Have you ever scene the movie “The Notebook”, or “The Longest Ride”, both are filled with love letters that take you back to a time of a love story history between the two characters. Well after meeting Melodee Sarver, hearing her story about her Mother in law Mildred, and her husband Marty, this is another kind of love story, but one that you will want to read and cry the same way I did after your done.
When I sat down with Melodee after my great breakfast the morning of my stay I had no idea what I was in for. Coming from Hollywood I love a good story, but by the end of this magical tale I was fully engaged. It took a lot out of me to hear all of these fantastic details between 3 people who really loved each other more then life, but I am sure you will be touched as well.
Melodee Sarver married her love of her life Marty Sarver in 1981; Marty’s Mother Mildred soon after became Melodee’s best friend. Marty Sarver was a very clever man with a spirit that allowed him to be a successful businessman as well as to have fun and enjoy life. His enthusiasm for the good life influenced everyone he encountered. He was a real estate appraiser and mortgage banker, with a business degree from Central Washington University. He had been courageously battling Melanoma cancer, which took his life on March 4, 2006.
The story goes that Mildred’s husband became ill during the war, and developed emphysema, he had a 24 hour nurse at this same house that became Mildred’s bed and breakfast. Mina was Mildred’s Mother In Law, the house was built in 1901, and is a large double turreted, Victorian. Mina purchased it in 1940 for $7,500, which was a lot of money back in the day. She had boarders staying in the various rooms. Then Mina fell and broke her hip, Mildred and Van came to the rescue and took care of her and the boarders at the house.
After Mina died now Mildred wondered what to do with the house. She saw an ad in the newspaper that read, “looking for a host home to start and a Bed and Breakfast”, she answered the ad and Mildred’s Bed and Breakfast was born, established in 1982 (34 years as a B&B) on historic Capitol Hill.
Melodee was Mildred’s daughter in law, Melodee says that Mildred always wanted a daughter and Melodee was the daughter she never had. Mildred asked Melodee to help out with the ads and promotion and to be her buddy in the business, which meant to be her business partner. Melodee and Marty moved into the Bed and Breakfast in 1988 with their 2 children, by 1992 her family grew to 4.
Marty, Mildred and Melodee were quite the three-some, having the best time all three together as best friends. In 1990 Mildred asked Melodee if she and Marty would like to buy the house from her and she could help out Melodee the same way Melodee helped Mildred previously. Melodee and Marty were trying to buy another house at that time but thankfully the deal fell through. They purchased it from Mildred for $450,000, which was market value. In 1992 Melodee decided to let Mildred stay in the house and continue to run the Bed and Breakfast, Melodee had another property further up north, but she would come down everyday and help out with the chores. Mildred would do her gourmet breakfasts; she loved life but was pretty serious about many things. Mildred was a very prolific woman, she felt her biggest accomplishment was to have gone back to college and gotten her MA in art at the age of 60.
In 2006 Melodee lost the love of her life Marty, he succumbed to cancer. Melodee said that everyone from all over Seattle came to his funeral, people loved him. Marty always had something nice to say about everyone, he was a very positive fellow. Then she lost Mildred in 2007, six weeks shy of her 93rd birthday. Before her death she became partially blind from macular degeneration. She could only see shadows. Melodee would take her to the blind club and the Braille library. Nothing kept Mildred down, she would still take the bus downtown by herself, and she even volunteered at a local gift shop. One of Melodee’s favorite things to do with Mildred was to window shop downtown. Melodee lost her 2 best friends in a very short time, she grieved with her loving family, and was deeply wounded by her losses.
Melodee recounts the days before Mildred’s death. The day before she died she took a yoga class, she told Melodee that they would be taking another one the following day. Melodee went to check up on her the next day in the morning and Mildred was still in bed. Melodee asked her “Are you ok”? she said “yes”. Then a while later she told Melodee to call the paramedics. She went to Virginia Mason Hospital near by. She told Melodee not to stay, and that she would be home in the morning. The next morning she was unhooked from the IV’s getting ready to be released but she told the doctor that she had a headache. They gave her some aspirin, she lied back down and quickly passed away, she was very peaceful the doctor told Melodee.
Unfortunately Melodee’s husband left Melodee no life insurance, and her kids were 13, 17, 20 and 22 when he passed away. Threw Melodee’s firm hand, faith and relentless energy she just figured that she would work really hard and everything would be all right financially. Her hard work paid off, Mildred’s Bed and Breakfast has gotten many awards and accolades and still provides security for her family in the coming years.
Melodee is a very attractive women if I must say so myself, and she would have no trouble finding another husband, but she decided to just raise her children and not give romance any future thought. She did however have a suitor who would not give up. Michael a well-known eye doctor met her at a marketing convention, she got an award at this event and he said congratulations to her. Melodee never thought about him and would not even consider him being a romantic partner. Michael waited 2 years for Melodee to be ready to take a stab at love again. Perseverance and patience led Michael to a marriage proposal in 2013, and they were married in 2014. Melodee says that he is the best step dad, kind, sweet, and waited until Melodee was ready to take the second plunge. Michael asked her 4 kids for her hand in marriage and all of them said yes. He asked her to marry him at Butchart Gardens in Victoria Canada. Michael has his practice and is not involved in the day-to-day stuff with the Inn, so it is really the perfect union.
Mildred used to say to Melodee, “You’re so good at making lemon juice out of lemons”, another one of her quotes, “You can agree with me or you can be wrong”.
Mildred’s Bed and breakfast is the first bed and breakfast in Capitol Hill. It is very rare to find a traditional European bed and breakfast in the city.
When I asked what Mildred would say about how things are going now, Melodee said “She would be so proud that we have kept this family tradition alive, and she would really love Michael and be happy that I started a new life. Mildred would be thrilled that the family business continues today!
The bed and breakfast is appointed with very elegant décor, each room having its own theme, mine was The Lace Room. Complete with a new flat screen TV. The breakfast is done in a sort of buffet fashion, lighthouse roast coffee served is from Ballard, crispy nut swirls made fresh the night before, the whole house smelled like cinnamon and sugar. There are homemade jams. It is a simple and elegant breakfast that will keep you charged up until lunch. I can’t say enough about my experience; you’re in the lap of luxury in a gorgeous high-end neighborhood of Seattle, in a house that is filled with love.
There is even a little bit of Hollywood at Mildred’s Bed and Breakfast, Melodee had a crew taking over filming a part of a short film recently.
Melodee guards a chest of love letters between Mildred and her husband Van who were married in 1940, and he died in 1982. I asked Melodee if I could come back and help her write Mildred’s memoirs, I see the whole story like “The Notebook” or “The Longest Ride” with flashbacks of a time long gone recalling the love of her and her husband through those sacred love letters.
For now this is the end of my story, but who knows maybe a book or a movie could soon be in the works. I am all about doing coverage about the little details of any stay that I get, but to me that was insignificant, the real story here is the human-interest story, about how love can change people. I urge you to go stay at Mildred’s Bed and Breakfast and see for yourself, and be charmed by Melodee and hear her story. Your heart will be reborn and you too will believe that true love can still conquer all!
Mildred’s legacy will always continue….
From Mildred to You:
I wish you enough
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
Mildred’s Bed and Breakfast
1202 15th Ave. East
Seattle, Washington 98112