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Growing Up in a Bed and Breakfast

Saturday, March 9, 2019

I’m often asked if I raised my children while running my bed and breakfast.

And the answer to that is “yes”. My oldest was 14 months old when I opened in 1989, and the other four were born into it.

The next question inevitably is, “How did it affect them?”

“They don’t know a life any differently, so hard to say,” I usually answer.

They are all adults now, and I would have to say, it’s been positive for them all. All of them were socialized with adults from the get-go. They were taught to address all adults as “Mr. Man” and Miss (or Mrs.) Lady”. (I didn’t require they learn anyone’s name, just that they be respectful). They carried this forward to addressing all adults as respectfully. They knew their boundaries, where they could play, to behave quietly when inside, playing rough and tumble, laughing and yelling outdoors only.

They adapted to this lifestyle and even embraced it. One couple who began coming in 1994, went on to have their first child two years later about the same time I had my fourth. The two kids sort of grew up together. All I had to say was Marlena’s parents re coming and Alex would get his room all cleaned up so they could play. If I told them Gordon was coming, a retired professor who also collected post cards, they would get excited. Gordon always brought them presents!

With the many thousands of guests over the last 29 years, from all over the world, the world has come to them on a daily basis.The have 1996 Olympic pins from a Norwegian guest. A boomerang from an Australian guest. A set of carved wooden safari animals from a Kenyan guestAnd a collector's spoon from Naperville, IL has hung on our Christmas tree since 1997.

As early as they wanted to help mommy, I had them do easy chores. They could empty the trash, carry down the dirty linens and fetch this or that from another part of the house. When older, they could help me flip rooms. When we do special events, they were--and still are--recruited to be servers and bussers during events. One son is especially good at plating food beautifully--he worked in the kitchen with with me!

They all developed skills they have taken into adulthood from living in the family business.

And they have all come to love the bed and breakfast and their home, along with all of the memories of both family and of their favorite guests.