A Woman Wronged
Their love child never acknowledged by one of our greatest Presidents
Her story at last proven true.
Like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor or Donald Trump with his new orange hair-do, each of us will always remember where we were when we learned the news. What news? The confirmation from DNA evidence that one of our best known, most capable and most accomplished Presidents was guilty of the accusations made against him in the 1920s that he was the father of an illegitimate child.
On 13 August 2015, the Associated Press reported the findings of a genealogist who had studied newly acquired DNA evidence.
So horrifying was the mental image conjured up that after reading the story I almost keeled over. Then I read it twice more. Disgusting. Perverted. I felt like a cobra was looking me in the eyes. Or maybe I was looking into the eyes of the cobra. Whatever.
The news brought on a severe attack of depression, PTSD and TMJ. I called my internist, who proscribed industrial Alka Seltzer to stop the churning inside my stomach and hopefully prevent the heartbreak of barfing.
I made urgent calls to my psychologist, astrologist, reflexologist, chiropractor, spiritual adviser, yoga instructor, personal trainer, five friends, my sister and eleven cousins. Each offered a remedy for my distress, all different. Drink a pint of Jack Daniels. Take eleven Xanax. Run ten miles. Masturbate. Order Chinese food. Get stoned. Nothing worked.
Desperately seeking surcease from the emotional pain of learning that one of our greatest Presidents had not only fathered an illegitimate child but had often done “it” with his mistress in the cloak room of the White House, I decided money might ease my trauma. I called the editor-in-chief of an online magazine I occasionally write for although they never pay me but this time I was going to stick to my guns and get some money.
After he answered the phone I told him the story. He gasped like a large-mouth-bass just pulled out of the water. “That’s disgusting! Revolting. The mental image of him doing it will haunt me the rest of my life!”
Silence. “No, it isn’t,” he said, pronouncing each word in a slow cadence. “It’s the most wretched kind of pornography. Worse than a story on the Kardashians unless they are being sent into exile to Bhutan.”
Jeez. I’m just trying to make a few bucks. This guy is at his summer home in the Hamptons associating with the glitterati and I’m in DC sweating my ass off and eating Vienna sausages. Emotional exhaustion over a great President’s willie and where it had once been has leached all my strength from me. I am on the verge of collapse.
Worse is to come. “You’re from South Carolina,” the editor sniffs. “Of all people you should know better. Good taste. Exquisite manners. Those are bred into you. Yet it is you of all people who calls me about doing a story on this sickening outrage.”
Hard to believe I’m being lectured to by a Yankee on manners! It’s like Mussolini giving weight loss advice. “Don’t be so squeamish,” I say.
“We don’t run tawdry stories of great Presidents having sex in the cloakroom of the White House or no-tell hotels in New York City.”
You don’t? I double-down with the best B.S. I have. “This story will get more clicks than photographs of Princess Catherine’s kitty cat.”
Silence. Shock. Surprise. Thirty seconds go by as the import of this statement is absorbed. “Maybe. Maybe not. But the very thought of this particular President of these United States actually engaging in such acts will cause half of our readers to blow their cookies. What’s your source? The National Enquirer?”
What a prick. I down a bottle of Maalox then speak. “No, an AP story in the New York Times.”
On the other end of the line fingers drum. Ice clinks. One, two, three gulps of gin are swallowed.
“You probably want money for this,” he says.
“You’re damn right I do. Five hundred bucks at least.”
“Deal.” OK money for a re-write of a story which broke a month ago. “What’s the headline?” I ask.
The ed-in-chief of this online magazine excels at headlines. Really and truly the man’s an artist. I’ll never forget his best one: “Hollywood Starlets Snared by Feds for Illegal Drugs at Beverly Hills Bi-sexual Orgy.”
What was the story about? Who cares. The headline alone had gotten almost 60% of the number of re-tweets that were sent in the first hour after Michael Jackson died.
The man allows his wheels of creativity to spin. “Plain and short would be best. Something just highlighting the main fact. A slam, bam, thank you, ma’am kind of thing.”
“Certainly appropriate in this circumstance,” I say.
Seconds tick by. Finally, he speaks. “I got it. Ready?”
I have my pencil on my legal pad. “Yes.”
“President Warren G. Harding Had Sex.”
President Warren Gamaliel Harding and his wife, Florence
Harding served as 29th President of the United States from 1921 until his death in office on August 2, 1923.
also says New York Times in a separate but equal article:
“DNA Shows Warren Harding Wasn’t America’s First Black President”
I never knew people even thought this but apparently there used to be lots of rumours that he was.