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A 'Joanna/Maria/Greek Orthodox Holy Week' Story

 
THERE’S  SOMETHING   ABOUT   THIS   INN…
 
I cannot fully explain it…it beckons people who are MEANT to come to it.  It keeps happening, and each time it happens I know it is not a coincidence.
 
Initially this story will sound like I was meant to meet Joanna, but really the story goes much further than that.  It is like a ‘Twilight Zone’ story.  Joanna was meant to find Maria.
 
Here is what recently happened at The 1910 Inn in Tarpon Springs, Florida:
 
A Greek woman, Joanna from Chicago, called me last week.  She had visited Tarpon Springs once, only once, 27 years ago.  She always knew she needed to come back one day.  Her visit 27 years ago had a profound effect on her. Joanna told me that her hair dresser’s sister said she should stay atThe 1910 Inn.  I do not know her Chicago hairdresser, nor do I know her hairdresser’s sister.
 
Joanna told me she had gone to college in Tampa.  So had I.  As we talked on the phone last week, it became so ironic that we were both students at the same time, at the same university, with the same major and degree, yet we had never met.  And that happens in large universities.
 
Joanna arrived at The 1910 Inn yesterday, and we talked more.  (She had grown up in Rhode Island.  Oh, how I love Rhode Island!  A stay at a bed and breakfast inn in Newport,Rhode Island made such an impression on me 20 years ago.  I was compelled to return again and again.  Four more trips, and during the last trip there two years ago, the words “The time is right…I am supposed to make my bed and breakfast visions a reality in Tarpon Springs” did not stay in my thoughts, but were uttered and decided!) Joanna told me why she had come toTarpon Springs 27 years ago.  She came during Greek Orthodox Holy Week.  She was a college student far from home during Easter. That is really difficult to endure, if you are Greek Orthodox.  Life will feel ‘unsettled’, if you are Greek Orthodox and away from the Holy Week church services. 
 
Another Greek Orthodox college student had lived in the same dormitory building asJoanna.  Joanna could not remember the girl’s name anymore.  They were only acquaintances, but that girl fully understood Joanna’s dilemma.  There was only one solution, of course.  The girl knew she must invite Joanna home with her to Tarpon Springs for church and Easter.  Keep in mind that the college girls had not been friends.  Yet Joanna went to Tarpon Springs and to the girl’s family.  Life was ‘settled’ again for Joanna.
 
Years went by…27 years…life went along…the girls no longer had their maiden last names.  Joanna always knew she needed to visit Tarpon Springs again one day.  The opportunity came along last week when a group of ladies from Chicago planned a “chick trip” (as Joanna called it) to Ft. Myers, Florida this week, the eve before Greek Orthodox Holy Week.  Joanna never went on such trips.  She is a busy Greek mama.  The group of ladies became upset with Joanna when she told them she needed to rent a car and head north 3 hours on a side trip to Tarpon Springs without them.  She was drawn back to Tarpon Springs.  They did not understand. 
 
During our chat last evening at The 1910 Inn, as Joanna told me her college/Easter story, she said she could not even remember the Greek girl’s name.  I kept thinking and saying, ‘if the Greek girl from the dormitory was from Tarpon Springs and had been in college when I was, surely I must know of her’.  As the conversation continued, Joanna suddenly remembered the girl’s name…Maria! 
 
Yes, I knew Maria.  And yes, I know Maria.  My husband baptized Maria’s non-Greek husband16 years ago.  (Just like Ian Miller of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was baptized.)  
 
Maria lives in Ft. Myers. 
 
Ft. Myers…where the “chicks” from the “chick trip” were. 
 
Ft. Myers…whereJoanna was headed for after her day in Tarpon Springs. 
 
Ft. Myers…whereJoanna never would have known Maria lives, if she had not been drawn back toTarpon Springs!
 
We picked up the phone and called Maria.  I said, “Maria…a nice lady from Chicago is at The 1910 Inn right now.  She visited Tarpon Springs many years ago.  She lived in Fontana Hall.”  A short, very short, pause occurred. Then Maria said, “Joanna”.
 
So…for reasons unknown…for reasons not yet known…Joanna was supposed to find Maria again.  A powerful force made this happen.  It happened through the hairdresser’s sister.  It happened through The 1910 Inn.  It happened through Annie.  There are no coincidences.  Things happen for a reason. 
 
Again I say,
 “THERE’S   SOMETHING   ABOUT   THIS   INN…” 
 
There is something powerful about this inn, The 1910 Inn in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
 
Joanna and Maria will see each other tomorrow in Ft. Myers.
 
Next week is Holy Week.
 
 
 

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