Thursday, September 02, 2004

John - John Slept Here

A block from Lake Superior in Bayfield, Wisconsin, is Greunke’s First Street Inn. It has been here for nearly 140 years, and has always been an inn. The floors on the second levels sag about 4 inches from the outside wall to the central hall. It has been redecorated, but not really remodeled. On the first floor is a dining room, festooned with memorabilia and old photos. One framed collage tells the story of the time about ten years ago when John Kennedy Jr. stayed here. The newspaper clipping tells the story, but there are no photos of John Jr.. The owner stated in the collage that they thought John would appreciate being treated like anyone else. I mused on this a while, and started to think about all of the people who stayed here, for whatever reasons, over the years.

Bayfield was a fishing town and a farming center. Now it is a vacation destination for sailors and kayakers. I had been here about twenty years ago, in my show biz days. The harbor had changed, a lot of pricey condos and time-shares had gone up, and the marina had expanded, but Greunke’s has remained the same. A funky boarding house-style inn: showers, sinks and toilets down the hall. A place stuck in a pleasant time warp. My reverie ended and I looked at the collage again. Right next to the cover of Newsweek with John's face on it was his signed guest register receipt.

Room Six. My room. Was that a good omen or ill?

By Professor Batty


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