THE COOLIDGES OF NORTHAMPTON: RETURNED FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO THEIR HALF OF A DOUBLE HOUSE ON A QUIET SIDE STREET
. . . Half a year has passed since Mr. and Mrs. Coolidge left the spacious rooms and the wide lawns of the White House for half a two-family house in Northampton. . . . the country wondered how they would adjust themselves. . . . They had learned the uses of power and position, the ways of life that include butlers and secretaries and valets, the comfort of space and the pleasure of gracious rooms. . . . How could they leave all that for an existence based on six small rooms and a backyard shared in common with the occupants of the other side of the house? How could they blot out those eight years and take up life where they had left it? . . .
Northampton wondered before they came back, and watched after they arrived. The local papers offered them all sorts of suggestions about living quarters, and even went so far as to print pictures of fine old dwellings, any one of which would make an ideal mansion for an ex-President. The church members discussed the advisability of offering him another pew which would be more in keeping with his exalted station. The grocer wondered if he would get their trade again, or if they would order delicacies direct from New York and Boston.
Only the Coolidges wasted no time in speculation. Rumor said they had gone away with two trunks. They came back with a whole load of trunks and boxes and bundles.. . . In some way they all managed to disappear into the little house, though it was said afterward that Mrs. Coolidge had difficulty in cramming the wardrobe made for the First Lady of the land into a closet built for a simple housewife. The following Sunday the family appeared punctually at church. Mr. Coolidge in his familiar seat in the far corner of the pew they had occupied ever since they were first married, Mrs. Coolidge beside him.
. . . . Northampton loves to talk about [Coolidge]. Anyone with time and patience to wander and listen can hear any number of tales more or less true. . . . They puzzle over certain qualities of the man as intently as though they had not seen him go up and down Main Street for the better part of a quarter century.
. . . . They have put up a sign on the corner of Massasoit Street to tell the passing world that Calvin Coolidge lives at 21. It is partly a gesture of pride in the man who rose from a seat on the Town Council to the Presidency of the land, partly an act of courtesy to the thousands of motorists who make pilgrimage to see his house, partly an attempt at self-defense, for everybody in Northampton has had to tell everyone from Maine to California where the Coolidge house is. But there is something more in the simple sign than pride and practicality. It is shaped like a heart, and a heart is a symbol of affection that reserved New England towns do not ordinarily wear on their telegraph poles.
New York Times, October 20, 1929