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Local Resident, Desiree Schell Shares Her Experience of a Unique Way of Growing Up Back in the Day

| Desiree Schell |

I have a story to share. It was 1973 when my family purchased a hotel in a crack in the mountains of the Adirondacks in New York state. We were a family of seven, with my mom, Dad, dad’s life partner, dad’s illustrating partner, and my two sisters. Let’s not forget the dog.

We moved into this hotel as a residence and rented none of the rooms. It was furnished from the 1940s! I was 13 at the time; my sisters were 8 and 10 years old. We had all the modern conveniences of the 1970s, when we traded it for living in this 1940s incredible, unexpected, time regressing home. We used a wringer washer, toasters from the 1940s, hundreds of feather pillows, a steam press instead of an ironing board, and seriously so, so much more from the 1940s! The woodstove is featured in Snow Day Tumble and was a challenge all its own!! We learned to sing the Andrew sisters in harmony, me and my two sisters, and put up with all of the antics my family could put together for us to experience this incredible period of time, brought out of the past.

That was only the hotel. Sharon Springs, New York, was a hub for the Hasidic Jewish population who ventured from Manhattan into Sharon Springs for the benefits of the numerous mineral waters that flow there. As children, we walked amongst Hasidic Jews in full garb, Zen center participants, and full garb, and there was certainly a Christian population. I didn’t even realize how much we were being shaped by this town until I grew older. So grateful for this time …

The memories and experiences that come out of this era for me are vast! If I had to capture it in one feeling, I would say “innocence“ was what we experienced there. We played in the woods, we found mountain lion caves, we adopted baby raccoons, and we became part of the town, the art show, the community! It was absolutely enamoring and burns vividly in my memory.

Circumstances force us to leave that sweet spot on the earth, but now I am bringing them to life! I have written approximately 30 stories about this period of time, full of innocence, playfulness, and joyful tones from the past. The name of my series is Home Hotel, as my father always asked us to address our letters to HOME. That’s exactly what we did and is how the Home Hotel series acquired its name.


Book number one will be released this summer and is entitled Skateboard Escape! Join us as our foster boy, Mitchell Marble, loses his skateboard and then nearly loses his mind! There may or may not be a dog in tow, as well.

Book 2 comes out this fall as Snow Day Tumble, with Easter Egg Surprise-Book 3, due out this winter.

There are numerous stories to come which will reveal the playful laughter that we all shared during this unbelievable stint of time in the Adirondacks.

Oh yes, I’m illustrating them all as well! Please join me on this journey… I’ll continue to update my story.

Love is love!

About Desiree Schell – Desi Schell grew up in New York State, relocating to Florida in the 1980s. She has taught in public schools for the last 22 years, ranging from teen parents to gifted programs. In 2021, Desi retired from teaching and partnered with Purple Owl Publishing to bring the Home Hotel book series of children’s books to the public. She greatly enjoys sharing her dozens of stories and shaping our youth in the process. Desi and her husband spend most of their time in Florida, traveling to the United States each summer.

Photos from Desiree Schell

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