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“Always” by Irving Berlin

  • Posted on February 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm

The other day on Facebook one of the challenges to the older generation was to mention something that the younger people would not understand without explanation.  My two word comment was- Irving Berlin.  Later that day, my oldest daughter, messaged me and said, “What is Irving Berlin?”  Here is my wordy explanation….

Irving Berlin  is not a “what” but a “who.” He immigrated to the United States as Israel Baline from Russia when he was four years old.  His parents were fleeing from Jewish persecution.  They settled in New York and and in the early 1900′s he was a singing waiter, pianist and received his first major hit in 1911- “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”  He became known as the King of Tin Pan Alley and he wrote hundreds and hundreds of songs including the most popular of  secular Christmas songs- “White Christmas.”

He also wrote “God Bless America” for WWI but because he was Jewish the publishers did not believe this song would be well received by the American public and so it sat on the shelf until the coming of WWII when a radio singer by the name of Kate Smith, who was looking for a patriotic song to sing on her radio show,  chose “God Bless America” and it became an American standard.  Sadly, many people do not know this song today and its important significance.

Irving married young but his wife contracted typhoid fever on their honeymoon and she died of this infection just four months later.  When in his 20′s, he met another woman with whom he fell in love.  Because she was an heiress and Irving was a Jew her father did not approve and sent his daughter to Europe.  It was while his sweetheart was abroad that he wrote the song- “Always.”

Everything went wrong,
and the whole day long
I’d feel so blue.
for the longest while
I’d forget to smile,
then I met you.
Now that my blue days have passed
Now that  I’ve found you at last –
I’ll be loving you, always
With a love that’s true, always

When the things you’ve planned
Need a helping hand
I will understand
Always, always

Days may not be fair, always
That’s when I’ll be there, always

Not for just an hour
Not for just a day
Not for just a year
But always

Dreams will all come true
Growing old with you
And time will fly
Caring each day more
Than the day before
Till spring rolls by
Then when the springtme has gone
Then will my love linger on

When his beloved returned from Europe, they were married even though she remained estranged from her father.  The Berlins had five children.  Their only son was born on December 1, 1928 but ironically enough, he too contracted typhoid fever and died on Christmas Day.  After this sadness came to his daughter she heard from her father and they were no longer separated.  The Berlins were married for 62 years.  Mr. Berlin outlived his wife and died at the age of 101.

When I was searching for a song that echoed the lessons of love learned from Lovebirds or Doves I heard this song playing on my Beautiful Instrumentals channel on DirectTV in the middle of the night.  I knew at once it was the perfect song!  I got up out of bed and wrote it down so I would not forget.

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Screenshot 2017-02-13 04.54.50

Lovebirds is my theme at Holly House during  this most romantic of months- February.

I wanted to share this vintage- 1925 song with my guests as part of our authentic historic experience that we try to provide.  Usually, I am accompanied by our 1918 Fisher player piano, but the rendition of this beautiful ballad was turned more into an upbeat, jazz version.  In keeping with the romantic theme I wanted a version more along the lines of this:

Always by Deanna Durbin   Click here

When I was in high school, taking voice lessons, I studied the songs that Deanna sang.  She was a contemporary of Judy Garland, the girl with a tear in her voice.  I think I wanted to be a blend of both these iconic singers who sang these heartfelt melodies and lyrics that were part of these lovely ballads that graced the movie musicals.  I loved watching this type of movie when I was young.

I was able to find a Harry Nillson instrumental version of this song on You Tube and this morning I recorded the music and my voice using my Iphone and Mac Book!  Not the best for recording but I wanted to send this to my Valentine.  When I told my daughter about the romantic history of this song she said I should write the story so I did.

Here is my version of Always:

Always- Irving Berlin’s song as sung by Judy Archibald  Click here


(Click picture to enlarge)


Happy Valentine’s Day!



