An unexpected connection to the inn

I had a call in January from Cynthia who booked three rooms at the inn for she and husband Albert, son David and his wife Patty, and granddaughter Sarah. From the initial phone call with Cynthia, I knew that she was going to be a lovely person. We chatted for a while and found out that she and my dad went to the same high school just a few years apart. Her family was coming from far and wide to meet up in Lancaster to show Sarah the area where grandma grew up.

Cynthia and Albert were the first to check in on their weekend in mid March. As they unpacked and got ready for the mini family reunion, Cynthia pulled out photo albums that dated from her father’s childhood. She was flipping through the pages when I heard her yell my name and knock loudly on my door. I ran to see if she was okay only to find her with a grin from ear to ear and holding up a picture of MY HOUSE dating from the nineteen-teens. We couldn’t believe it!!

Cynthia found Walnut Lawn just by a google search of B&Bs in the Lampeter-Strasburg vicinity. She had no idea that Walnut Lawn was actually a family home of hers. I had a bit of history of the house that the previous innkeepers had pieced together through the years. I only knew the name of the original owner, Esther Weaver (who also happens to have a personal connection to a dear family friend of mine). The date the house was actually built remained a mystery, though, ranging somewhere between 1909 and the 1920s. Well, with Cynthia’s pictures we narrowed it down quite considerably. There are photos of Cynthia’s father, Paul, and aunt Flossy at the front porch with their aunt Esther Weaver.

 

Esther Weaver (first owner of the home) on the left in the white dress. Cynthia's father, Paul is the boy to her right.

Esther Weaver (first owner of the home) on the left in the white dress. Cynthia’s father, Paul is the boy to her right.

Cynthia's father Paul is the boy on the sidewalk looking away from the camera with the shorts and tie.

Cynthia’s father Paul is the boy on the sidewalk looking away from the camera with the shorts and tie. Aunt Flossy is the younger girl in the dress and belt just in front of Paul

Paul was born in 1910 and could not have been more than 4 or 5 years old at the time of the photo. Perhaps the family gathering was one of celebration welcoming Esther and husband Mylin into their new home.

Cynthia called upon her cousin to help piece together a few more bits and give names and histories to some faces in the photos. The house doesn’t look one bit different in the last 100 years, but it is amazing to see the sprawling fields in the background where the Methodist church now stands. And there are tiny trees planted in the front yard that I can only hope are now my shade-giving behemoths.

Before Cynthia left, I took a photo of her on the front yard that mimics one of her aunt Flossy one-hundred years before.  Amazing!Cynthia Bowyer

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