Jackie, Oh No!

Article excerpt

What took Mimi Alford so long to tell her tale?

By Leslie Bennetts

The president of the United States enjoyed a daily swim in the White House pool and cocktails after hours, when daiquiris and cheese puffs were passed around. Also provided for the president's pleasure were clueless virgins from Miss Porter's School, the first lady's white-glove alma mater.

When Mimi Alford was summoned to swim on her fourth day as a White House intern in 1962, no one told the chaste, uncomprehending teenager that the purpose of the invitation was to serve her up in a borrowed bathing suit for inspection by President John F. Kennedy.

That evening, Alford--who had never had a boyfriend--was surprised when White House aide David Powers plied her with drinks, and stunned when JFK offered her a private tour of the residence. Moments later, she says, the president pushed her down onto his wife's bed, pulled off her underwear, and unceremoniously deflowered her.

Alford says she spent the next 18 months as JFK's sexual plaything, spirited into and out of bedrooms in Washington and elsewhere by Powers. She then waited half a century before telling her story in an explosive new memoir called Once Upon a Secret.

Some of the book's most chilling revelations are the things that didn't happen. As Alford describes it, when JFK first had sex with her, her reaction was unquestioning acquiescence. Although her previous experience was limited to a single kiss in the eighth grade, she didn't resist the president, nor did she say a word about how she felt, to him or anyone else. It was as if her whole life had prepared her for such a moment--which it had. A man--a very powerful man who was old enough to be her father--wanted a quickie with her, and her only role was to oblige.

Also absent from their "affair" was the kind of romantic tenderness most lovers take for granted; in all the time they spent together, JFK never kissed her, she says. …