Saturday, February 11, 2012

Once Upon a Secret

I am a history buff.  Probably why I love teaching history so much.  History is full of sex, lies, intrigue.  History is full of heroes and villians.  Plots and plans.  Your history book is the best soap opera you will ever encounter.  Eat your heart out Susan Lucci, Erica Kane has nothin' on Cleopatra.

And so, I often find myself involved in different periods.  I LOVE the Renaissance and Middle Ages.  My Church History class is perfect, because so much takes place during that period.  But, I bounce around with various eras for periods of time.  I love the World Wars.  I am continually drawn to the French Revolution and all of the contradictions that come with that period.  For a while it was the ancient world, Biblical period.  I loved aligning the tales from the different regions to find the consistent pieces.  One constant love of mine is conspiracy.  Now, I am not a nutcase that is always looking for a conspiracy, sometimes things are just as they seem.  But, other times, you know things are not as they appear on the surface and the "what-ifs" take over.  

Which brings me to my newest Nook download.  Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath by Mimi Alford.  I will tell you that I am not sure about the Grassy Knoll or if it was the Russians or the mob, but there are somethings in my mind that just don't line up.  But this is not about the assassination, that is for another day.  I am fascinated by our country's lasting fascination with Camelot.  In our day and age of moral outrage with our public officials, it amazes me that we still hold JFK in such high regard.  I feel for Jackie Kennedy, seeing that little pair of wet foot prints leading away from the pool, alongside her husband's.  Knowing that there are people watching just to give him a heads up that you are walking down the hall, just breaks my heart.  I do not condone any of the affairs.  But, I do not hold it against any of his mistresses when they tell their story.  Do they have to continue to push away what happened to them, in their lives, just because it might upset the family to hear that their martyred member was a Playboy?  Umm, I think they already know.  

This morning while my kids played Wii and on their DSes, I watched this week's Rock Center with Brian Williams. (What else is there to do when it is so cold out your snot freezes inside your nose?)  My husband had recorded it for himself earlier and told me I could delete it if I wanted.  Ehh, I kept it.  And I became intrigued with Mimi Alford.  

After watching it and hearing her story, after 50 years, I decided to do what I always do when something catches my attention and headed to Google.  I came across a clip from The View and it made me buy the book.  Barbara kind of attacked, saying, "I know, but you must know it hurts that family."  Really?  You aren't upset that the 43 year-old leader of the free world did not know it was inappropriate to take advantage of a 19 year-old intern?  Mind you, I will reserve judgment until I have read it.  But now, I need to take a look at this story behind the story.  Yes, I am aware that there are going to be missing pieces, the other side will never be known.  But, for Barbara Wawa to attack her because she opted to tell her tale??  Isn't that the right of all of us?  Isn't that was  this very blog is, sans the million dollar publishing contract?  I am very sorry he was assassinated.  I love teaching Camelot, the missile crisis, the mob ties.  I would lose a dimension of my teaching if it was not for this tragic life being cut short and the nation that mourned because of it.  Sad as that is, it is indeed true.  BUT, that does not mean that select parts of the truth needs to be squashed.  It does not mean that the surviving actors in that scene of life are not allowed to tell about their role.  

Had this been President Obama, having mistresses while Michelle is running around with the girls, trying help the health of our nation's children, we would be up in arms that our President is such a dog, demanding impeachment (I think I've seen this one before).  And yet here we are with case after case after case of infidelity and we don't want to discuss it?  Jackie O is no longer among us, she is no longer exposed to the infidelity of her husband.  So everyone else is far enough removed from the situation, that I cannot fault Ms. Alford one bit.  A) She was not the first to speak of it, another biographer mentioned the affair first, even if it was only a single paragraph.  B) Secrets eat away at the soul. She was 19, a virgin and as optimistic and wide eyed at the opportunity she had been granted as humanly possible.  Why aren't we upset with Jack?  Because he's dead?  Early exit does excuse us from our actions in life, no matter the length of our existence.  

So, I am off to read my book.  I will let you know what my opinion is.  Mimi, thank Barbara for the royalties from my purchase.  Her comment, especially given her affair in the 70s, led me to a purchase I was not otherwise inclined to make.
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