I’m WAY late for last week’s challenge, Heritage, but I knew what I wanted to do as soon as I saw it. Bad weather and a fall that left me home bound for several days got in the way but I still wanted to do it.
Most who are familiar with U.S. history know of Henry Clay, but his home, Ashland, is a special place here in Lexington. And I have a couple of tenuous links in the Henry Clay story that mean it always feels special to me.
When I was about 10 my aunt Mary Jane decided it was time for me to see Ashland and that I had to read a bio of Henry Clay first. Her being her (bitchy, not hot for education), she got a huge, adult biography from the library and insisted that I read the whole thing first. The good news was I was already a reader and by then I was reading far ahead of my age level so it wan’t quite as onerous as it might have been, but MAN to 10-year-old me, that was one long SLOG. But I did it and it was such a triumph to finally get to do the tour of the house!
I’ve had many more visits. It’s not far from where I live and the grounds are open and free to wander, so I go walk around occasionally and I love to check in on the walled garden. At Christmas they decorate appropriately for the vintage and have special evenings with carols and staff dressed in costume, etc., something I like to do occasionally.
More recently, I’ve been off and doing research on both sides of my family. The Gaitskills have been in Kentucky since the 1790s and, as far as I can tell, it was one big family that came over here from Virginia at that time, so all the Kentucky Gaitskills are related. In one of the other branches of the family one of the Gaitskill clan married one of the Clay clan so I’m some level of cousin to some of the Clays. Obviously I’m not hopped up enough about that to have actually written down the info when I ran into it nor to pursue knowing any more 🙂 But kind of fun never-the-less.