A Florida Fiddler: The Life and Times of Richard Seaman

By Gregory Hansen | Go to book overview

9
A Florida Fiddler

No thoughtful student of folklore can possibly become a chauvinist.

—Sigurd Bernhard Hustvedt*

In the late 1980s, Richard Seaman picked up his fiddle from the mantelpiece and began playing once again. While working at Paschal and Shaw's Hardware, he had met Jack Piccalo, a bluegrass banjo player and salesman in the hardware business. They found that they shared mutual interests in music, and Richard explains that Jack encouraged him to play his fiddle once again. Richard found that he could remember a few of the hoedowns, and Daisy helped him to relearn some of the tunes that he had forgotten. Jack would come to visit the Seamans, and he played guitar with Richard after Daisy passed on in 1986. Richard and Daisy Seaman were married for fifty-six years.

I met Jack at a bluegrass jam session in Jacksonville in July 1988. In early August, he introduced me to Richard. We spent an evening recording tunes at Richard's home. I was to return many times to play with Richard and record more tunes and stories. As Jack and I were driving back from our first visit with Richard, he asked me if there was any possibility that I could help to open up a spot for Richard to perform on stage at the Florida Folk Festival as well as in the schools. I agreed with Jack that Richard's storehouse of tunes and stories is a treasure worth sharing with audiences and that I would offer my assistance. Recommending Richard to the Florida Department of State's Florida Folklife Council, I was given the opportunity to help him find new performance venues. Over the years, Richard has played for thousands of children in Duval County's

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