Just Checking on the Colonies By Henry Piarrot
"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." - 8th century poet, Hesiod of Greece.
Mark Edward Dean was born in Manchester, England on Monday January 6, 1958. That day in America, Premier of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev was named “man of the year” by Time magazine, Gibson Guitar Company patented the “Flying V” and Kentucky won another basketball game at Vanderbilt.
As life would have it, Mark’s parents, Avril and Malculm divorced when he was 3 and young Dean would not see his father again until he was 16 years old. During those years, Mark and his younger sister Beverly were eventually joined by seven more siblings after their mom and dad each married again.
To receive a proper English education, Mark attended two boarding schools from the time he was 7 until he graduated from high school in 1974. He credits Buglawton Hall School in Manchester, where he spent his primary years for his passion for wildlife, particularly birds. The experience can best be described as Harry Potter meets Dr. Dolittle. The administration there believed that more could be learned by doing than simply studying.
Consequently, Mark’s years there were occupied by caring for a variety of animals and adventures. So influenced by the atmosphere at Buglawton Hall, upon moving on to Ripplevalle Boarding School at the age of 12, Mark took some time grasping the more traditional structure there. Always an excellent student, the twin brothers who operated the school noticed Marks grades were not what they usually are and asked the boy if something was wrong. He simply told them he was bored.
There were no animals to befriend when his schoolwork was done. Shortly after their meeting with Mark, the brothers introduced him to a man named John Brown. Brown bred canaries and for the next 4 years Mark spent countless hours with Brown and his birds in their giant flight cage. Dean has been in the hotel business since finishing high school.
Married at 19, he would eventually apply to come to America in 1981 to get reacquainted with his father, who had moved to New York years before. Six years later, he was granted admission and on the morning of March 31, 1988 Mark Dean began his official inspection of the American Colonies. His wife and three sons would join him three months later. But after less than a year in the States, Mark learned that it is very hard to be married to a woman and a hotel.
Single for years, and not happy about where his career was going, at his father’s suggestion Mark returned to school to study hotel management and became rejuvenated by the experience. Then, on August 2, 2003, he married Robbin Kemp, a kindergarten teacher in New Jersey and moved to East Tennessee 6 days later. Learning from the past, Mark does his best to make sure he balances his professional responsibilities with time for family. As much as the husband and father enjoys his hotel profession, he still gets the feeling that he is not yet doing what he is here on Earth to do.
As his childhood infatuation for animals has never left Dean considers his dog Cozy to be the daughter he never had and does plan to someday make time to become a trainer. Just recently, he brought his new family home to Manchester to visit his mother and reported that the Colonies appear to be doing just fine for the moment.
Henry Piarrot is a hotel manager in Sevier County, TN. Please send all story recommendations to email@example.com