If she were not at home , Mama would see to it that a fresh white rose was there .
Sometimes , Mrs. Coolidge would close herself in the Green Suite on the second floor , and play the piano she had brought to the White House .
Mama knew she was playing her son's favorite pieces and feeling close to him , and did not disturb her .
All the rest of the days in the White House would be shadowed by the tragic loss , even though the President tried harder than ever to make his little dry jokes and to tease the people around him .
A little boy came to give the President his personal condolences , and the President gave word that any little boy who wanted to see him was to be shown in .
Backstairs , the maids cried a little over that , and the standing invitation was not mentioned to Mrs. Coolidge .
The President was even more generous with the First Lady than he had been before the tragedy .
He would bring her boxes of candy and other presents to coax a smile to her lips .
He brought her shawls .
Dresses were short in the days of Mrs. Coolidge , and Spanish shawls were thrown over them .
He got her dozens of them .
One shawl was so tremendous that she could not wear it , so she draped it over the banister on the second floor , and it hung over the stairway .
The President used to look at it with a ghost of a smile .
Mrs. Coolidge spent more time in her bedroom among her doll collection .
She kept the dolls on the Lincoln bed .
At night , when Mama would turn back the covers , she would have to take all the dolls off the bed and place them elsewhere for the night .
Mama always felt that the collection symbolized Mrs. Coolidge's wish for a little girl .
Among the dolls was one that meant very much to the First Lady , who would pick it up and look at it often .
It had a tiny envelope tied to its wrist .
An accompanying sympathetic letter explained that inside the envelope was a name for Mrs. Coolidge's first granddaughter .
Mama knew this doll was meant to help Mrs. Coolidge overcome her grief by turning her eyes to the future .
The name inside the envelope was `` Cynthia '' .
The Coolidges' life , after the death of their son , was quieter than ever .
John was away at school most of the time .
Mrs. Coolidge would knit , and the President would sit reading , or playing with the many pets around them .
Now and then , the President would call for `` Little Jack , Master of the Hounds '' , which was his nickname for a messenger who had worked in the White House since Teddy Roosevelt's administration , and discuss the welfare of some one of the animals .
It was part of Little Jack's work to look after the dogs .
One White House dog was immortalized in a painting .
That was Rob Roy , who posed with Mrs. Coolidge for the portrait by Howard Chandler Christy .
To get him to pose , Mrs. Coolidge would feed him candy , so he enjoyed the portrait sessions as well as she did .
I would like to straighten out a misconception about the dress Mrs. Coolidge is wearing in this painting .
It is not the same dress as the one on her manikin in the Smithsonian .
People think the dress in the picture was lengthened by an artist much later on .
This is not true .
The dress in the painting is a bright red , with rhinestones forming a spray on the right side .
There is a long train flowing from the shoulders .
Mrs. Coolidge gave Mama this dress for me , and I wore it many times .
I still have the dress , and I hope to give it to the Smithsonian Institution as a memento , or , as I more fondly hope , to present it to a museum containing articles showing the daily lives of the Presidents -- if I can get it organized .
But to get back to the Coolidge household , Mrs. Coolidge so obviously loved dogs , that the public sent her more dogs -- Calamity Jane , Timmy , and Blackberry .
The last two were a red and a black chow .
Rob Roy remained boss of all the dogs .
He showed them what to do , and taught them how to keep the maids around the White House in a state of terror .
The dogs would run through the halls after him like a burst of bullets , and all the maids would run for cover .
Mama didn't know what to do -- whether to tell on Rob Roy or not -- since she had the ear of Mrs. Coolidge more than the other maids .
But she was afraid the First Lady would not understand , because Rob Roy was a perfect angel with the First Family .
Every day , when the President took his nap , Rob Roy would stretch out on the window seat near him , like a perfect gentleman , and stare thoughtfully out the window , or he would take a little nap himself .
He would not make a sound until the President had wakened and left for the office ; ;
then he would bark to let everyone know the coast was clear .
His signal was for the other dogs to come running , but it was also the signal for Mama and the other maids to watch out .
Rob Roy was self-appointed to accompany the President to his office every morning .
Rob Roy was well aware of the importance of this mission , and he would walk in front of the President , looking neither to the right nor to the left .
At dinner , lunch , or breakfast , the President would call out , `` Supper '' ! !
-- he called all meals supper -- after the butler had announced the meal .
All the dogs would dash to get on the elevator with the President and go to the dining room .
They would all lie around on the rug during the meal , a very pretty sight as Rob Roy , Prudence , and Calamity Jane were all snow-white .
