Posey Dent and Rosamond Casey

Recorded June 8, 2005 Archived June 8, 2005 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBX000126



  • Posey Dent
  • Rosamond Casey

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:10 Hi, my name is Rosalyn Casey and I'm 54 years old and today is June 8th.

00:18 2005 for in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I'm speaking here to Posey Dent who is related to me by virtue of her connection to my father.

00:33 Posies my father's first cousin, which makes her my first cousin once removed cuz we're generation of heart.

00:41 Your turn

00:42 Hello, and my name is Posey dead. My real name is Rosemary and I am 83 and today is June 8th 2005 and I'm sitting in a recording studio on the mall downtown Charlottesville, Virginia and my relationship to my friend here is I'm a cousin were cousins once removed.

01:11 Through our

01:14 To my father and yeah, so I just want to mention this when I came here to Charlottesville. It was 1981 and you were already living here and I knew of you to my father and I know we met but the very first encounter that I'd had with you was really through your daughter and when I was about 10 or 11 living in Washington, DC

01:39 Dad took me to the armory in Washington DC. He was very big on riding. We had a farm outside of Washington DC and he wanted all of his children to be Riders and we were all pretty helpless when it came to that Sport and one day this little girl rode into town who looked like scout from

02:02 To Kill a Mockingbird and she was up on top of a horse at some event in the Armory which was the National Horse Show. It was probably as high as you can get in that world and there was a girl who was pointed out to me is Posey Posey dense daughter who is related to me high up on a horse wearing black and she was most formidable beautiful little twelve-year-old I ever saw and I was just in awe of her. So so Susie was always this Legend after that to me and I got to Charlottesville 1981 and met her and I don't know if she had any relationship to a horse at that point.

02:42 But I was really curious about you because you've been here for a long time and Charlottesville and had made a name for yourself and

02:51 So I guess I have a question for you. First. Tell me about Susie.

02:55 Susie grew up on a farm and she was a shy little girl and we thought she liked animals and myself. Well, give her some skill that she can be good at and then she won't be so conscious of being shy so put her on a pony and off she went and she took to it with enthusiasm and she got the very very good.

03:23 And so she rode ponies for a long time and we even went to Great Big Horse Show and New York City called The National Horse Show, and she was the champion on some funny Little Pony that we bought and she did that for number of years and then two years later. She said I've done it. How old is 16 in every single trampoline ship in Virginia and she was champion at Madison Square Garden and she loved it. But then it got to be too much of too much the same old. Same old. She said I'm going to school I'm going to do something out. So she quit and after that she didn't ride competitively but her children Road, and she now has a horse at 2 that she's raised like your father and she rides for pleasure. We live still where it's world.

04:23 How to get on a horse and ride for a couple of miles from of the woods with no other houses and no other people that's her horse World mad at all. She wants. How did you all get in a horse's is it a coincidence that the dad and you both know? I didn't know it's today when my husband after a career in the United States Navy and the textile business at all. I need to go to law school and I'm going to go to law school at the University of Virginia cuz it's a nice place so down we came that was the year. I was born in 1951 and we stayed and the town of Charlottesville with great pleasure for back 5 years, and he said

05:16 I'm having explored the coast of Maryland to Davidsonville and Annapolis and Norfolk and the west coast of the United States said I'm going to stay right here and I am going to buy farm and we're going to bring her children up on the farm. That's what happened. When did up with land and I determined that an otter make it worth my while I be businesslike. I really ought to raise ponies about which I knew nothing not a Macan know anything yet. Neither of it. He had written as a little kid, but may I never had contacted you all have did you have with Doulton where my father grew up? I grill at Leyden new your great-grandmother. My grandmother asked his his mother you knew her, but she didn't have particularly strong interest in horses. Did she

06:16 Are they had just inherited their bought this beautiful piece of property which was restored back to them. It's been in the family for four years and years before they said we were all these country children at heart.

06:32 So wouldn't mind I think perhaps for your father and me all our grandparents had grown up on the streets of New York City.

