Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Worth a Read?

Up for sale at a Chicago auction house are letters and telegrams between John F. Kennedy and his Swedish lover Gunilla von Post dated from 1953 to 1955. They are intimate, private and ironically for sale. How sad that such personal correspondence should be on the auction block. It's no longer a secret that JFK was a dog with an unquenchable taste for the ladies. His lovers have been coming out of the dark for my entire adult life and after so many books, movies and articles, I remember little about what I learned in history class of his presidency and instead think of his lusty and shameful affairs.

Like a train wreck I couldn't look away from, I perused the letters and read every word that JFK wrote to his European lover. Surprisingly instead of being disgusted by this obvious affair while married to Jackie, I found myself sympathetic. "Tell em what they want to hear" is what I've heard men say. JFK certainly said the right things to Gunilla. He wrote to her after meeting briefly at a party and stayed in touch through an extended stay in hospital and his first years of marriage. She believed their connection was real and who's to say it wasn't. Two years after their first brief encounter they met up at a castle in Europe and spend an entire week together. Like so many teary stolen moment romances (Bridges of Madison County anyone?) JFK's is now immortalized in print.

His lover Gunilla eventually wrote a book about their "relationship" and now their private letters are up for sale. Like Gunilla, who bought every word he wrote her, now anyone can buy his words too. Sad, but worth a read?

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