MOMENTS- A Holly House of Hamilton Acrostic

  • Posted on February 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm

This weekend I celebrated with my guests the theme for the month- Lovebirds.  I thanked my guests for taking a moment from their lives to plan a memory here at Holly House.   Sometimes moments spontaneously happen and they touch our hearts but generally, I believe, making a special memory takes planning.  Here is my MOMENTS acrostic for Holly House of Hamilton.

M- is for Memories.  When a moment is celebrated in a special way it makes a lasting impression- a memory.  Accumulated memories represent a life.  Taking the time to acknowledge occasions builds a lifetime of moments to hold in the heart.  A trip to a Bed and Breakfast is a unique opportunity to make moments into a  memory.

O- is for Opportunity.  Do not let the tyranny of the urgent rob you of the opportunity to celebrate a moment.  Sometimes this is easier said than done.  Recently, I had a Doctor visit with his spouse. The well thought out plan of the wife to spend a quiet, unheralded weekend with her husband was robbed by the call of his duty to patients at the emergency room.  It is hard when work, children, circumstances of life, duties, weather, and whatever, rob us of the opportunity for a pleasurable moment that is out of the ordinary.  It is important to try and take the opportunities afforded.

M- is for Me- Judy.  I had some guests this weekend that had never stayed at a Bed & Breakfast .  I told them how we are different from a chain of hotels and how each B&B is individually owned and reflects the styles and tastes of each owner and the building that is used for hospitality purposes.    My Holly House of Hamilton is a reflection of me!  It is everything that I love!  It represents the things in my life that I have cherished and built my life upon- faith, marriage,  family, friends, hope and optimism, the pursuit of happiness, home, patriotism, work, practicing hospitality,  a love of history, sentiment and romance, music, birds and little creatures, antiques, crafts, cooking, interior decoration,  collections, attention to detail, frugality,  saving and reusing things…..All of this comes together to create a place where I find happiness .  A home that I love to share with others.  I truly do.

E- is for Emotional Response  When I used to teach my children, I told them that they are made up of three individual and special parts- Body, Soul and Spirit.  We each have a physical body with a living spirit- the breath of life.  Our soul, is also called the heart and  it holds many things within, including the emotions.  A moment that is remembered touches us in the heart and calls forth an emotional response.  An example.  I worked very hard this month developing a theme based on Lovebirds.  On my online reservation form, one of my guests had responded to the question, “What is the reason for your visit?”  She had replied, “Love bird getaway.”   I thought that was so sweet I decided to build a theme around it.  Yesterday that theme came together for me personally and I probably overdid it with my guests, but after breakfast  as I was standing at my kitchen window, my favorite place in the house, I was humming to myself the song that I found that illustrated the love of the lovebirds best to me.  As I was doing my dishes and singing to myself there appeared at my bird feeder a pair of doves.  I actually screeched in delight and ran for my camera to prove that I was not hallucinating!  Alas, when I returned they had gone.  When I recounted this tale to my daughter she replied that some moments are not meant to be captured in a picture.  That brought to mind the story of Mary in the Bible who pondered all of her wondrous circumstances in her heart.  The point?  I had my own personal little miracle touch my heart in an overflowing emotional response to a moment that I will never forget.  A moment that prompted me to write this blog post so I can recall it in some distant day!  This house with it’s long history, steeped in romance from the day it began, and who’s  story continues until this day, may hopefully touch your heart in a moment.

N- is for Nature,  I live in a place that is referred to as the Garden Spot of Georgia.  I encourage each one to escape from the city, traffic, noise, crowds, hustle and bustle….Something happens when you connect with nature.  A Facebook friend posted a video walk by a creek today.   I was transported just by watching that experience.  I commented that  all that Holly House lacks is a babbling brook, except that at the end of the walking trail behind the house there is a little stream that is almost hidden by brush.  You can hear it if you listen, really listen!    Or,  if you like the excitement of nature, here in our community, you can ride the rapids down the Chattahoochee River, an exhilarating moment!  Even listening to birds can be wondrous!  Enjoying Nature captures moments to remember! We are close to  Callaway Gardens  who’s purpose is to “connect mankind and nature in a way that benefits both.”  Georgia’s largest state park,  FDR, is just 4 miles from our door.