06:41 As they were delighted to get to the country. So let's talk about those people those people. Yeah. Well my mother and her parents lived in a little town in Long Island named flushing. That's where your grandfather came from. So they were friends as kids. No kidding. So I am getting confused already. That's alright. That was her honey and Rosalie. Yeah. Okay, so they weren't related know they weren't related to know but then they married to them.

07:18 Well, they got to know each other again. What do you remember about my grandfather Ernie?

07:27 Oh, what a charmer.

07:30 What a delightful wonderful man. My mother adored in my same relationship that I have with your father was your mother's name Rosalie and her last name Amin.

07:47 And that was she just wasn't the same person as rozzi havemeyer.

07:53 No, cuz raazi havemeyer was on the remind side. Sorry, not the elements. Okay, I don't know what her name is where we getting all these Roz's because I'm Rosalind and I get that out of my mother's side has moved and yet you're Rosemary, but that has nothing to do with the Rosalyn of Estelle side of the family. Isn't that weird? We get rashes all over the place. But so you did a person I want to talk about because it when I grew up there was this legendary character other than Susie who became a legend to me in your family. My grandmother is still who you're going to get off to me about used to talk about rat all the time and has her brother and here's what we used to hear about Rad Rad was the most good-looking man that ever walked the Earth and

08:46 The poor man's life was destroyed by the by the by the fact that he was so good-looking. Is this a true story growing up in New York? So is very spoiled and he was big tall good-looking and an athlete and women just idolized him and he ate it up. I bet he did it became the thing that he was good at was that he was a really good oarsman. So he went off to Yale and and

09:23 But you know if I don't know if this happened in your family, but because of good-looking too kind of kind of a negative connotation somehow that whole story about rad really should have infiltrated the values of our family and good-looking became synonymous with a little bit pathetic if it was if there was just too much charm, you know, it was it was a it was really a harmful thing to your character and the way my grandmother is still used to talk about him. She said women would just make complete idiot themselves before the hairs and as a child of his the most embarrassing thing that ever happened was to have these old ladies come up to you and said your RADS daughter and go into a swoon. So what was it like for you growing up as your father because that's all they ever talk to ya. Did you not his brains. Did you ever think of it? Did you think of him as sort of a sad character? No.

10:23 Was pretty self-confident. I thought he really liked himself. But all these women were stupid. So it's the women who made has a bad man, and he was very spoiled was because he was you know, a brother with three sisters and I think they resented him. I think he's they thought their parents and everybody else made too much of it, but I think he thought he was happy. What does that mean? A lot of wives? He did a lot of time hanging around about what happened.

11:04 What is an older man? When did he die? How old was he when he died? Do you know?

11:09 65 think he did. He died of a heart attack or oh, yeah spoil 65 year old and trying to get a picture with that looks like

11:20 Was he just was he unable to?

11:31 Did hela hela be comfortable life. I take it all he made it, He was always been taken care of by Willie always took care of himself first. Not as kids. How is Eddie respected you and he listened to you and you didn't know if you had an idea of what you wanted to do. He listened ever heard about the guy was that he was too damn good luck drive from my sister.

12:02 But that was the life of New York City and those days he was enormously successful advertising account executive the owned a couple of businesses and he had a huge following and because he was a Salesman at heart.

12:20 Did he was given you bought sugar cubes that he advertised and you bought bathing caps and you bought Jamaican rum because you told you to did the I'd love to see what those ads look like, you know from this vantage point now the old was it supposed to be in the back in the what about your mother what was their relationship like happy until she had three children and he decided that he really didn't want that life anymore. I really had to leave where we were living which was in the country outside, Philadelphia and go to New York and pursue his profession, but he was probably right so they got divorced. So my mother's life after that was exciting. It was oh, yeah. She beautiful woman. Yes. Yes, what would have how old was she when she became free of him? I don't know but she traveled and she had a fit.

13:20 So she went do I had to go to work in those days?

