Calvin Coolidge

The President was rather quiet but the First Lady, seeing a small Richmond boy standing near the train car with a dog, spoke animatedly.

“What kind is it?” she asked.

The shy boy made an answer that was inaudible. He, too, like the President, was shy.

Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States who led the United States during the boisterous Jazz Age, a time when prosperity stimulated carefree behavior and a craving for entertainment. His straight-laced frugality and decency was reassuring to the nation and people admired him even if many of them did not imitate his conduct. He had a reputation for wisdom based on his common sense and dry humor, earning him the nickname “Silent Cal.”

He and his wife were passing through Richmond on Nov. 10, 1926, on the way to Kansas City where he was to give an Armistice Day address. His train had stopped at the Pennsylvania Depot and a throng of Wayne County citizens greeted him.

The President and First Lady strolled to the observation platform and acknowledged a gift of flowers with smiles, but ‘Silent Cal’ did not speak.

His wife did.

“Hey, you! Young man!”

She asked about a dog a Richmond boy standing near the train was holding. The dog’s ears flopped as the dog yipped. The boy made an answer too soft to be heard ducked his head bashfully.

He, too, like the president, was too shy to speak.

But it got a laugh from everyone, including the president, which was the only publicly audible sound the commander in chief that day made during his Richmond stop.



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June 19, 2012