Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at a Retirement Ceremony for Toinette M. Bachelder of the White House Staff

April 22, 1966

Ladies and gentlemen, and fellow occupants of the White House:

I think this is a very great privilege for me, although it is not particularly a pleasure.

I think Toi really ought to be ashamed of herself. This is the first time that I have left the country since I have been President, and she tried to sneak out of the White House in my absence!

I appreciate the personal reasons which are causing Toi to leave us, but I have no intention of letting anyone who is as much a part of the history of this White House as you are go without devoting some attention to your departure.

I will always be grateful to this gracious lady, as will all the Presidents who have served with her, for the work that she has done for them and for the country. I remember Toi from my boyhood days when I was just a young, green Congressman--and she was even younger. (How do you like that for recovery? )


THE PRESIDENT. Some day the Navy is going to use my services in connection with the recovery of space people if I come back that quickly!

But as I said in my letter to Miss Bachelder, the best I could do while I was out of the country: "You have been witness to what most people who live in this country can only read in the history books. You have seen this from first hand and no history book can ever capture all the truth or all the spirit of all the Presidents you have known."

If you decide to do what some other fellows have done--start writing about your impressions around this table or around these various rooms--I hope that you will let me see the galley proofs.

MISS BACHELDER. I don't think you have anything to worry about.

THE PRESIDENT. Give me a chance. The fact that you have stayed in this house as long as you have is a great tribute to you. It also is a great tribute to the man that I loved so much and that you loved so much, whose picture is on that wall there, who had the vision to bring you here originally. You and he together were an inspiration to thousands and thousands of young people who suffered from the affliction of polio. By your very life you gave hope to thousands when they were in the midst of despair.

I don't think you even know it, but we have some people who have looked at you with such admiration that they have really conquered polio themselves. They work here in the White House--have even worked for me, and worked for me a long time and l didn't even know they had had polio. So I think that you should realize by your courage and your grit, your never-failing good humor and your inspiration, your devotion to duty and your ability to transact business efficiently, you have replaced many tears with smiles and with laughter.

I am not going to say goodby to you because I refuse to believe that you are going very far away.


THE PRESIDENT. I want you to always think of the White House as part of your home. I want you to know that as long as I am here you not only have a very special place in our memories, but there will always be a place for you at our table.

Someone once said that home is the place where, when you go there, they always let you in. Toi, I know that I speak for all your friends in the White House staff when I say that your home here will always welcome you. The White House gates will always swing wide for you. We will be better off if you use them, and we hope you will.

MISS BACHELDER. Thank you so much. You are awfully kind to take time from your busy schedule for me, and I appreciate it.

Note: The President spoke at 12:30 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. Miss Bachelder worked at the White House for 33 years, having been brought from Warm Springs, Ca. by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at a Retirement Ceremony for Toinette M. Bachelder of the White House Staff Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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