13:24 I knew where I had been brought up so that you didn't know how to do anything and she said he learned so she

13:34 She learned about the retail business and went to work for a department store in Philadelphia named Strawbridge & Clothier and she said all of us three of us to school ran this funny old house and went up and up and up in the retail world because like Dad she had a love of people. She remember their names. She knew when their birthdays were these were employees and fellow employees and she must have worked for that company but 25 or 30 years and the men executive and of the company went off to war.

14:15 And there were all named Strawbridge & Clothier. They were these splendid.

14:20 Quaker types and that left mother in the executive position of running the store and she had 500 employees at it wasn't true department store. They sold mops had a beauty parlor a restaurant plus clothes and shoes and other things had so that was her life and it was warm very satisfying and brought up orchids that way and did she actually support the kids and send them a little bit he did cuz he sent me to boarding school for 2 years. You stay in contact with him and continue to have a relationship. So, how did you keep a presence in your life?

15:11 Did you have a sort of it? He did it or I did and I didn't like divorce and I determined that the family should not get separated. And so I made him get together and my mother had this attitude that she never said anything derogatory about father. She kept us together. And of course your relatives had us all for family occasion. So that's how we agree with that be well. I don't know what they must have been at mrs. Ever Dells in Long Island. That's the raazi there York City city. We had this big family reunions. So that's where you got to know. That's how I got to know your family.

15:55 And

15:57 They both both mother and father encouraged us to do what we wanted to do. The older brother went off to work in Latin America. Learn Spanish retained executive with a Kraft cheese company and my sister dutifully went to college Etc. Join the Red Cross so we could we learned from mother that we had to work. That's why I learned I had to work and it was a big-time saying unbelievable, but I didn't have to figuring out everything I know is that I better find something that I liked that I was good at and get on with it and I did thank goodness world and it this is soda. So what and what is unusual about your mother's attitude is it it wasn't a necessity. It was just something she felt that it was a necessity and it was for your mother.

16:57 And it was on your privilege cuz you were surrounded by books mother decided at one point to support herself. She and her friend would have a bookstore in the house and we live way out in the country. So boxes and boxes of books would arrive for the Publishers and we set the my sister and I set them up on shelves and had a store for nobody came to buy AR books.

17:24 So we were left with him, which was just the best gift in the world.

17:31 Did she read to you? Oh, yeah. I know we learned to read early.

17:36 So let's get back. We were privileged Your Privilege has Farm. Did you when you set up here you were you married a man named Mack Dead. Who do you want to have a piece of land? And you said what will have a piece of land as long as I'm not sitting idle on it. I want to know I want to make a business out of it. Did you really have to decide we're going to buy the land because it was what you call a good investment in those days and he loved the country. So he bought the land and then I decided I better make it pay for itself, which it is questionable and you really made it work for how many years

18:16 45 I think and let's talk about that. How do you manage a stable of horses and everything that comes with that with your kids who own those horses and their mothers you want them to have a chance to ride them every week. You must be really hard. It's like so it's not they're nice people. They're nice people, but just who trained the horses. Did you have to work for you? Who wants to be the trainer? Will you teaching as well? I'll constantly you were teaching writing and running day camps.

18:52 How did you learn to ride so well that you guys did and I never learn to ride. Well, I fell off a lot but you did get good right on the ground a lot, but my kids were good and they got good today. All right, tell us about all your children. They all rode and we had a big happening call The Pony Club and that involves everybody in the neighborhood and we provided ponies and horses for them and then went to contests all over, Virginia.

19:31 Put into our lives every once in awhile would come a trainer who wanted to get famous and we had this wealth of ponies and kids they could practice on and that's what made it for us as far as our reputation.

19:45 And then

19:47 The children grow up and I started teaching writing to the handicapped.

19:53 Because I knew how

19:55 Because my profession has been occupational therapy and it was easy for me. I just to match the child with a disability to this warm fuzzy. Animal was fun. I did that for about three years.

