Our blog begins today but our story is well underway. We have hopes and dreams for many years for our Gufler Mansion venture, but after almost three years of living and working in the mansion, the stories are accumulating and are waiting to be told.
The purchase of the 1917 mansion was, for the most part, a place for Susan and I to live, along with my 86 year old mother. Three years have passed, and today mom lives in an assisted living facility and Susan and I are here all the time. We opened the house for overnight guests about 6 weeks after Susan moved in, back in June 2016. Although the number of guests started low, and many days passed without any one visiting, the last several months we haven't had many days without someone staying in the mansion with us. As soon as people found out about the mansion being open to the public for overnight stays, special events began to be requested and today we have many more guests in our mansion at events than overnight guests.
I mentioned above that only Susan moved in June 2016 as it took 18 months for me to get move full time from our home in Colorado. During the 18 months of transition, Susan lived alone in the mansion, with my mom staying in the mansion's carriage house while I commuted monthly, only staying one week at a time with Susan, so much of the early stories are hers alone. Her early months in Emporia living in the mansion included working full time at the local hospital but she quickly found out the mansion demanded much more of her attention than was initially thought and by November, it became her full time job.
As my transition from Colorado to Emporia ended, my retirement began. Although I seem to have something to do with the mansion on a regular basis that might appear to be work to others, my time spent helping Susan doesn't feel like work as I experienced it over the years, so I consider myself retired. We both find our work at the mansion to be enjoyable and fulfilling and to be able to work together throughout the day helped build our relationship to the level of husband and wife; we were married in the mansion garden May 3 of this year. A combined family of 6 adult children and 7 grandchildren (with one on the way) resulted and we couldn't be happier.
As I write this initial entry into our blog, our mansion was full last night of people from two families who plan to have a wedding today at 4:30 in the same garden where Susan and I were married. We both commented to each other yesterday as everyone was setting up for the main event, we already don't remember many parts of our wedding but will again vicariously live through another's wedding and sweetly remember ours as a result. Maybe that captures why our lives, so intertwined with others' flowing through our daily lives via the mansion, feels so fulfilling. Our guests' experience becomes our experience; they may be on vacation, traveling through to another destination, graduating their children from schools, getting married or whatever generated the event or stay, but we experience their experience too.