated the capital and the country—and Mimi was eager to contribute. For a young woman from a privileged but sheltered upbringing, the job was the chance of a lifetime. Although she started as a lowly intern, Mimi made an impression on Kennedy’s inner circle and, after just three days at the White House, she was presented to the President himself.
 
Almost immediately, the two began an affair that would continue for the next eighteen months.
 
In an era when women in the workplace were still considered “girls,” Mimi was literally a girl herself—naïve, innocent, emotionally unprepared for the thrill that came when the President’s charisma and power were turned on her full-force. She was also unprepared for the feelings of isolation that would follow as she fell into the double life of a college student who was also the secret lover of the most powerful man in the world. Then, after the President’s tragic death in Dallas, she grieved in private, locked her secret away, and tried to start her life anew, only to find that her past would cast a long shadow—and ultimately destroy her relationship with the man she married.
 
In 2003, a Kennedy biographer mentioned “a tall, slender, beautiful nineteen-year-old college sophomore and White House intern, who worked in the press office” in reference to one of the President’s affairs. The disclosure set off a tabloid frenzy and soon exposed Mimi and the secret that she had kept for forty-one years. Because her past had been revealed in such a shocking, public way, she was forced, for the first time, to examine the choices she’d made. She came to understand that shutting down one part of her life so completely had closed her off from so much more.
 
No longer defined by silence or shame, Mimi Alford has finally unburdened herself with this searingly honest account of her life and her extremely private moments with a very public man. Once Upon a Secret offers a new and personal depiction of one of our most iconic leaders and a powerful, moving story of a woman coming to terms with her past and moving out of the shadows to reclaim the truth.

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Product Description:

In 1963, Mimi Beardsley was a naive young American girl, very much a product of her class and time - she had attended the same exclusive girls' school as Jackie Bouvier, now installed in the White House as the president's wife, which is also where Mimi found herself, as an 18-years-old intern. The JFK White House was a place for which she was not remotely prepared, dominated by the charismatic and sexually rapacious figure of the president. Within days, they had started a relationship. There are several extraordinary things about Mimi's story. One is that she has evaded notice from any of the biographers of JFK and other chroniclers of the heady days and sexual shenanigans of Camelot. Only by chance did a reporter in 2006 follow up a mention of her name in a book about JFK, and doorstep her - now a married grandmother living quietly in New York - to find out whether she was the Mimi Beardsely mentioned in a passing reference. This is all the more surprising given the length of time the affair continued - 18 months - and the fact that it was ended only by his assassination. Mimi Beardsley Alford has decided, after 40 years of silence and deep reflection, to tell her story. But this is not just a personal memoir of a young woman of her generation and class coming of age in the 1960s, and her relationship with JFK. She also examines the significant impact it had on her life and relationships since, why she has chosen to remain silent for so long, and why she feels that this is the moment to speak out.

About the Author:

Mimi Alford lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, Dick. Together they have seven grandchildren. This is her first book.

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