The Writer Whose Life Could Be a Bestseller; Eileen Ramsay Is One the UK's Top Romantic Novelists .. but It Is Her Own Life Working for the Cream of America's Own Life Working for the Political Families That Almost Eclipses Her Career as an Author the Kennedy Kids Were Very Kind to Me I Got Invites to Fantastic Parties at Cape Cod's Were Very Kind to Me I Got Invites to Fantastic Parties at Cape Cod'
Byline: By Lindsay Clydesdale
THE secluded setting of Eileen Ramsay's lovely country home could not be more perfect for a romantic novelist.
Tucked away in a corner of rural Angus, near Arbroath, the large house is surrounded by miles of open space and has views across lush farmland to the North Sea.This is where Eileen wrote her book, Someday, Somewhere,nominated for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year. But the romance, excitement and drama in her books are nothing compared to the reality of her own life.
As a young woman, she travelled to the USA where she taught children of presidents and senators including the Kennedys, Johnsons and McCarthys. Later she met and married a handsome Scottish physicist.When they started a family, Eileen continued working, taking her young sons to Central America where she helped poverty-striken immigrants. Now retired from teaching, Eileen is a successful author and counts other writers, including Isla Dewar, Ian Rankin and Joan Lingard among her friends.
'I've been writing all my life,' she said. 'You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. When I was at school, the writers I read were all dead Shakespeare, Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott. It just never occurred to me that you could write and make a living from it.
'In my era of the late Fifties, if you were clever, they said you could be a teacher or a nurse, not a brain surgeon. So I became a teacher and went on with my writing.'
Her adventure began in 1963 when her brother gave her a $100 Greyhound bus ticket for 100 days travel round the US on the famous silver coaches, as a graduation gift.
WhenUS president John F. Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas that November, Eileen was determind to go to Washington DC to pay her respects, but had nowhere to stay. Little did she realise she would soon be living with America's first families.
'I'm a Catholic and-wrote to the Convent of the Sacred Heart to see if I could stay with them,' said Eileen. 'They offered me a job at the exclusive school connected to the convent. I went in 1964 for a few months and stayed for 18 years.' Eileen was hired to care for little Caroline Kennedy, whowas only six when her father, JKF, was killed.
'Caroline was supposed to be starting the convent's school in primary twoand they needed a teacher so they gave me the job,' said Eileen. 'Caroline ended up not enrolling at the school, but all the other Kennedy kids did. Everybody's father was an ambassador or a politician, all were famous kids.'
But far from being spoiled youngsters, they went out of their way to make the young Scots woman feel at home.
'They were lovely kids,' she said. 'They were very kind to me because I was so young. I got invites to fantastic holidays and parties at Cape Cod.
'I'm still friends with several of the families from that time and go back for holidays in Cape Cod.They were so warm and so welcoming so we've stayed friends.
'When I was at the White House I met senators, lords, all kinds of leaders, so I took it for granted.'
But as the political atmosphere in the USA changed, security became a big part of Eileen's life. Martin Luther King was murdered in April 1968, then, two months later, JFK's brother Robert was shot dead.
'I taught Bobby's children and then he was assassinated,' she said. 'It was just dreadful. I was living with a senator's family and didn't know how to react to all of this. It was a very worrying time.'
Eileen lived with Eugene McCarthy and his family during the time hewas running for president, a situation that put him, his family and Eileen in the firing line.
'I was running round the McCarthy children to keep in between them and the press,' said Eileen. …