Calvin Coolidge

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929). A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His conduct during the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th Vice President in 1920 and succeeded to the Presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little.
Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor’s administration, and left office with considerable popularity.[1] As a Coolidge biographer put it, “He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength.”[2] Coolidge praised the achievement of widespread prosperity in 1928, saying: “The requirements of existence have passed beyond the standard of necessity into the region of luxury.”[3] Some later criticized Coolidge as part of a general criticism of laissez-faire government.[4] His reputation underwent a renaissance during the Ronald Reagan Administration,[5] but the ultimate assessment of his presidency is still divided between those who approve of his reduction of the size of government programs and those who believe the federal government should be more involved in regulating and controlling the economy.[6]

Café Comedy by Robert William Service

Café Comedy
by Robert William Service

She

I’m waiting for the man I hope to wed.
I’ve never seen him – that’s the funny part.
I promised I would wear a rose of red,
Pinned on my coat above my fluttered heart,
So that he’d know me – a precaution wise,
Because I wrote him I was twenty-three,
And Oh such heaps and heaps of silly lies. . .
So when we meet what will he think of me?

It’s funny, but it has its sorry side;
I put an advert. in the evening Press:
“A lonely maiden fain would be a bride.”
Oh it was shameless of me, I confess.
But I am thirty-nine and in despair,
Wanting a home and children ere too late,
And I forget I’m no more young and fair –
I’ll hide my rose and run…No, no, I’ll wait.

An hour has passed and I am waiting still.
I ought to feel relieved, but I’m so sad.
I would have liked to see him, just to thrill,
And sigh and say: “There goes my lovely lad!
My one romance!” Ah, Life’s malign mishap!
“Garcon, a cafè creme.” I’ll stay till nine. . .
The cafè’s empty, just an oldish chap
Who’s sitting at the table next to mine. . .

He

I’m waiting for the girl I mean to wed.
She was to come at eight and now it’s nine.
She’d pin upon her coat a rose of red,
And I would wear a marguerite in mine.
No sign of her I see…It’s true my eyes
Need stronger glasses than the ones I wear,
But Oh I feel my heart would recognize
Her face without the rose – she is so fair.

Ah! what deceivers are we aging men!
What vanity keeps youthful hope aglow!
Poor girl! I sent a photo taken when
I was a student, twenty years ago.
(Hers is so Springlike, Oh so blossom sweet!)
How she will shudder when she sees me now!
I think I’d better hide that marguerite –
How can I age and ugliness avow?

She does not come. It’s after nine o’clock.
What fools we fogeys are! I’ll try to laugh;
(Garcon, you might bring me another bock)
Falling in love, just from a photograph.
Well, that’s the end. I’ll go home and forget,
Then realizing I am over ripe
I’ll throw away this silly cigarette
And philosophically light my pipe.

* * * * *

The waiter brought the coffee and the beer,
And there they sat, so woe-begone a pair,
And seemed to think: “Why do we linger here?”
When suddenly they turned, to start and stare.
She spied a marguerite, he glimpsed a rose;
Their eyes were joined and in a flash they knew. . .
The sleepy waiter saw, when time to close,
The sweet romance of those deceiving two,
Whose lips were joined, their hearts, their future too.