John Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), was President of the Unites States from 1923-1929. Coolidge was noted for his distinct aversion to conversation (certainly unusual in a successful politician), together with a distinct lack of personal pretense. This tale illustrates the latter quality, and also shows how much times have changed in the last 70 years.
During the early days of his presidency, Coolidge and his family lived in a third-floor suite at the Willard Hotel in Washington and had yet to make the move to the White House.
Early one morning Coolidge awoke to see a cat burglar going through his cloths and removing his watch and wallet.
"I wish you wouldn't take that," said Coolidge, "Not the watch and chain, only the charm. Read what is engraved on the back."
The burglar read,
"Presented to Calvin Coolidge, Speaker of the House, by the Massachusetts General Court."
The thoroughly abashed burglar relinquished watch, chain, and charm. After a brief discussion, the fellow identified himself as a student residing with his roommate in the hotel. It seems that the pair were unable to pay their hotel bill and train fare back to their school.
After securing his wallet from the fellow, Coolidge counted out $32, declared it to be a loan, and advised the student to avoid arousing the Secret Service and leave by the way he had come.
-----------------A Final Thought ...
"How can they tell?"
- Dorothy Rothschild Parker (1893-1967) U.S. writer, critic, and wit: remark made upon learning that Calvin Coolidge had died.