One of the biggest blessings related to owning my Bed & Breakfast in Lubbock, Texas is being able to have friends & family stay with us over the years. An additional “plus” comes with watching those same people progress through the stages of life with their families – stages such as bringing a child to college for the first time.
One family I’ve particularly enjoyed is the Jerry Harrelson family from La Porte, Texas. Jerry & my husband, David, have known each other since they started kindergarten in Friona, Texas. Jerry was even a groomsman in our wedding 30 years ago (August 17th), & their friendship is strong even to this day. “I wore a bright blue tuxedo & stood next to the hottest candle on earth in August,” Jerry remembered.
Jerry remained in Friona until he was 24 & moved south to further his career. He met & married his wife, Lee, & they have lived in her hometown of La Porte for 20 years. Jerry is the operations manager for Americold, the largest refrigeration company in the world, & Lee is a self-described domestic goddess. The couple has two daughters, Krista, 24, who works in Houston as a purchasing consultant with Magnum Intercontinental, & Amy, 21, who will be starting her senior year at Texas Tech, where she is finishing toward a degree in social work, with a minor in sociology & sign language.
“I remember coming by the Bed & Breakfast right after it opened, & they only had six or seven rooms at the time,” he said. Jerry distinctly remembers the décor as being aligned with the then Southwest Conference (now the Big 12). (We’ve redecorated since then.)
Five years ago, in 2010, we hosted David’s 30th high school reunion at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast. Of course Jerry planned to make the trek to Lubbock, Texas, but Lee was unable to attend, so he brought Amy along for the adventure. That weekend, they were the first guests to stay in our recently completed Honeymoon Suite. During that trip, Jerry & Amy toured the Texas Tech campus, which is across the street from Woodrow House, & she was an instant fan of Tech. “She knew then that this would be where she would go to college,” Jerry added. “The fact that David & Dawn, & some other friends from high school lived here made it a whole lot easier to say, ‘Okay, you go do that.’”
Location, Location, Location
It was a foregone conclusion that the family would stay with us when the time came to bring their freshman to school. “Parents can’t beat this location,” Jerry noted. “People stay here for a reason, whether it’s the staff, the convenience or the history of the rooms. It’s also fun to drive by & see a flag out front that lets you know someone from a foreign country has checked in.”
Both Lee & Jerry recommend that parents looking at future trips check their calendars for significant dates & book as soon as they know they need to be in Lubbock. “If you have a child that is going to go to school here all four years, think ahead because the rooms go fast & sometimes you may need to book as far as a year ahead – particularly if it’s near a football weekend,” Jerry advised.
This is a good time to point out that certain events, such as football games & graduations, do require a two-night stay. We also do make adjustments to the breakfast schedule as needed to accommodate event schedules. In addition, we to make these weekends more festive by adding Friday wine & cheese parties on game weekends or an evening cookout when games are held early on Saturdays.
I’ve moved my own children in & out of campus dorms, so I do have a few suggestions for parents new to the process. First, think about the last-minute shopping you plan to do. If you think it is okay to put off that Walmart or Target trip until you get to Lubbock, remember that every other parent has the same idea. There is a big chance that you will grab a basket in the parking lot, if you can find one, & then discover that the shelves have been picked bare!
Next, bring your own dollies, rolling carts & bungee cords. The dorms might have some available, but you probably won’t ever get your hands on one. Also, be prepared to take the stairs or wait for long periods of time for an elevator. It is a good idea bring a few basic tools, duct tape & wall hooks that won’t damage dorm walls – oh, & bring tissues (for when you have to say goodbye). If there is any daylight left, leave a little time to tour Lubbock so your college student has some idea of the city’s layout & where the best local shopping destinations & restaurants are located (we’re happy to make suggestions). Finally, return to Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast & let us pour you a relaxing glass of wine & then soak in our hot tub to ease away the day’s aches & pains.
Even More Advice (for the Kiddos)
Freshmen, be kind to your parents this weekend – even if they embarrass the heck out of you. If your mom feels the need to unpack everything or make your bed, please let her. She’s been doing this for a long time, & it is really, really hard for her to stop “cold turkey.” Your dad may want to meet all the kids in the rooms around you because he needs to know you are going to be okay without him. The weekend will be over before you know it, & then you can commiserate with all the other freshmen about how “dorky” parents act. In a couple of weeks, you’ll wish you could see both of your dorks!
Final Reassuring Words…
“You won’t find this kind of atmosphere in a typical hotel,” Lee said of Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast. “You almost feel like you are at home, & that is the big difference!”
Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast
David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street