Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Tour de Webster
The Webster Groves House & Garden Tour to benefit the people of Haiti was on Sunday. When my friend Carol, who was the mastermind of the event, asked us to have our house on the tour a year and a half ago, it seemed like a good idea. As the date grew closer, we grew more
frantic. With me in New York for a week, followed days later by my brother and his girls staying with us for 8 days, we only had 5 free days before the event. I cleaned the inside of the house during the week, but we left the outside stuff for Saturday morning. Jim applied new mulch and tidied up the gardens while I washed windows, removed cobwebs and cleaned up the outdoor furniture. Then we headed out to pick up a couple of small indoor plants and the dining room table decorations, and returned to a monsoon! There went the mulch all over the sidewalks, and the windows and furniture looked like I had never touched them. Crap!
But we pulled it all together Sunday morning, cookies began arriving, and Carol came early with 2 girl scouts to help set up the lemonade, water and cookies we would be serving. I have to say I was very impressed with the woman who brought 4 trays of cookies, filled with homemade houses and flowers to tie in with the house/garden theme. (I need that house cookie cutter for my book signings!) Carol also set out some nuts and mints. Jim and I set up the 5 display boards we had created. We had placed photographs of the original owners along with pictures of the house through the years as changes we made to it.
A few minutes before 1:00 the first tour-goers arrived and it was steady until the end at 5:00. The people on the tour were super-friendly and very appreciative that we had opened up our house. They seemed to particularly enjoy looking at the photo boards. And I have to admit that after all the work we have done on the house over the past 23 years it was gratifying to hear all the compliments. We saw friends that we hadn't touched base with for awhile, and fellow author Anne Collins Milford of "How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy" acclaim showed up with her friends. I had set my books up for sale, with 20% going to the Haiti fund, and one woman said she came on the tour specifically to get my book :) I ended up selling 4, with a couple people saying they would come back to get a book as they were not carrying cash. (A woman called today and she is coming Thursday morning to buy one.)
In the end about 350 people purchased tickets for the tour, and they made (after expenses) over $5,500. Not bad for a first time effort! Jim and I really enjoyed talking to all the people, so we're glad we did it. We just don't ever want to do it again! For a thank you gift from the committee, we were presented with a basket hand woven by a Haitian artist containing coffee from Haiti, and a statue of a woman holding a baby while balancing a basket on her head (multi-tasking Haitian woman!) which was sculpted from soap stone also by a Haitian artist. What a way to bring the whole project full circle!