It was my privilege to know Richard Seaman for over fifteen years. The story of Richard and Annie's courtship is an important part of their life histories, and it provides the context for the “Annie Seaman Waltz.” This tune has been picked up by fiddlers throughout Florida, and musicians who knew Richard often tell the story when introducing the waltz. I feel that his musical life history is concluded with this story, but the historical record needs completion.
I returned to Florida in March 2000 when I accepted a position as a folk arts coordinator with the Florida Folklife Program. I continued to interview Richard and document his stories and tunes while in Florida, but I also spent numerous afternoons visiting Richard and Annie when I could make the trip across the state from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. One morning I had a call from Richard. When I asked how he was doing, he told me he was “all busted up.” He had taken a fall at home and was in a nursinghome recocovering from surgery. I visited him that weekend, and he was in good spirits, feeling more embarrassed than in pain about his accident. A few weeks later, his doctors released him and he returned to his active life.
Shortly after he came home, Richard called me once again. This time it was Annie who had fallen. After surgery she convalesced in a nursing home, but she didn’t pull through the recovery period. Annie Johns Bivins Seaman died on March 7, 2001.