20:13 What was the technique exactly that help the child engage with a horse? Was it just a matter of giving getting their arms around the horse and having a really getting your legs around the horse so, you know the other leg and matching the child's personality to the horse. It had to be a quiet tractable animal that would do what you wanted it to do and it gave the child mobility and it gave a child empowerment think I'm in control of this great big animal. It has a normal Advantage it so they would each be assigned a horse that would be as far as they were concerned their horse. And then maybe we can ride it. There was no particular technique you used with these techniques depended on their disability know I would think that was a really severely handicapped.

21:12 All kinds of things do matter with spina bifida because I was really associated with a children's Rehabilitation Center. So they sent me all these children with disabilities.

21:26 But there's something about the relationship of a little scared kid in a warm fuzzy animal that you did get any place else and the horse moves and the child has to move so it rather simulates the gate and that's why it works with cerebral palsy in so that you know it so they have a sensation of out of locomotion. Even if they're not bad for some of them. They're out of the wheelchair and they see the world from another perspective that might have not always looking up.

21:59 It was very satisfied. What's the condition of your bar now who's using it? And who's my daughter?

22:10 Rents, the fields to people who have their own horses.

22:18 And they keep them at the farm.

22:21 Ride them. Love them. I have one little girl who want to be a concert pianist when she went to Juilliard or what she studied and studied and studied and she suddenly realized that I'm not getting any place. So she bought herself a big fat white Percheron horse named Molly and they are inseparable. That was the first horse. I ever got on epidode Dad's horse named Molly isn't that a coincidence? And it was the big old. I loved Mali and Mali produced nice gentle sloe-eyed horses.

23:01 Tell tell us tell me about how have you been you got married to mactan wedding for I was almost on the Shelf. I was like an old man when he got married dad told all of us. We couldn't get married till we were 30 and we all lived up to that. But I got that Mac you found Mac and your children on a blind date tell me about the children of the children. We had I met him on a blind date and we got married fast and it had three children moved to Charlottesville and name your children.

23:43 The eldest one was named Peter and then the next one is Susan and then the youngest ones named Magruder and Magruder and Susan living town has have children. Yes, and Peter died Peter guide.

24:02 So all this took place during a. Oh, I know what I want to ask you how many years and years about your relationship to Charlottesville and how you seen it changed since you got here so long ago and it used to be nothing but a little Merle as I told this man here I said Charlottesville is a small town with a large University and there's lots more people and you don't know absolutely everybody the way you used to you used to be able to drive down the road and always had china but distinctive car and never bought a new car you had the same old car and you waved at everybody and they waved back.

24:47 You only better you drive down the road that kind of give you the finger and they're great. Big SUVs. Yeah, but you have a kind of a grip on this town. It seems to me I mean it seemed that way when we first moved here that everybody knew Posey Posey new everybody. What do you think of that? I love the town I loved it is friendly people remember your name and they'll will endlessly help you if you get in trouble for not been in a lot of trouble. There's just no end of the things that people will do for you out of their hearts, but you're the same and um and your for your famous for doing that the other people who get this follows are made of that happens to you. You you you going to do it back to other people but it's a unique town. I do think it sounds it sounds it sounds very Southern that whole thing.

25:47 It's like you seem very Southern to send people because you have that kind of generosity of spirit. That's kind of associated money doesn't make any difference. I've lived in a town where money was the ruling.

26:03 Factor in the whole town. Where was that Greenwich, Connecticut and Charlottesville. It doesn't matter what and race makes no difference. If you're involved in this whole public schools. Yeah. Yes. Go ahead think you really see how terrible a problem we have with race, but I do know but it's a different thing. I think when you get out of the city and get out of the countryside, then there's no competition all the black people who are my friends all lived a little belt in the middle of the Town Vinegar Hill or right across the town. I'll be there for urban renewal when they when they said it was a tragedy for a really thriving little Community. I think I know I have watched the politics today.

27:02 I want to ask you about.

