Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Research Turns Up the Damnedest Things

Dog Days at the White House - the Outrageous Memoirs of the Presidential Kennel Keeper" by Traphes Bryant and Frances Spatz Leighton    MacMillen   343 pages   $9.95   Of note, this book was published in 1975.

This book popped out at me at the library.  It's an interesting read as Bryant worked at the White House from Truman to Nixon.  What made the book a sensation back then was Bryant's allegations that Kennedy enjoyed swimming nude in the White House pool with selected female company when the Missus was out of town.   

But in looking up "Traphes Bryant" (because what kind of name is Traphes?  Mother's maiden name?  Irish ethnic?) I found that he had more or less vanished.  Nothing current on him, not even the usual born/died factual things. 

What did turn up was this:  LBJ brought his secretary Mary Margaret Wiley with him from Texas to Washington, DC.   She was one of eight secretaries; five of whom it was alleged that LBJ had boinked. 

Meanwhile Jack Valenti (later of Motion Picture lawmaking) was LBJ's most devoted worker/advisor.  Described as a "confirmed bachelor" Valenti, 41,  and Mary Margaret suddenly married on June 1, 1962.  It was believed to have been a shotgun wedding forced on the couple by LBJ himself.

But Courtenay Valenti wasn't born until November 1963.  Somewhere in here, Valenti was busted for soliciting a male photographer in a bathroom, but was not charged or the charges didn't stick; unclear.   

Valenti was one of LBJ's most trusted assistants and was in the White House on a daily basis.  Mary Margaret would bring the tot Courtenay to "see Daddy" but Daddy was LBJ.  Or so it is alleged.  He was certainly fond of the child who could wind him around her little finger.  If she was at the White House and LBJ didn't get to see her, he raised holy hell about it.   So said Bryant. 

All of which proves absolutely nothing at all, but I did find it interesting.  Had you heard about this?  LBJ's secret daughter, etc.?  If so, how come you didn't tell me?  I live for gossip!

No comments: