JFK's Former Girlfriend Speaks Out in New Book

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As a Conover model in the 1950s Jayne Blodgett Murray's life took an exciting turn when she dated Congressman Jack Kennedy, before he aspired to be President of the United States. In her new book, The River's Bend, she reveals how Jack really wanted to be a college professor, always telegrammed her for a date, wasn't very entertaining and didn't have much ambition.

Jayne Blodgett Murray tells the story of her life in her autobiography, The River’s Bend, recently released by ATN Publishing. As a Conover model in the 1950s her life took an exciting turn when she dated Congressman Jack Kennedy, before he aspired to be President of the United States.

According to Jayne, “Long before Jack met Jacqui, I was introduced to him through a blind date. From then on rather than call, he most always sent telegrams to ask me out. It never occurred to me that Jack had the potential to be president of the United States because he never came across that way at all to me. Jack had about the biggest absentee record of anyone in Congress at that time, and didn’t like people who babbled – he was very impatient and I think it was because he must have been in pain a great deal of time.

Jack was very strange. He was on a PT boat in the war and was lost on a raft for days. The only chance for rescue was for one of them to swim, and Jack did; he was in the hospital for months and had typhoid. He was very quiet and made no effort to be entertaining. I was the one who always had to make conversation. We talked about books and politics and he was fun to be with, but he always seemed kind of boyish despite being ten years older than I. He was not at all serious, and I wrote my mother, ‘…he has this little boy quality that makes me feel motherly.’ At the time I was seeing Jack, he didn’t have much ambition. It was his older brother Joe who had been groomed for politics. Joe had been the apple of his father’s eye, and Jack didn’t expect to be the one running for office. When Joe got killed, Jack knew he was next in line, and he wasn’t that pleased. He really wanted to be a college professor, I think, and would have liked to live a less pressured life.

“It was famous among Jack’s group of friends that he never carried any money. He just didn’t seem to think about details like that, but somehow the bill always got paid. Entertainer, Morton Downing was a good friend of his and made jokes about Jack being so tight that he even saved string. One of the reasons Jack and I got along so well was because we had both experienced being sick in our childhoods and had spent so much of the time reading. We could empathize with each other about being bedridden as young children. Jack was extremely thin and had a yellowish cast to his skin, which I attributed to the Atabrine he had to take for malaria. On one of my trips to the family compound in Hyannis Port, Jack asked me to go horseback riding. This was fine except I hadn’t brought any pants with me so Jack loaned me a pair of his blue jeans. They were a little tight and during the ride I split them out so brought them home with me to sew them. They are still in my sewing pile!”

In her book Jayne continues with more memories about JFK, her attendance at the wedding to Jacqui and the Inauguration, and takes us back to a time without computers, when men still pulled chairs out for women, when Vietnam raged, JFK was shot, honeymoons on freighters were in and women emerged in the workplace. Renee Wahlen Tillema, editor of InSpire Magazine says in her review of The River’s Bend, “What a remarkable life! This book is hard to set down; I wanted to know what would happen next in this adventurous tale.”


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