On Grace’s Birthday

Photograph found in Grace Coolidge: An Autobiography, edited by Lawrence E. Wikander and Robert H. Ferrell, Worland, WY: High Plains, 1992, p.4.

Photograph found in Grace Coolidge: An Autobiography, edited by Lawrence E. Wikander and Robert H. Ferrell, Worland, WY: High Plains, 1992, p.4.

“I do not know who was the first to call her [Grace’s hometown of Burlington, Vermont] the ‘Queen City’ but we, her children, have a royal heritage which makes us kings and queens by right of birth. I arrived to claim my own during one of those cold snaps in midwinter when the mercury in the outside thermometer had dropped until it was nearly all collected in the round bulb at the bottom of the thin glass tube…

“I know nothing of astrology nor the reading of the stars, but if there is a star of welcome I am sure that when I was born it presided over my destiny. After nine years I came to make three in the little family, which never increased to four. The sun, moon, and stars, in the opinion of my parents, revolved about my infant head, and never was a babe more tenderly loved and cared for than I…

“There was a bay window in the dining room for mother’s plants, which she raised in profusion, and these with the lilting song of a canary or two gave an impression of an outdoor garden. The little girl, grown up, can in her dreams still smell the sprays of heliotrope and look deep into the cup of the calla lily with its gold-handled spoon.

“During those early years I was my mother’s constant companion. What she did, I did, where she went, I went, her friends were my friends. I had few playmates of my own age until I went to school…In the kitchen I had a collection of utensils hardly less complete than my mother’s but of reduced size. In the sitting room my workbasket fitted with its tiny thimble and round-pointed scissors had a place on the table beside my mother’s. I heard her say that I sewed on buttons before I could walk, but I was a heavy child and did not walk so early as some children and no doubt the buttons were large and their placement not a matter requiring great accuracy. I seem also to have assumed a degree of responsibility for my own behavior. Again my mother is authority for accounts of discovering me upon various occasions coming from the depths of a dark closet underneath the front stairs into which I had retired to reflect upon some misdemeanor known only to myself. It is my impression that a surreptitious bite from a forbidden hunk of beeswax in my mother’s workbasket was the crime committed in more than one of these instances” — Grace Coolidge, An Autobiography, p.2, 3, 5.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Coolidge!

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