27:07 And my big job in life is to see that the land is protected and we like very much one large pieces of land put into conservation easements instead of being chopped up and built on so I'm very grateful to people like I'm delighted that Mr. Kluge bought the land that he did and I'm very glad that Edgar bronfman bought the land that he did and Dave Matthews is one of our Local Heroes because he has bought so much and protected it and will continue to be good for him good for him.

27:46 Because you didn't need you need the reasons that people moved here having to do with the Sea Ray and the rivers.

27:56 Posey tell the story about that accident that happened with your grandchildren that I was nothing about fault, but your heroism a kid is two and a half years old and he had been fishing in the pond with his cousins. Everybody had on life preservers cuz I'm cautious and I drove up to the top of the hill to escape some unfriendly cows with the children in the car. I got to the top of the hill dropped off most of them and said go tell your grandfather where I am and I left the littlest one in the car with the engine running while I got out to open the gate.

28:44 Well this smart little boy just move right over behind the steering wheel and drove that car down the hill missed the biggest country and into the pond in 12 feet of water. Well, I'm not an Olympic runner, but I have sped down the hill.

29:07 Where the car was covered with water and open the door and repeatedly tried to drag that little boy out of the car. And I did finally why was it taking so long? Well, I had it the station wagon that has a high roof and it kept floating up to the top and you had to drag him down keep enough oxygen in your lungs to do that and then pull them out right then he would slip through your hand now, he just was up and had to go much as you could then go back up to get some more air. What was there any are for him in there? Yeah. He had hair between the mall open door window or the door and you finally hired time you talking to God. Oh my God, how how many minutes do you think he made a bet 10 attempts?

30:05 Shadow My Viola got him out in my arms and he was little bit blue with his eyes back in his head or whatever happens and I did CPR I breathe into his mouth while we were both in the water and the most beautiful sound I've ever heard before or since is that cry that little boys. I just took a big deep breath of air.

30:33 What kind of sea was two and a half years old?

30:37 You are such a heroin and I don't know I wasn't so we swam to shore.

30:42 And by then Magruder and figured out what had happened and came down and rescue squad came said what have you done? I remember coming over your house before he died about 5 years ago more and I love the way he he he did this thing that my father always did at the farm which was he would do you have some friends over and we'd all be sitting there having drinks and Magruder would be in there with his field clothes on and he just take off and go walking down the fields if he felt like it in the middle of a Parson nothing held him social setting he was completely toast really don't feel like I knew him very well, but what would you like to say about him not to accept that? He wasn't very smart right knee was good student and a k

31:42 Law school 11 years after graduating from college and got 240 and practically every single course and determined that he wanted to practice law and he went into a practice a real estate and property any with a local lawyer. He couldn't have been happier. I didn't really practice law almost to the day. So it was a nice life and he was a good father. You'll still have a bed-and-breakfast out at your farm. Do you temporarily out of business really were temporarily right now with you soon as he lives next door unlocked on man. Who's a good for you for capturing some young man who lives there? No. No, he's an actor and a director and is now rehearsing for the next Shakespeare play at Barboursville ruins.

32:45 Do you have an active social life?

32:48 Not really.

32:51 I think of you want when you get that old.

32:54 How old are you 80 something 33 dad is 86 he's not yeah.

33:03 And one more thing. Do you remember my Aunt Nancy who died of leukemia? Yes, I do cuz we were we were all shy at that. I'm going I thought so I know what you was darling you at that age Ross try cuz you're taught to be seen and not heard.

33:28 Will you became very outgoing at some point sounds to me the source of all that is Your Mother and Daddy was an artist. I've just practice that's one way.

33:47 But I got you started out doing calligraphy art before I did. Kaliya. I mean I was messing around with art all my life calligraphy. I just discovered when I was 18 and that became just an interest or passion for a while and then

34:04 You really want to know all that stuff. I do want to know all that stuff. And now what are you doing all the same? I mean I continue to make art calligraphy is always sort of tangential interest because calligraphy so many things it's written trace of a Mark that people make that tried to communicate something that's what art is and that's what writing is that I kind of see the two of them mixed merge together. So I'm always exploring all those little connections between pictures and words and you don't limit yourself to one medium are never do any more hunting. I can't do it. Any I have to teach myself a lot of things is true.

