A Reminiscence by Houston Seat.
My first visit to The Hermitage, at the age of five years, was with my grandfather in a borrowed Model A Ford. I had to remain in the car and be good, and I didn’t get to go into this big brick house even though I really wanted to see what was inside. Perhaps I should explain.
My grandfather, Samuel H. Seat, was a blacksmith adept at working with iron and fashioning hand-wrought objects. The quality of his work was well known and he was often occupied in some special project. It was 1935 at the time, and The Ladies’ Hermitage Association had contacted my grandfather about reproducing the latch assembly on the window shutters of the mansion since time had taken a toll on the original iron pieces. I had to remain in the Ford while he was inside meeting with the ladies in charge of the restoration. Memory brings back the wasp that came through the open car window, buzzing around me for a few moments and then flying on toward the big house with the loose, sagging shutters.
As time passed, I learned that this was the home of Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel, who died suddenly on December 22, 1828, the year Andrew was elected President of our country. Rachel is quoted as saying, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than to live in that palace at Washington.” Was her wish granted?
On a return visit thirty years later, I had a five-year-old with me – my son. We toured The Hermitage together. The Model A Ford is past history, along with the grandparent who let me tag along. Memories can last a lifetime and those with whom we experience special occasions live on, too.