Question: How did you get interested in operating a bed and breakfast business?
Answer: The first year we were married we lived in Germany. That's how you saw Europe, was at bed-and-breakfasts. We had a little book called "Europe on $5 a Day," and the only way you could accomplish that was by staying in bed-and-breakfasts. But their concept of breakfast was different from what we Americans are used to. They did hard rolls and jams and jellies and tea or coffee, and that was it.
The very first one we did was in Holland, and it was by far the best one. ... The innkeeper was wonderful. You ate in her kitchen, and she was cooking and talking to you at the same time and giving you all this wonderful advice about where to go.
Years passed, and we got into historic homes. We had one up on Adams Street and a friend of mine brought me a newspaper clipping and the headline said, "B&B's come to Missouri." So I tried to market it as a bed-and-breakfast, but that never happened. It stuck in the back of my mind. We later sold the house and moved out to the country for five years. We were looking to move back into town and the same friend of mine ... was a real estate agent and she said she had a house to show me that would make a great B&B.
Q: Share some of the history of the home at 203 Bellevue St. in Jackson, where you operate TLC Bed and Breakfast.
A: It was started in 1904 and finished in 1905. It was owned by H.H. Mueller Jr. and his wife Rilla. He was the bookkeeper for the family business, a meatpacking plant. He was the oldest son of nine children. He purchased the land from his father in 1901, saved his money and built the house when he was single for a grand $1,500. He rented it out and it was paid for by the time he got married in 1911. Their only daughter, Millicent, was born here in 1912. She played the piano and her dad bought her a baby grand when she was 12. Her dad didn't want to heat the upstairs, so she would sleep in the parlor with her baby grand. He eventually put in a coal furnace.
Q: What was it like raising your family in your business?
A: The house has four guest rooms and three other bedrooms. We raised our boys in it, and they were instrumental in the operation. They played the piano, and we had a baby grand sitting out here. The youngest one would entertain and the other one was a great storyteller. He embellished a bit, but he knew enough of the history of the house and our family's history. My mother's maiden name was Lincoln, and I'm a seventh cousin once removed from Abraham Lincoln. My mom and dad helped with the business, too. My mother helped me with cooking and cleaning and my dad and my husband did painting.
Q: In addition to operating your B&B, you also have TLC Wellness Center, a holistic health business. How did you get interested in this field?
A: Health had always been a great interest of mine. ... In 1980 my mother got a breast tumor, and we went to an alternative doctor in Southern Illinois. ... The tumor was gone in two treatments. He got us into chiropractic and acupressure. When my husband retired from the military in 2002 ... I went to the Wholistic Life Center in Washburn, Mo. ... I do about eight different kinds of massage. I use a lot of essential oils, and I do a lot of alternative techniques. When I do a massage, I'm also teaching. I've had many people who have come and stayed and done the wellness program in a weekend. I have many local people who I've also worked with in half-hour or one-hour sessions at a time. I am trying to sell the bed-and-breakfast so I can focus more on the holistic side. I like to help people make lifestyle changes so they can improve their health.