Today, January 3, we remember the birthday of beloved First Lady Grace Anna (Goodhue) Coolidge.
Movie scriptwriters could scarcely have imagined a cuter scenario of her meeting her future husband Calvin: while watering flowers outside the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, one day in 1903, she happened to look up at the open window of Robert N. Weir’s boardinghouse and caught a glimpse of Calvin Coolidge shaving in front of a mirror with nothing on but long underwear and a hat. She burst out laughing at the sight; he heard the noise and turned to look at her. It was their first meeting, and he was smitten. After a more formal introduction sometime later, the two were quickly attracted to each other.
From all accounts, theirs was a happy marriage, joining two people with very different personalities. It can’t always have been easy to be with the taciturn, dry Calvin, but for all his kidding, some of it at her expense, the 30th president well knew what a treasure he had in her, and affirmed as much in his autobiography, “for almost a quarter of a century she has borne with my infirmities, and I have rejoiced in her graces.”
Grace was a much beloved First Lady, whose personality was a contrast to her husband’s often dour persona. Her life was not untouched by tragedy – she lost her younger son, Calvin Jr. when he was only 16, and she survived her husband’s untimely early passing by 24 years, staying largely out of the public limelight.