When Calvin Coolidge recalled his aunt, Sarah Pollard, his thoughts readily turned to the exemplification of love and devotion that she was to him, especially after losing his mother when he was twelve. As he considered the great ladies in his life, the grandmothers, his mother, his aunt, the wives of statesmen with whom he served, and most uniquely, the sparkling and exceptional woman he married, Grace Anna Goodhue, he seemed to tie their immeasurable worth together with one simple statement, “What men owe to the love and help of good women can never be told.”
Such was Mrs. Nancy Reagan to her Ronnie. There is no quantifying the debt to this great lady.
Marking their twenty-fifth year shared together, Coolidge would further reflect on Grace’s resilient strength, her unbounded energy, and the radiant light she was to him. They, very much like the Reagans, kept their marriage an intimate and personal universe. He would gratefully write of her, “For almost a quarter of a century she has borne with my infirmities, and I have rejoiced in her graces.” And as he wrote her in what would turn out to be his last long distance trip without her by his side, he said, “I have thought of you all the time since I left home.” This was, indeed, a profuse profession of his deep love.
Such was the love the Reagans knew in their own distinct way. It was theirs and none other has a right to approach it. At the same time, it was a love that abides between honorable husbands and good wives across all ages. No man can measure what is owed and no lady can ever begin to see return for the love and help they selflessly give. That is the beautiful example of great women behind every great man. We need that kind of lady again in public life.
Grace and Nancy, we profoundly miss you both.