T- is for TIME.  None of us knows how many days our life will consist and life as we know it can change in a moment.   Here at Holly House it is  our desire to to make warm and happy memories while we embrace the past in this pretty old home and celebrate the present.  That is our desire for you as you spend time here.   We cannot make it a goal for you because each of us must determine how we will spend the moments that are allotted to us and choose with what we fill our days.  It is my hope that your life will be spent building brief periods of time into memories that will bring happiness to your hearts and homes.  Take the time!  Use your moments wisely.

S- is for Satisfaction  As you grow older and you look back over the moments of your life you can see how your time was spent.  If you have built on things that are good, there is a satisfaction and a happiness that comes, a peace in your soul.  Yes, we will always be plagued by the should have, could have, would have, but in general if we heed the call of our heart to share what has been given, there is a joy in that.  Build your life on moments filled with faith, hope, peace, joy, kindness, self-control, love and gentleness with those that are placed around you and there will be a contentment and happiness to your life’s moments.  It is true that “life is just so daily,” but it is in the little things, the ordinary days,  that life is built.  Take courage, fight against the darkness and crown your life with happiness and occasionally take the time to celebrate some  moments with me at Holly House!



Smocksin’ and Slatherin’!

  • Posted on December 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Today Holly House hosted a Southern Gentleman who was born and raised in North Central Florida.  Since he and his lovely wife were my only guests this morning they had their breakfast  made to order. Little did I know what was to come!  I was asked to prepare sausage, biscuits and gravy.  I would learn about how true Southerners like to eat these fixins’!

First- We take a Buttermilk Biscuit which must be crisp on the outside, yet flaky and soft on the inside.  Such as this one:



Then we prepare to “SMOCK.”  Now, this was a term I had never heard before but here you will  see what this term means


Basically, we are going to smother our biscuit with the gravy until the biscuit is obliterated.  THEN we are going to SLATHER.

Now slather is a term used  by another fine Southern Gentleman- Mark Twain.  e.g.slather ”spread liberally,” 1866 (in MarkTwain), from a noun meaning ”large amount” (usually as plural, slathers), first attested 1857

So what we are going to see now is our entire breakfast plate of sausage, eggs and biscuit in preparation to be slathered.

And then finally we see our entire breakfast smocked and slathered!



Now, when my regional guests from North Florida ask me for this breakfast here is the question I am to ask.  (I actually wrote it down in my computer notes so I would get it right.)  Are you ready for the question?  Here it is:  ”Do you want your biscuit smocked down with gravy or do you want that gravy on the side?”  And then, “Do you want extra gravy to slather your breakfast?”

What a fun morning this was!  Oh, I did pass this breakfast challenge and the smocksin’ and slatherin’ was a success and my guest left with a well satiated stomach.

Oh, I forgot!  It is appropriate to offer a “Dessert” biscuit with your breakfast.  This is a biscuit that can be smocked with butter and local honey.  My honey comes from a Fortson beekeeper, a town here in Harris County  I am told that this probably does not hold up to the North Florida honey!  However, my guest did enjoy TWO dessert biscuits this mornin’ and just for good measure I sent him on his way home with TWO biscuits that he can enjoy with his own local honey!  A good time was had by all!


Identify How to Showcase Your Best Self

  • Posted on July 2, 2016 at 7:32 pm

“A well-defined personal brand allows you to:

  • Identify how to showcase your best self.”

In 1990 I became a Shoebox to Showcase consultant. I taught people how to take their photographs that were often stuffed in shoeboxes and make showcase scrapbook albums that preserved their best picture memories in a responsible and engaging manner.  Those moments captured in time were then enjoyed in books that were readily accessible.   What was once hidden came alive in words and pictures, no longer shut away and out of sight but revealed in a new format.

