2018 Newsletter

2018 – An anniversary Year. It seems incredible that Idlewyld is celebrating it’s thirtieth year of welcoming guests through its doors. Three decades. Where does the time go? For many guests, this will be a decade or more of returning, and for this we are so very grateful. Some have moved from guest status to dear friends. Idlelwyld has been a blessing for Dan and me beginning with year one, and it gets better each year. We thank you for your wonderfulness, your kindness and caring for us. It has been a two-way street for us. Idlewyld simply has the best guests anyone could hope for.

This year, as with previous years, in addition to Lakeside’s fun- and entertainment-filled summer weeks, Idlewyld has some special weekends: A women’s weekend in April to just do whatever we want – knit, quilt, read, walk, and a long list of things we love to do, some watercolor workshops, a yoga weekend in the planning. Check our website later this month on the Special Events Page to view the array of extras on the off-season (no gate fee) time in Lakeside. Hope for your return to Idlewyld and Lakeside. Question? Phone 216-402-8517 or e-Mail: barrisjr@aol.com.

Each year at this time, I sit down at my computer and say, what next? What subject can I write about? It’s always the time of writer’s block. For days, I angst about what to write about. This year it occurred to me that many of you don’t know “the rest of the story” about the beginnings of this adventure/journey we have been on for these thirty years. And, eureka, I remembered that I had written a story that I told at the Women’s Club last August that covers that very topic. Problem solved. I can use excerpts of the story for my letter, The story in its entirety will be available at the B&B this summer if anyone wants to know the whole story . . .

I found employment at BP America. Eventually, I got an assignment as secretary to the Director of Office Services. One of the departments under his direction was the Art Program. BP had purchased thousands of dollars of fine art to hang in the new BP Building. He ordered plaques with the artist’s name and a description of the piece to be written a young woman with a degree in fine art. When they arrived, I read each one and was shocked to see that they were poorly written—far from professional. The grammar, the tense, the flow was lacking. I knew with no doubt whatsoever that I could easily rewrite them. After all, I had had the best English teacher ever. And it was something I really wanted to do.

Because I worked for a boss who settled for “nothing but perfection,” I felt I had to say something. I walked into his office. ” . . . if you allow these plaques to be placed as they are now, you will be embarrassed.” I told him I could rewrite them. He turned me down flat. I asked if I could give him some examples, and the answer was still “no.” I was not qualified because I did not have a degree in art, which of course has nothing to do with grammar. And I was beyond unhappy.

I walked out of his office, landed with a thud in my chair, leaned back, took a deep breath, and thought. This is not what I want for my life. I’m just a little insignificant cog in a giant corporate wheel. Round and round to nowhere. I was at a pivotal time of my life.

Instead of the rewrite job I wanted so badly, I reached for a stenograph pad and began writing a dream. I wrote whatever came in my head. I wrote voraciously page after page about this old Victorian House we (of course, Dan would be a part of my dream) would buy–a fixer-upper. With many rooms, there would be one where grandmothers could read stories or play games with their grandchildren, a tiny restaurant where we would serve food that was healthy and good for those people on special diets. I added menus to the story. I decorated rooms–country style–the current fad. Pages and pages. My mind was racing with ideas . . .

Dan and I owned a summer vacation home on the shore of Sandusky Bay. On a weekend late in August, Dan went off a golf outing that left me alone to relax and do whatever I wanted. My niece Gail phoned and asked if she and her husband could stay with me because they were going to a marriage conference at the lodge in Lakeside led by Fr. Becker—a very entertaining speaker. Gail asked if I’d like to join them, and being alone and having nothing special planned, I tagged along. During the lunch break, Gail and I walked down Walnut with our destination being the Pavillion on the lake. t was a beautiful day, the temperature perfect. A peaceful stroll. A life-changing stroll.

We came to the corner of Fourth and Walnut. The day was balmy and I was enjoying the warmth—the calm. Gail interrupted my reverie with these exact words: “Oh, look, Auntie Joan’s Guesthouse. Let’s buy it for Auntie Joan.” I looked to my left and saw a for sale sign in the yard of a big old house badly in need of paint. There was another sign: Idlewyld Guest House. .

I remember the exact conversations that day between the two of us. I replied, “Well, I don’t know if we can afford it.” I was kidding, of course. Gail: “Do you want me to find out.” Me: “Sure.” Gail headed for the realtor’s office. While she’s off on her mission, I found someone I knew to talk to. By the time I get to the realtor’s office, Gail was coming out the door with some papers in her hand. Gail: “You can afford it.” This is a fun game I’m having with Gail. Me: “Well, since we can afford it, did you make an appointment to see it? Gail: “No, was I supposed to?” Game getting better all the time. “Yes, I need to see it if I’m buying it.” Gail disappears back into the realtor’s office. Gail comes out of realtor’s office Gail: “Ok, we can see it now.” So off we went with the realtor to inspect the old house. Room after room generated for me a delicious thought of a possible redo, and Gail thinking there were lots of rooms needing lots of help, and a rather cool house. Something in Gail likes planting seeds. Something in Joan likes fixing things.

When we returned to our cottage, I phoned Dan, and told he that needed to come to Bay Point because I had something I wanted him to see. He said it was raining in Cincinnati, the golf game wasn’t happening and he was going home. No, I said, you really need to see what I found. Dan and I are power shoppers. We made an offer on this old broken down house in need of just about everything and then some. But who said we had good sense. We spent the next eight months putting a new look on the interior, which included 100 rolls of wallpaper and 28 gallons of paint. Gail has never gotten over the feeling of astonishment at the events she put into place. We welcomed our first guests on Memorial weekend 1989.

About five years later, I realized that many of the things I’ve experienced prepared me for the multiple tasks of running a Bed & Breakfast. But the most astonishing revelation was that I had actually written Idlewyld into existence in that long-ago disposed of stenographer’s notebook. My thoughts had become reality. There is a higher power that wants us to fulfill our dreams and will time and time again put out the resources for us to reach out for and grab on to; and, when the time is right – BAM.

I hope you enjoyed my story. Looking forward to your return this summer. And that you stay warm and cozy through the winter. And we’re interested in hearing your stories as well.

Our very best from our house to yours. Happy New Year!!!!

Dan and Joan

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