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Wow! Her Grandfather Was the Carriage Driver for President William Howard Taft

Monday, December 5th 2016. | Tips and Tricks

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In October 1909, my mom, Geneva Maze—a 15-yr-previous schoolgirl—stood patiently on a San Francisco road to see President William Howard Taft in a parade in his honor. The president possible was a memorable sight, however Geneva was extra impressed by the person driving Taft’s carriage. It was her father, Emile Maze.

Emile, a carriage driver since 1890, labored for an elite livery secure firm that catered to the rich of San Francisco. Shoppers anticipated perfection. As soon as a lady complained that her driver had just one button as an alternative of two on the again of his coat. She demanded he get replaced. Grandfather Emile had misplaced the button en path to the shopper’s home and had no selection however to return to the stables to have a brand new button sewn on.

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All drivers had a black silk prime hat and three lengthy coats, every akin to the colour of the car they have been driving. They adopted a stiff etiquette. Drivers didn’t assist riders into the carriage however stored their eyes gazing ahead, awaiting directions. They usually weren’t to take a look at their passengers however concentrate on the tails of the horses.

Doubtless his almost 20 years of expertise made my grandfather the only option to drive President Taft in 1909. On the day of the parade, he polished the maroon landau and groomed the 2 geldings, coincidentally named Taft and Sherman, after which donned his maroon coat.

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He stored his eyes on the horses whereas his passengers boarded. They included the mayor of San Francisco, Gov. James Gillett and Archibald Butt, the presidential aide who later died on the Titanic. When the landau sagged closely to at least one aspect, Emile knew that the hefty Taft had taken his seat. The carriage took a grand tour, winding alongside the streets of the town. The president was happy to see all the rebuilding because the earthquake of 1906.

On the finish of the parade, in entrance of the St. Francis Lodge, Emile checked out his passengers for the primary time. With a kindly smile, Taft put out his hand and Emile shook it. Then the president stated one thing to his aide, who handed my grandfather a $50 invoice— an unlimited tip for somebody who earned $2.50 a day.

Emile typically spoke of his day of glory and questioned if different presidents would have been so beneficiant. He appreciated to joke that Calvin Coolidge in all probability would have charged him $50 to shake his hand.

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