Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hotel Van


Here's the way I heard it. A young crewman on a ship in the Mediterranean met a young woman from one of the "better" Willits families on a cruise. The two married. He came with her to live in Willits. They bought the Hotel Van, one of the swank accommodations in town at the time. She died at some point, and he moved away. But he kept the hotel, the upstairs all vacant, and has it maintained only just barely up to code standards, so it can't be condemned. It is rumored he always felt snubbed by the people in his wife's circle, the white gloves and hats set. On just about the most prominent corner in town, this empty shell of a building was how he responded, apparently. He must be nearly a century old, somewhere, if he still lives. If this happened, it was a very long time ago. I wonder about such old stories, and how many embellishments have been added over time, since this one sounds so much like Romeo and Juliet. It seems to be the handy answer whenever conversations come up like, "Wouldn't that make a great International Youth Hostel?" or culinary school, or elder housing, or... But after all, it might just have earthquake problems. Who knows?

The few shop spaces that are currently occupied, at street level, are now, finally, all leased by immigrants. Thankfully for the town, because they all have fine businesses.

7 comments:

Dina said...

So strange a story.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I like hotels but remember the days before fire escapes and laws about them when Indianapolis hotels had ropes with knots to throw out the window and shinny down on. I was just a kid under ten at the time but that rope was a huge thing all coiled up by the window. I was so glad when we could leave the next day. So this hotel is nice and so is the tale behind it. Sounds good to me too.

Thanks for the name Tickseed. I have small tickseed here too and knew its name and its color is also yellow. LOL.

Thanks again.

Louis la Vache said...

Flag Day.

Jim said...

I love the story, true or not.

Petrea said...

A beautiful story, true or not. And a beautiful photo, true. Wouldn't it be nice to get a peek upstairs? Maybe one of the tenants knows how.

Jana said...

Stories in small towns always make you wonder! Great photo and story!

Kym said...

I've always wondered about that building when I drive through. I love the story.