When Prudence and Blackberry were too young to be trusted in the dining room , they were tied to the radiator with their leashes , and they would cry .
Mama tried to talk to them and keep them quiet while she tidied up the sitting room before the First Family returned .
Finally , Mama did mention to Mrs. Coolidge that she felt sorry for the little dogs , and then Mrs. Coolidge decided to leave the radio on for them while she was gone , even though her husband disapproved of the waste of electricity .
Mama was now the first maid to Mrs. Coolidge , because Catherine , the previous first maid , had become ill and died .
Mrs. Coolidge chose Mama in her place .
It was a high mark for Mama .
Every First Family seems to have one couple upon whom it relies for true friendship .
For the Coolidges , it was Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Stearns of Boston , Massachusetts , owners of a large department store .
They seemed to be at the White House half the time .
The butlers were amused because when the Stearns were there , the President would say grace at breakfast .
If the Stearns were not there , grace would be omitted .
Speaking of breakfast , the President inaugurated a new custom -- that of conducting business at the breakfast table .
The word was that this too was part of an economy move on his part .
A new bill had been passed under Harding that designated the Government , rather than the President , as the tab-lifter for official meals .
So the President would make a hearty breakfast official by inviting Government officials to attend .
He caused a lot of talk when he also chose the breakfast hour to have the barber come in and trim his hair while he ate .
Mama said that if Presidents were supposed to be colorful , Mr. Coolidge certainly made a good president .
He knew exactly how to be colorful ! !
The favorite guest of the house , as far as the staff was concerned , was Mr. Wrigley , the chewing gum king .
The White House had chewing gum until it could chew no more , and every Christmas , Mr. Wrigley sent the President a check for $100 , to be divided among all the help .
You can imagine that he got pretty good service .
Another good friend of the Coolidges' was George B. Harvey , who was the Ambassador to Great Britain from 1921 to 1923 .
He had been a friend of the Hardings , and continued to be invited by the Coolidges .
The first royalty whom Mama ever waited on in the White House was Queen Marie of Rumania , who came to a State dinner given in her honor on October 21 , 1926 .
She was not an overnight guest in the White House , but Mr. Ike Hoover , the chief usher , had Mama check her fur coat when she came in , and take care of her needs .
Mama said she was one of the prettiest ladies she had ever seen .
Mama was very patriotic , and one of the duties she was proudest of was repairing the edges of the flag that flew above the White House .
Actually , two flags were used at the mansion -- a small one on rainy days , and a big one on bright days .
The wool would become frazzled around the edges from blowing in the wind , and Mama would mend it .
She would often go up on the roof to see the attendant take down the flag in the evening .
She used to tell me , `` When I stand there and look at the flag blowing this way and that way , I have the wonderful , safe feeling that Americans are protected no matter which way the wind blows '' .
Even when Mrs. Coolidge was in mourning for her son , she reached out to help other people in trouble .
One person she helped was my brother .
Mama had told her how Emmett's lungs had been affected when he was gassed in the war .
He was in and out of Mount Alto Hospital for veterans any number of times .
Taking a personal interest , she had the doctor assigned to the White House , Dr. James Coupal , look Emmett over .
As a result , he was sent to a hospital in Arizona until his health improved enough for him to come back to Washington to work in the Government service .
But again , there was danger that his lungs would suffer in the muggy Washington weather , and he had to return to the dry climate of the West to live and work .
When Mrs. Coolidge was in mourning , she did not wear black .
She wore grey every day , and white every evening .
Mama knew that she was out of mourning when she finally wore bright colors .
The President helped her a lot by selecting some lovely colored dresses to get her started .
She opened the boxes with a tear in her eye and a sad smile on her face .
On the social side , the chore Mama had at the formal receptions at the White House thrilled her the most .
It was her job to stand at the foot of the stairs , and , just as the First Lady stepped off the last tread , Mama would straighten out her long train before she marched to the Blue Room to greet her guests with the President .
Mama would enjoy the sight of the famous guests as much as anyone , and would note a gown here and there to tell me about that night .
One night , Mama came home practically in a state of shock .
She had stood at the bottom of the stairs , as usual , when Mrs. Coolidge came down , in the same dress that is now in the Smithsonian , to greet her guests .
Mama stooped down to fix the train , but there was no train there ! !
She reached and reached around the dress , but there was nothing there .
She looked up and saw that , without knowing it , Mrs. Coolidge was holding it aloft .
Mrs. Coolidge looked down , saw Mama's horrified expression and quickly let the whole thing fall to the floor .
Mama swirled the train in place , and not a step was lost .
The Coolidges did not always live at the White House during the Presidency .