May 2015: Blow Fly Inn 'grannies' bring wisdom to staff


Sun Herald

Gayle Schnorf, left, and Pat Sullivan have been working at the Blow Fly Inn for many years.
Gayle Schnorf, left, and Pat Sullivan have been working at the Blow Fly Inn for many years. Sun Herald/2015

Pat Sullivan spends her weekdays folding napkins and keeping the staff at the Blow Fly Inn entertained.

For the past 20 years, she has accompanied her daughter, Connie Sullivan, manager of the Gulfport restaurant, to work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“My mom keeps me striving,” Connie Sullivan said. “The only person she remembers is my dad since they were married for 60 years, and she thinks she works here.”

At 84 years old, Pat Sullivan suffers from dementia but that doesn’t keep her spirits down. She shares stories with the staff about her life in Liverpool and how she met her husband in France.

“In the summer months when we get busy, she will bus the tables and take dishes to the kitchen so we have to get onto her,” said Gayle Schnorf, Blow Fly hostess. “I bring her a honey bun every morning to have with her coffee. She always lets me know when she is hungry.”

Schnorf, another long-timer at the Blow Fly Inn, started working for the restaurant after Hurricane Katrina.

“Gayle and her husband would come for coffee every morning when we were serving breakfast at the Holiday Inn,” Connie Sullivan said. “One day I asked her if she wanted a job, and she has been here ever since.”

Schnorf’s title may be hostess, but she does everything she can do to help, including busing and cleaning tables.

“I take care of the money and the people,” Schnorf said. “They pay me to socialize and people tell me I’m really good at it.”

Pat Sullivan and Schnorf are called the “grannies of Blow Fly” by co-workers because they watch over the staff and make sure everyone is taken care of.

“I plan to hang out here as long as I’m able or they want me to,” Schnorf said. “Connie told me when I couldn’t walk anymore she would put a stool right over there so I can sit and help.”