It is 147 years since the death of The President who deflowered me on his wife's bed, so I have decided, after a struggle with my conscience and an advance the size of Brazil's GNP, that it is time to unburden myself of the secret I have long hidden from the world. It is also time for me to divulge just how cute I was when I was a teenager, not to mention how terrific I look for my age. I'm not your average great-great-great-great-grandmother, after all. Have you seen these cheekbones?
When I was brought to the Lincoln White House as an intern, I had no idea what I was doing there. I just wandered around asking people "Mister, do you know why I'm in Washington? Somebody sent me a note." You see, I hadn't applied for the job.
I hadn't ever heard of the word "intern." We used other words then, not that I knew those either, because I was very naïve. I was just a sweet and innocent knockout long-drink-of-water (that's what they called tall young ladies then) of a debutante from a preposterously wealthy East Coast family who attended a posh girls' school.
Curiously enough, I had never met a man. My own father was kept in a separate room and brought out only on major holidays. And not one student at my sophisticated posh boarding school ever discussed the so-called masculine sex.
When boys from nearby Trinity or Yale came by to visit, they stood outside the windows and wrote their initials in the snow while we young ladies stayed indoors, needle-pointing and playing the zither. I had no idea what this "kissing" business was, for example, and believed that babies were brought to home by poor Irish immigrants who birthed them for you.
Isn't that quaint and yet oddly arousing?
It wasn't until I saw the twinkle in The President's eye that I understood that I had been brought to The White House as what the French mistress might have called an "amuse bouche."
It's not that I was bitter at having been denied an interview with his wife, the formidable and famous Mary Todd who had graduated from my alma mater Miss Totter's. That wasn't it at all, even though I had never been denied a thing in my life. It wasn't that I felt competitive because at Miss Totter's we were taught to be highly ambitious without losing our femininity, which is like being taught to be a carnivore without ever eating meat.
It's true that people said The President's wife and I looked alike (although, since I am being brutally honest about all my memories as I recall them, I was taller and prettier than the President's wife, as you can see from these early photographs of me; have I shown them to you yet?).
So I was there in Washington because the President had obviously heard about my innocent ways and sharp intelligence. I was one of a select few. That's why the girls at Wheaton College, which I attended even though it had only been founded in 1860, were fondly referred to as being part of the "Breakfast of Champions." Clearly it was because we were recognized for our ability to make excellent conversation during meals.
I was so fascinated by politics that I spent my time open-mouthed in amazement.
The President and I spent a lot of time in the pool which was actually a bath tub. It was very big, though, because The President liked to splash around. We played with little log cabins because of his boyishness and wrote our names with soap on tiny toy shovels. I found it charming that he kept writing "Girl" for my name because it was his way of being intimate.
Did I feel I was betraying the First Lady? Not really. I was very young and besides, the train tickets and buggies from Washington were sent by Staff members so they must have been worse double-crossers than I was, which I wasn't, because of my extreme youthfulness.
My life since The President left me a bag of gold coins as a dowry? ("For The Girl," he wrote tenderly, saying so much about our relationship in so few words, a loving token that I naturally threw it away). Mostly dieting. And working for the other party. As I said, it's not that I'm bitter.