Linking up with Carrie of Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday. My favoritest linky of all!
The story goes like this:
I've lived in the same small town on and off since I was thirteen years old, making my baby sister five when we first settled down there. We're practically natives. The St. Charles Inn bed-and-breakfast is run by a dear friend of my mother's, and my middle siblings grew up in the classroom and as friends with her two sons. In-between my year of undergraduate and graduate studies, I spent a lot of time at the Inn; it was a place of sanctuary and quiet beauty, where I took refuge behind the wooden paneled doors of unoccupied bedrooms decked in lace curtains, country quilts, and ceramic wash basins, at a time when the noise and bluster of my busy family did not commend itself well to the turbulent and precarious stage of my life. I also cultivated a good friendship with her second son, who is now a strapping firefighter with a promising career before him.
When I got married, I knew that this was the place I wanted to be when I put on my wedding dress. My bridesmaids and I got ready in the sweet-smelling suites of the St. Charles Inn on the morning of my wedding vows. I spent my seventeenth birthday there, and summers sitting out by the bonfire in the orange groves singing along to Dave Matthews, and lazy summer afternoons sleeping in out-of-the-way bedrooms, slumber parties with my girlfriends, and had my engagement photos shot there and my bridesmaids' breakfast hosted in the elegant, tall-windowed dining room.
The inn turned 100 years old today. It hasn't always been an inn; in it's day, it's seen careers from ice cream parlor to dilapidated haunted house. Now, every person who steps foot into the gorgeously restored kitchen is invited to stand against one of the two posts of the doorway to the walk-in pantry and have their height marked. It's tradition. There are so many names now on the doorposts that it's a fun game to try to find old favorites.
So today, we brought my two-and-a-half-year-old son to visit, and we ceremoniously stood him up against the white-painted wooden post and marked his height, writing his name and the date in black permanent marker.
Today, it seems, things have come full circle. Full century. Happy birthday, St. Charles Inn. May you see 100 more.