From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
DENVER, Colo. -- The last time 82-year-old Ann Hadfield attended the Democratic National Convention, she was in disguise.
The year was 1936.
Then the 10-year-old daughter of a Democratic state representative from Delaware, Hadfield wanted to see what all the fuss was about in Philadephia, where Franklin D. Roosevelt was poised to accept his party's nomination as its nominee. The trouble was that her dad was short one of the three extra seats he wanted in the first row of history; he hoped to bring along Hadfield, her 8-year-old sister, and their 11-year-old cousin to watch the goings-on.
They pulled it off.
"We had just been in a play at school," Hadfield recalls. So her enterprising dad dressed the children in their theatrical costumes -- as old-time Quaker kids.
The trick worked like a charm. Organizers whisked the kids to the center of the action, no questions asked.
"They thought we were a part of the show!" Hadfield laughs.
Ann doesn't remember much about the Philadelphia adventure except for the clandestine arrival. But she says that this year isn't all that different from '36. Then, Roosevelt swept to victory in an era when Americans clamored for change. Now, "there's also so much that needs to be done," Hadfield exclaims purposefully.
And, she adds while waiting to greet Michelle Obama on the tarmac of the airport here -- proudly showing off the Obama pins that adorn her paisley blazer -- Democrats have picked the right guy to get it done.
Ann doesn't remember much about her first convention, aside from the clandestine entry as an incognito kid. But it makes a darn good story to tell her fellow Pennsylvania delegates, who she'll join for the first time as an official attendee - 72 years after her first convention appearance.
Only this time, she'll probably need a credential.