34:45 And you're doing camps. I had a little summer camp that I do in the summer time for 2 weeks for with children is the all the contact I have with children in that way for the whole year and I love it in my garden and it's it's great to Little Summer money and I love doing it and not everybody knows how to make paper.

35:16 Where did you meet that famous writer in Washington?

35:22 John Casey my husband he's just this last day finished the last piece of a novel the end of it. It's spartina to yeah a good sandwich. We don't know yet. He doesn't know yet. He told me the other day that he was looking up at the sunset me had a name he had an idea for a title and then he told his agent about it and he said never look at a Sunset and try to think of a name of a title of a book. It's just going to be too corny and it was

35:57 But now I can't wait. I can't wait either.

36:01 It's the sequel to spartina The Story of Elsie.

36:06 When when do we get to go? Because it was submitting it and then yeah, it'll probably have to be hacked up a little bit and then maybe in the next 2, you know, what certainly year I think.

36:22 She's on record now better producer John. It's going into the Library of Congress.

36:30 Of question

36:33 2 posi why what's made you a social institution here in town?

36:41 I don't feel like an institution.

36:45 I just have been here a long time and somehow my path is crossed with a lot of people cuz I like people and nothing slows me down. I just get to know him or get to know what they're interested in. I can answer that. I have a lot of Worlds exactly there a lot of Worlds tomorrow world and Posey has a very distinct abilities and not everybody has to talk to everybody and anybody in exactly the same way and you better not be prejudiced or have no conceived ideas about anyting and in the end the touch of a reference that you have about everyone is actually helpful to

37:25 You know what? I mean? And I thoroughly enjoy the town that helps if you come into a town and you have your mind made up that you don't like it when you're not going to adapt to it at all and I was lucky enough. When we first moved to Charlottesville to live on a street with a family of old sisters that lived here forever. The father's been a judge. So I met everybody that way I got very involved with the church used to cook breakfast for the communicants ETC and teach Sunday school and what church always taught something upside Paul singing tan Memorial Church. Would you consider yourself a religious person? I don't know. What a religious person is now. I'm scared to think.

38:13 What is a religious person?

38:16 A devout person

38:19 What you got my own ideas, and I'm devoted to my church or its Concepts or something or other.

38:27 I'm not going to ask you too many questions about what that means cuz I don't know enough religion that tells me what to think or how to act.

38:44 I've been learning more about Quaker since my grandchildren been going to Tandem.

38:50 Amazing

38:54 But I'm not a quaker. I'm going to piss to pay and one of those liberal 1.

39:01 But that's why my life has been so broad is because then I got involved with horses and I also had cows so that's a whole nother world world all the cowboy cattle spit a lot of tobacco your way. All right.

39:31 An adult sticks out

39:35 Things that are just women like that's boring in the kitchen all the time. You better get outside your little bit of a rebel are you? Yeah, I hope

39:47 It's not always a good idea. But usually when I've been lucky it doesn't seem to me like it has had any any institution whether it's an Episcopal Church a country club or a or kind of a soda if I could hold you still very long with it.

40:04 It seemed like you were always kind of coming here around the back door.

40:09 You just have to take advanced cuz life is pretty short.

40:14 And I've been lucky lucky lucky. You had a good life with the best really but what else you need to say with that haven't you? I've had a great life to me too. And I wanted to continue that way and after a while you begin to live through your children that makes it even more exciting to do you have fun with your grandchildren? Yes, and I hope they have fun with me. They think I'm a bit outrageous.

40:41 However, my grandmother's cuckoo which is the most complimentary said it could have said about heaven.

40:58 Are we done?

41:04 Alright, so what are we going to do for the next minute of Our Lives r i z and sitting here in a metal box. We have to decide it's been a treat getting to know you love me.

41:16 It's been a fun interview.

41:19 I have no idea how this would go.

41:26 You're done.