Civilians Once More
Herbert Hoover once remarked that the train ride back to Washington following the news of his defeat at the polls reminded him of Harding's funeral train. Much as she disliked the idea of four more years in the White House, Lou was deeply distressed by the American people's rejection of her husband at the polls. In her mind it was a betrayal, and she blamed it primarily on the Democratic Party's smear campaign.
"We have all the lugubriousness of farewell parties before graduation," she wrote to Allan in December 1932.1 They had originally planned a trip to Honolulu after the election, but Bert now felt he must put everything in order for his successor. He agreed, however, to take a few days off in December, spending the holidays in Florida on the Sequoia. He had never cared for the traditional New Year's Day reception, with its endless handshaking, and this year Lou allowed him to cancel it, with the explanation that the president was out of town. It would never be held again.
On their return to Washington, the Hoovers received word of the death of Calvin Coolidge in Vermont. The resultant period of mourning delayed the resumption of the social season, forcing several planned parties to be rescheduled. Lou began packing up her family's belongings. She sent forty-two boxes to Herbert Jr. and Allan in early February. Sixty-nine further crates were loaded onto a steamship bound for San Francisco, where Sue Dyer waited to direct them to Palo Alto.
On January 28 Mrs. Roosevelt came for a tour of the White House, to see what she might need to bring with her when she moved in. Lou and Mildred Hall guided her through the main rooms on the first and second floors. Lou told her