In this first week of the New Year, three of my all-time favorite clients, all women, passed away. It made me once again think of impermanence and how in so many cases, the folks who live as long as these three beautiful women did, all in their late 80’s to mid 90’s, never sweated the small stuff. They never fought over 2 or 3 percentage points on the price of their house, they never insisted on $50,000 above provable value, they never quibbled over my fee or anything else. They were smart, they expected me to do my best for them, and inspired me to do just that.
One of them, Sonny, was Bronx-born and a little gritty at first. At 80, another agent had lost two buyers on her, but when we met, she said, “Judy, just sell my home, how much time do I have left?!” and “where I’m going is expensive so get me a good price!” She lived another eight good years, and she referred me like a talent agent who books their client. I visited her once at her new home in South Jersey, I called her a “hot tamale”. I will miss Sonny.
Another of my favorite women, Rose, reminded me of how I would like to be when I grow older. I told her daughter this when I got the call yesterday that she was gone. Rose and I had spoken just last week, for the New Year- and for the first time since I met her, she said she was not “too” well. She was always so put together. Makeup, sharply dressed, always a perfect shade of lipstick and hair done. When I commented, more than once, she told me that she loved to do this, it was part of how she expressed her love for life. Imagine that! Who of us thinks of something as important as this, rather than the stuff that doesn’t matter-our cars, our wealth, our politics? So many of my clients, my favorites, and those whose stress level may not let them make it as long as these ladies, have taught me so much. But I choose to emulate the ones whose examples shined.
And then there is June-her husband Bob, who is just shy of his 97th birthday himself, sent me an email that his beloved had passed last Friday. I responded with sadness and called him the next morning. We talked for about 20 minutes. Theirs was a love that I could never forget. They were engaged right before he went off to WWII; I may never have clients from that era again; too many years have passed, and the “Greatest Generation” will soon be all gone. I visited with them in Tilton, NJ about 5 years ago, when I was speaking at a nearby real estate conference. We planned to go to dinner, but it was snowing so I asked them if they might want to cancel. June said something like “Judy, life is short, and there is no such thing as bad weather, it’s just winter!” People like Bob and June brought out the best in everyone, that was and still is, for Bob, their undisputed superpower.
It dawns on me that these three wonderful women had many things in common; all were bright, intelligent, and practical. They never thought they were better than anyone else, they were aware but not wary. They saw the best in people because they focused on good. They sold their home with me late in life, but not too late. Good for them. They got to enjoy those years- they didn’t wait until all they had left was their money and their memories. I want to be like them someday and because I didn’t view my work transactionally, maybe I will. Thank you, Sonny, Rose, and June.
They had one more thing in common. Their names: all of them define beloved gifts of nature, just like them.
Rest In Peace ladies. When I get there, hopefully, a very long time from now, please show me the ropes.