On Missing his Father

President Coolidge saying goodbye to his father, John. Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection.

President Coolidge saying goodbye to his father, John. Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection.

Reflecting deeply on the man whom he sought to make proud all of his life, the man who was closest to him from the beginning, the “Colonel” who took him along as a young boy in the performance of the older man’s official responsibilities throughout Plymouth and the surrounding area, the President writes a very touching passage in his Autobiography. The man who trained, disciplined and loved him – Calvin’s father – summoned an especially poignant tribute from the President, whose eloquence pervades his memoirs. Coolidge writes, “At his advanced age he had overtaxed his strength receiving the thousands of visitors who went to my old home at Plymouth. It was all a great satisfaction to him and he would not have had it otherwise. When I was there and visitors were kept from the house for a short period, he would be really distressed in the thought that they could not see all they wished and he would go out where they were himself and mingle among them. I knew for some weeks that he was passing his last days. I sent to bring him to Washington, but he clung to his old home. It was a sore trial not to be able to be with him, but I had to leave him where he most wished to be. When his doctors advised me that he could survive only a short time I started to visit him, but he sank to rest while I was on my way. For my personal contact with him during his last months I had to resort to the poor substitute of the telephone. When I reached home he was gone. It costs a great deal to be President.”1

In Memory of Danny Laverne Wright (February 8, 1955-January 18, 2015)


1 The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1929, pp.192,194.

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