History has always been one of my favorite subjects in school. This isn’t just because of what happened in the past but also because of what connects the past with the present and thus with the future. When I went to the US this summer, I experienced one of my most vivid and interesting dreams about one specific place there: The Gardens at Great Oaks in Roswell, Georgia. After going there on a hot summer’s day and listening to stories being told about the history of this place, I dreamt about it.
In my dream, I was travelling back in time to when the first family lived on this gorgeous estate. The house and gardens were a gift from a groom to his bride in 1842. My dream sent me back to exactly that day; the day of the wedding of Reverend Nathaniel Pratt and Catherine Barrington King. All the guests were gathered in the gardens after the happy couple’s ceremony. The maids and helps were busy preparing the wedding dinner in the outside and inside kitchens. Butlers were hurrying to get more cider for the guests and the couple to have a toast at that little pavilion that is still there today. After the toast, dinner was served in a building called Ajax Hall, which is across the meadow and not far away from the main house.
As it was getting dark outside, the maids were lighting hundreds of candles everywhere in the gardens, making it look so romantic and pretty. People were having good conversations or strolling around, enjoying the air getting cooler as it had been a really hot summer’s day. I can still feel the heat of the rays of sun touching my skin.
The next morning Mr. and Mrs. Pratt woke up to a wonderful symphony of the chirping of birds and the aromatic scent of roses as well as the warmth of the sun shining through their windows. Catherine Pratt got up and, only with her nightgown on, went down the stairs, through the narrow hallways of the house, passing by the living room with the superb piano and chess table, through the back porch with its rocking chair, into the beauty of her new gardens. That feeling she felt when she opened the last door keeping her inside was breathtaking. Catherine went outside, with bare feet, feeling the still damp grass between her toes. After passing the red carriage and all the little bird houses, she finally decided to sit down in the pavilion closest to Ajax Hall. She was surrounded by nature, listening and just relaxing.
When I woke up, I remembered everything as if it were real. I remembered everything as if I had been there. The next time I went to the Gardens at Great Oaks, I strolled through the estate the same way Catherine did in my dream, imagining what her and her new husband’s life might have looked like.
Author & Pictures: Susann Tallmadge