If elected president, Sen. Lindsey Graham would be the first bachelor president elected since James Buchanan in 1856.
In “My Story,” a new e-book released Wednesday, the South Carolina Republican running for the White House explains why he never tied the knot, something often pointed out.
“I’ve never married,” Graham acknowledges in the book. “I guess I attribute that to timing, too. The opportunity never presented itself at the right time, or I never found time to meet the right girl, or the right girl was smart enough not to have time for me.”
Graham spends part of his book discussing his childhood in the town of Central, S.C. and how he was left to care for his sister Darline after both parents died.
Speaking of marriage, Graham writes: “I haven’t been lucky that way. But I have a family.”
“I have Darline, and her family. She’s married and the mother of two, and a respected professional, who runs the public information office of the state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation,” he writes. “I’m as proud of her as my parents would have been, and as close to her as ever.”
Graham does reveal several romances while serving overseas in the Air Force.
“I was in my twenties, a kid from a mill town in South Carolina, living in an exciting moment in history, traveling to cities that seemed unbelievably exotic to me,” he said. “I had two serious relationships while I was overseas.”
One, Graham writes, was an Air Force JAG officer working in England named Carol.
“She was a great lawyer and an even better person and we had a blast together,” he said. “But tours of duty end and people move on. Such is life in the military. Carol returned to the States, got married, raised a family, and served on Colin Powell’s staff.”
He also dated a Lufthansa flight attendant named Sylvia, Graham writes.
“The relationship became serious quickly,” he said. “At one point, I thought I would propose, or at least I entertained the idea. It wasn’t to be, though. She was responsible for an aging mother in Vienna, and I was South Carolina boy, who needed to go home.”
Graham explains that he wrote the book to give voters a better understanding of his past.
“People have seen me on TV or met me on a campaign,” he said. “Maybe they’ve just heard my name abused from time to time. They know I’m Lindsey Graham, senator from South Carolina. But they don’t know how I came to be that guy.”
Grahams discusses at length being raised in Pickens County, where he recalls hunting and playing golf with his father.
“Most of my growing up, though, happened on the main street of a small mill town, in my parents’ business establishment, a combination beer joint, restaurant, liquor store and pool hall, the Sanitary Cafe, my childhood home,” he said.
“I don’t know where the bar got its name,” Graham added, “just that it was called the Sanitary Cafe when my folks bought it, and they kept the name. They served beer and soft drinks but not hard liquor. My mother cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for our customers, but it was more beer joint than cafe.”
For a time, Graham acknowledges, the bar only allowed white patrons to drink beer inside.
“Times being what they were, most of our customers were white,” he recalls. “My folks sold beer to anyone of legal age, but, I’m sorry to say, for many of the years my parents operated the bar, black people were expected to drink the beer they purchased from us off the premises. ‘It’s just the way it is,’ my Dad explained to me. That eventually changed, but not until the early seventies, much later than it should have.”