As I read this title “Identify How to Showcase Your Best Self” I was thinking, what is it that is within me that I want to reveal to others in a genuine and memorable way?  These are some of the traits I have identified in myself.

* Love of history.  Living in a home that is 135 years old that envelops all that time and life events  is very meaningful to me.  I like being a caretaker of old things and relating them to the present in a way that shows their charm and lasting value.  This leads to my brand slogan- Embracing the Past- Celebrating the Present

* Love of Music.  According to my Mother’s story, I sang before I talked.  The song she said I sang in my toddler years was from Sunday School- Hallelu, Hallelu.  I grew up loving to sing at church and with my Dad.  I learned to play the accordion.  I was active in high school  choirs and madrigal groups and was chosen to sing in a group called The Young Americans.  I love America’s musical heritage and sharing songs in our Music Room/Parlor is an expression of how people entertained themselves when this house was young.  Serenading couples in love with the most popular song of 1910, Let Me Call You Sweetheart while accompanied by our 1918 Fischer player piano has brought me great joy.  I LOVE to sing in the house!  With its high ceilings and hard reflective surfaces, the acoustics make your voice sound better than it is.

*Love of Liberty.  I believe The United States of America is a country that allows the fullest expression of liberty in recorded history.  Internal spiritual liberty based on biblical principles gave birth to a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights.  It has taken years for that fullest expression of freedom to be revealed, but in my lifetime, as a woman, the choices that have been available to me are without comparison.  I believe the internal is causative to the external.  I want to share with others my love of this country, its principles of freedom and to honor those who protect our liberties with their lives.

*Love of  Home and Family.  One thing I love about this home is telling its history.  A young girl, 16, falls in love with an older man,  all of 23 years of age, an attorney,  who is living at her parent’s boarding house.  He proposes.  She marries him on her 17th birthday.  They have 11 children in their 22 years together before they are parted by his sudden death.  She continues as a young widow, just 40 years old, to raise their 9 living children in this house and she cares for her aging Mother.   She lives 46 more years without the presence of her husband in this home.  For almost 70 years her life was lived in this place.  Margaret’s  life as a woman, wife, young mother, homemaker, widow, and daughter is exemplary and one that I like to honor. Although I have no family written record of her life what I can piece together from government, ancestry, military, and cemetery clues, weaves together a touching story.

*Never too old to dream.   For 38 years my life consisted of home and family in California.  After the death of my parents, the reaching of my children to adulthood, a recession that seemed like it would never end, the return of my toddler grandchildren and their parents to Columbus, Georgia from Germany with the United States Army, the moving of my son to Savannah, Georgia, and the opportunity to play house in a Vernacular Victorian home in the countryside while showcasing what I love best in life, is living a dream come true.  It is my “Happily Ever After.”

*A Gift for Hospitality.  Within me is a love of serving others in a playful, entertaining manner.  I love to create themes in many outlets. Interior decoration is part of sharing shelter and my natural outlet is to create spaces and experiences that reflect different ways of viewing everyday life.  Creating guest rooms that take on an atmosphere that reflect my different themes has been a rewarding and worthwhile individual expression of how I present my Bed and Breakfast to the world.  It has given me an outlet to express my love of making a home.  Cooking and providing food is also a part of hospitality.  Creating tempting dishes and presenting them in a manner that is pleasing is a way of to present my love of cooking.  Also, the hospitality industry requires one to put on their best self every day.  There is no room for a grumpy, selfish hostess.  This profession has taught me to look on the brighter side of life and to put away gloom and despair.  This has been good for me because in my natural state I can be rather melancholy.  Serving others is a definite way to showcase your best self.

