Thursday, November 20, 2008

This one is for you, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge

Sometimes at night I lie awake and worry about our nation's less successful presidents. How must it feel to attain the highest office in the land and then be remembered as being rather dull, if you are remembered at all. The presidential libraries of Chester Arthur, Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding, and James Garfield are all probably having trouble raising funds. If they even have libraries. Calvin Coolidge was keeping me awake the other night. He was veep when Harding popped his clogs (which was the most interesting thing Harding ever did) and then won the presidency for real in 1924. But I couldn't think of one thing Coolidge did in office! I still can't, actually. But, thanks to the White House dot gov's handy biographies of first ladies, I now know that Coolidge may have been a stiff, but his wife, Grace, was a delight. In addition to being a most popular first lady, she was also a psychic knitter. That's right, her knitting predicted the future. Consider this tidbit:

Some one noticed that a bedspread, knitted nearly a year ago by Mrs. Coolidge and intended to be left in the White House, bore a prophecy. On one side was knitted "Lincoln 1861-1865." On the other side; "Calvin Coolidge—1923-1929." Long before President Coolidge announced his "choice," Mrs. Coolidge said, to a friend who exclaimed at her bedspread, "I know what I'm doing."

(It seems the newspapers of the early 1920s were just as obsessed with their President-elect as we are now, and followed his every move) Yes, Mrs. Grace Coolidge was a righteous prophetic knitting babe.
I think she could not only see the future, but used yarn to gather useful information and possibly even influence policy. (I mean, look into those eyes. Those are cunning eyes.)

When Grace Coolidge died, a whole pile of knitted blankets were left to the Coolidge estate. Several of them, including one reading "President Barack Hussein Obama 2008- 2016", were considered to be evidence of Grace's descent into madness in her elder years, and were thrown away.


sunshine said...
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sunshine said...

thank you for this revealing post. did you know: although pres coolidge was zzzzzzzzzzzs, his 10-yr-old self made an amazing quilt.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I looked back -before I read this post - at all the first ladies, and Grace Coolidge is the most elegant and beautiful before Michelle Obama.

Grace and Michelle stand together as the finest. Both were physical, were active.

Whereas Grace Coolidge was reticent, yet cheerful and popular, Michelle Obama, though family oriented too, is more outspoken and popular.

I believe that Grace Coolidge may have subtly influenced public policy.

Grace Coolidge and Michelle Obama are my choices as most beautiful and elegant first ladies.