Swedish lover offers glimpse into JFK's tender side

Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:34pm EST
 
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Swedish aristocrat who put her love letters from John F. Kennedy up for auction this week said she wanted to show the public just how romantic the former U.S. president could be.

"He was unbelievably warm, sensitive, romantic and witty, a good listener and charming -- and deep," Gunilla von Post told Swedish radio on Friday.

The two met in the summer of 1953 on the French Riviera when she was 21-years-old, just a month before the then-senator would marry Jacqueline Bouvier and years before he became the 35th president of the United States.

Von Post said she had never heard of Kennedy prior to the meeting and was surprised to hear from him months later when he told her he could not stop thinking of his "Swedish girl."

Von Post wrote of their love affair, which included a visit from him to Sweden, in a book called "Love, Jack" in 1997. She only recently decided to go public with the letters.

Hand-written, they are signed "Best, Jack," "Your Jack" and "All love, Jack" and document a long-distance affair that stretched over years.

"I thought I might get a boat and sail around the Mediterranean for two weeks -- with you as crew. What do you think?" Kennedy wrote.

He referred to her as his Swedish "flicka" (or "girl") or his "Gorilla" -- a pet name for Gunilla.

The website of auctioneer Legendary Auctions said Kennedy implored von Post to move to the United States, where he would help her find work as a model.

Bidding started at $25,000 and is currently at $42,500, Legendary Auctions said. Bidding will continue for 12 more days.

 
<p>President John F. Kennedy is seen working in the Oval Office in the White House in this 1963 photo by White House photographer Robert Knudsen provided by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. REUTERS/JFK Presidential Library/The White House/Robert Knudsen/Handout</p>