*An opportunity to be true to yourself.  I am at an age where I can dress as I please with a nod to eccentricity.  If I want to dress up every day in a long dress, petticoat and pinafore with lace accents and vintage jewelry, I can!  This is a direct correlation to what I loved in childhood and my teenage years.  My Mother loved having a little girl to dress up, curl her hair, play house and provide a happy childhood.  Coming of age in the hippie era with its throw back to Victorian fashion suited me very well.  Jessica McClintock and Gunne Sax were my favorite designers.  Even today, as I write, I am wearing a skirt fashioned from my dress from over 40 years ago!  I love femininity and gingham, chintz, cotton, lace, ruffles, eyelet, rustle, details, and being able to wear those fashions in a house that once knew them in real time is a fantasy that I like to play every day!  Sharing my reality of fashion is a way I express my unique sensibilities to my guests and another way I embrace the past as I celebrate the present.  My guests get to play along with their hostess.

*An opportunity to share what has been given.  I have lived a very blessed life.  Parents who loved each other, a joyful  childhood, a loving marriage,  a faith that is real,  the gift of children, no poverty, trials and burdens that added to character and did not create bitterness or defeat.  My husband has given me the opportunity to live a life as as an individual woman and to use my talents and abilities in another realm outside of my home and family in California.

I have been granted the opportunity to showcase my best self as the innkeeper here at Holly House.  These are some of the ways that I showcase these traits and create my own personal brand that reveals my individuality.


One Step at a Time- The Journey Continues….

  • Posted on June 30, 2016 at 10:46 am

It was just a few short years ago that I wrote a Business Plan for opening a Bed and Breakfast in Hamilton, Georgia.  This was a necessary tool to present my goal  and  vision to the bank to try and secure financing to purchase my home.  With that initial step completed, the securing of the property, came more steps for getting the business up and running.  Business license, decoration and furnishing  of 6000+ empty square feet, producing website, Zoning Board,  Planning Commission, City Council, Public Health, bank account, business cards and brochures, marketing…….innumerable steps!  But, I did it!

Then, along the way, came this word:  BRANDING!    I did not have a clue what this meant, but I made it my goal to find out what it is and to try and define it in my own personal life and business.  Your life takes on greater meaning if you know who you are and what are your desires and goals for living this life.

Here is an excerpt from an article at  Entrepreneur.com.  It is excellent in helping understand what branding is and how it applies to all of us.  The complete article can be found here:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/273589

“A well-defined personal brand allows you to:

  • Identify how to showcase your best self.
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Stand out from your peers and competition.
  • Build your “tribe” (others who share the same values).
  • Be human and have more meaningful interactions with others.
  • Establish credibility.
  • Demonstrate your value through your actions.
  • Elevate your social proof.
  • Solidify your niche.
  • Convey your message and values.
  • Be more confident.

Moreover, it is important to understand that everyone has a personal brand, whether you want one or not. It is defined by everything you do, from what you wear to how you compose emails to how you conduct yourself on the phone.”

In my future blogs, I hope to write about my own personal brand and how I have applied that to my business brand which is in reality an extension of me!

I am thankful for these 3 1/2 years and how the haved help me grow in so many ways- one step at a time!

Have you read it lately?

  • Posted on June 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm

As we embrace the past and celebrate the present there are days that come in our nation’s history that have particular meaning.  In 1885 the pieces of the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, arrived in America. The statue officially was unveiled in 1886.

Holly House was built in 1880.. I wonder if the inhabitants of my home, at that time, would have read the news in our local paper The Harris County Journal.  A poignant headline….

According to the statue historian Barry Moreno, it “was never built for immigrants.”

“It was,” he recalled, “built to pay tribute to the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, American democracy, and democracy throughout the world. It honored the end of slavery, honored the end of all sorts of tyranny and also friendship between France and America.”

It was not until 1903 that part of the poem by Emma Lazarus was mounted on her pedestal that would endear her to immigrants as a symbol of welcome.

Have you read it lately?

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed,sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

My favorite phrase, “yearning to breathe free…..”
What is yours?


Disney World and Me….

  • Posted on June 17, 2016 at 9:56 am

-20 million people visit Orlando Florida’s Disney World every year! This is the most visited theme park in the world.

