As Jan said, what looked like the end of our dreams, was only a change in direction. The labyrinth turns back on itself, and the journey continues.

” The story’s still revolving round the circle so it seems”

Jan Goldsberry – Revolving Door

Way back in the early nineties, Janice Goldsberry, my wife, came up with the idea of having a shop. We had spent three weeks traveling through the English countryside together, and she was not only inspired to paint what she had experienced but some of the food and cultural discoveries we had made. My mother had been collecting British antiques for years and needed to sell some off as well, so when we moved to a little farmhouse along the highway outside of Branson, MO, it came with an 800sf outbuilding down by the road. Within a year, we redecorated it, filled it with art, music, food, and antiques, got a business license and a phone, and opened it to the public.

Except there was no public. No one would stop. We needed word of mouth, so we staged a party, and Jan drew up the announcements.

A fair amount of people came, and we sold a bit, but unless we dragged people there, it was evident that the location was everything, and we didn’t have it.

We used the building as a recording studio and produced albums we sold at our live shows at Silver Dollar City, a theme park in Branson, Mo. Then we got our first computer. It was still dial-up days, so there wasn’t much internet yet, but eventually, this site was born primarily as an online gallery to showcase her art and sell music.

In 2017, she had a stroke that took away her ability to play and sing and, to a great extent, paint as well. She was not deterred. She had an idea to make the village in her mind a virtual experience instead, and laid out the streets and buildings, told me who lived where, and what their lives were like. We would narrate a monthly blog about life in the village of Withe & Stone. Then, in November 2018, she died.

I realized then that when she passed that she left a whole folder of songs unrecorded, and I alone knew the melodies too. I gave myself the goal of recording all the CD projects we had laid out together in one year.

I recorded three CDs of our music, set within this world she had created. The final one was “Winter,” which debuted one year to the day of her passing and ends with a Requiem written as a last tribute. This is the video.

Having recorded her music, I immediately turned my attention to her biggest dream, the village of Withe and Stone. It took all of her characters, the painting she had made, the map we drew, and the one story she began writing herself, and wrote a series of short stories just like we had talked about. The more I wrote, I realize the people of Jans’ world had something to say, and a story arc emerged. Even though they seemed quite different from each other, with serious parts, adventures, a ghost story, and even a children’s story, everything tied together in the end. There was a deeper message that I never saw coming, hidden in the songs and dialogue, and Jan’s voice, still there, saying, it’s what was always meant to be. It was always about the journey. I hope you find it a memorable trip. Thanks to you all for taking the adventure with me.

Finally, I wish to thank all of you for the love and support you have given me since her passing. It has meant a great deal to me. I must also thank Jan herself, For I am finding in her lyrics, like the one quoted above, so many of the things I need to hear to find my future. My love always to her and all of you.

At a Ren fair, John & Jan Early 2000s