-At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa rooms start at $569 a night before taxes

I am contemplating these statistics!

These 20 million people are not me! My dream vacation does not include an artificial land. I would rather find my happy spot in a real life world.

I am thankful for the 1000 people each year who come to Holly House in tiny Hamilton, Georgia to share a warm and happy memory in this historic home. Here we celebrate simple pleasures…..rocking, flowers, cookies, sleep and rest, music, walks, love expressed, smells….

Just yesterday, I was sitting in the swing on the front porch while my guests, who were celebrating 57 years of marriage together were rocking in the two rockers. They were sipping freshly brewed coffee and eating peanut butter and chocolate kiss cookies. As I swayed back and forth in the swing the smell of the magnolia in bloom wafted through the air. I felt enchanted. Here I was enjoying the love of this sweet couple, taking a break from the duties of my life and just rejoicing in the fact that I am alive! I was making a warm and happy memory and I was not even on vacation!

What could be better than this? For me, it is not Disney World…..There is so much sadness in Orlando this week. Too much to try and understand. Just feeling compassion for this hurting place and the reality of life and death that can happen in the human happiness capital of the world. I will stay here in my haven and try and capture my moments of fleeting happiness…..Hold tight to the moments of love.

It happened at Runnymede…..

  • Posted on June 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Just a little over 800 years ago today, King John signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede, near Windsor, England. What you may ask does that have to do with my celebrating the present today?

A seed was sown on that day proclaiming to the world that the Divine Right of Kings to sovereignly rule over the actions of men, and eventually women, was coming to an end. This noble stream of liberty which was born in England found its greatest fruition in the soil of America.

Let us value our freedom and liberty and not exchange it for license to do whatever we want. Liberty and law is the foundation of our nation built on Christian principles. In the last one hundred years the roles of women have been changing and this equality we have achieved under the law has granted us choices unseen before in history. My prayer is that the hearts of women will hear what is the highest calling and make that a high priority in their lives.

For me, as a woman, this internal and external freedom has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. To be thought of as separate but equal by my husband and under the law has given me the liberty to pursue desires of my heart. This kind of a supportive relationship could never have been foreseen by those Lords at Runnymede. I embrace this day in history.

It could happen to anyone, right?

  • Posted on May 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

Well…..Yesterday, I posted about my sloppy self!  Today, it happened again!

My Swedish Guests enjoy a breakfast of yogurt, fresh fruit, coffee and juice.  Four days in a row!  I mix two Greek, low sugar, plain yogurt cartons with a 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt to make it just a bit more flavorful.  As I go to toss the two empty white yogurt cartons into the trash can, they hit the rim and the remaining mushy mess splatters out of the tubs onto the black flowered door carpet, the trashcan, the floor, and my patriotic, navy blue white star decorated jumper!

Shall we look on the bright side?  The trash receptacle got scrubbed, the carpet was cleaned and the floor is gleaming!  As for me, my stars are once again glowing!


Do YOU ever hear your Mother’s voice in your head?

  • Posted on May 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm

This morning as I was preparing homemade buttermilk waffles for eleven…….I was scooping the powdered sugar out of the bag with a spoon and gently placing in the pretty little Bird & Strawberry Bowl I use to serve with my antique silver sugar shaker spoon.  All of sudden, the side of the plastic bag collapses and all this powdered sugar, in it’s fine white floating mess,  goes all down the front of the dishwasher, the front of my red gingham pinafore and onto the floor.  Immediately, I heard this voice say, “Judy, don’t be so sloppy.”  Now, who’s voice was that?  I know I didn’t intend to be sloppy.  Maybe I am just accident prone! But here I am, arguing with this comment, actually talking back!    I mean it’s not like I wanted to have a a white, dusty disaster all over the place!

All I can say in my defense, is that with age I am getting better at NOT being messy!  Another advantage of lots of practice in the kitchen!

I love you, Mama and miss hearing your voice in person!