The Gift of Home and Hearth

Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

Prepared for trick or treating in the snow48 powerless hours and two chilly nights where the temperature in our home hit the 40's can affect a guy. Like many people who lost power in the worst October snowstorm ever to hit Westchester County, we had to "camp" a little in our home, getting acclimated with flashlights, candles, sleeping bags and fireplaces. Two powerless nights were rough in different ways; the first night was out of routine for the children, especially Gregory, who is on the spectrum for autism. The second night was better for the kids, even a bit more fun, but virtually sleepless for me, because it was bloody cold and I was constantly feeding the fireplace every 90 minutes for some ambient heat. 

With the lights out in our neighborhood that long, we decided that even after power returned that the kids should trick or treat in the old neighborhood, Ossining's renowned Indian Village, where I grew up and where we spent the first 6 years of our marriage. Even though we were "carpet bagging," it was, I have to say, nothing short of awesome to have people I have known all my life pour affection (and candy) on my children. Some of these people were there way back when I was trick or treating!

It gave me get a deeper appreciation for two things I already held dear- the roof over my head and the community where I live. I am lucky to live in my home in Chilmark. I was lucky to be raised in the Indian Village in Ossining. And I love my neighbors in both places. 

The roof over my head has been an itch I couldn't scratch lately. I wanted to replace our bay window this past summer but we didn't. We need to paint the interior from the wear and tear of 4 crazy children. I had a leak in a bathroom that caused some sheet rock damage I haven't yet fixed in my kitchen. It ever ends. And I will either fix that stuff now or later but after experiencing what it's like to "squat" in my own place I'll never let it make me forget to be thankful for shelter. 

Catherine's Briarcliff Police Project- which came home today!Earlier today I almost blew through a stop sign and ended up being pulled over by a police officer. There had been flag men there for weeks who just left, so I absent-mindedly "went" and then recalled, almost too late, that the stop sign remained. And who would be the officer to pull me over but one I knew, who once went to my home to make sure all was OK. And he didn't pull me over to ticket me- just to make sure I was OK. He knew our neighborhood was dark for two days and we were out of sorts. That's the community I live in. 

So, from the good folks who patted my children's head tonight who also patted their dad's 40 years ago, to the cops and my home's happily-returned heartbeat, I have to say that I am one lucky guy. I live in a wonderful place. And I'll never take my home or neighbors for granted. My home may not be 2011 fabulous, but it is mine, and it is warm again. And my neighbors? Never a cold moment there. 

Westchester County is a special place. And Briarcliff and Ossining are the special placiest of all! 

Comments (16)

John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Hey Phil

Like Dorothy said,"There's no place like home.

Best regards from the Q 

Oct 31, 2011 04:27 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

So glad you got your electricity back.  What a beautiful story.  When my kids were little, our favorite time was when the electricity would go out.  We still love those memories . . . no TV, everyone snuggled with mom reading stories by candlelight.  As we so often find, many times it is the hardships that not only teach us who we are, but make the best memories.

Oct 31, 2011 04:34 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Philip -- what a great tribute to your hometowns(of today and of the past).   Very nicely written.   

Oct 31, 2011 05:33 PM
Marge Piwowarski
Phoenix AZ Horse Property - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC

So happy to hear the power is back on.  We take so much for granted, ..the kids will remember it as a fun adventure!

Oct 31, 2011 07:01 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Gee, Joe, that's a bit of reminiscing!  As I walked around with my youngest and her friends, sure to keep my distance so they didn't feel "stalked," I also remembered my young Halloween days in Washington DC.  Great memories!  Cherish these!

Nov 01, 2011 12:27 AM
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA the Halloween photo and glad to hear you have lights and heat back on.

Nov 01, 2011 12:45 AM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
i am sure your neighbors are hapoy to have you in their community too, along with those four little ones.
Nov 01, 2011 01:20 AM
Virginia Dean
Keller Williams Tulare County - Visalia, CA
Real Estate Done Your Way

What a great post.  I lived in New Jersey for 13 years and experienced some of those power outages.  I remember feeling chilled to the bone, but lucky to have the gas stove work so we existed on tea, instant coffee, hot chocolate and soups.

It does make you thankful for your "roof over your head" for sure.

I bet it really warmed, not only your heart, but your former neighbors hearts to see the joy of the children trick or treating.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Nov 01, 2011 01:25 AM
Valerie Duncan Stewart
(Metro First Realty) - Oklahoma City, OK
Real Estate Agent-Broker, OKC, OK


I lived in N.H. for many years and remember the beautiful, sometimes, unforgiving snow. What a wonderful post about your home, family and community and the appreciation you have for all. I too, forget how much I have when I look around at all the little things that need to be done around my house. Your accounting of your past two days reminds that I have so much. Thanks for that.

Nov 01, 2011 02:29 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning J Philip. Your story warms my heart and clearly shows your focus is on the ball. I love seeing and hearing about your family. You are a special guy and it is nice to see the full picture.

Nov 01, 2011 02:55 AM
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA

Your post says a lot about where you live, both the house and neighborhoods. It says a lot more about you as a human that you took the time to express your sense of family, home and neighborliness in such a beautiful way. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly.

Nov 01, 2011 04:05 AM
Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Very touching and a great reminder of what is really important in this life.  We all need to remember the people that make our lives so much better!

Nov 01, 2011 04:48 AM
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi J. Philip - You are very fortunate to have access to that kind of community - something that is rapidly becoming more scarce as our urban lives drive us into more impersonal environments. You're also very fortunate to recognize the worth of it. There are so many people today who have never been exposed to a sense of community. Great post.

Nov 01, 2011 05:07 AM
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

J. Philip - What a wonderful testament to the neighborhood and people in it.  I think you nailed a selling point in your area in of itself.  Stay warm up there, my man!

Nov 01, 2011 09:30 AM
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC

What a wonderful post!  Every Thanksgiving I send out a similar essay about counting blessings for something specific.  One year it was pets, another year the ancient relatives.  Counting the blessings of your neighborhood is in that same tradition.  You should send it to your sphere -- and your neighbors!

Nov 01, 2011 02:40 PM
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors - Yardley, PA

Phil: We al have much to be grateful for. Glad the kids and your old neighbors got to share Halloween. The house and the chores will still be there, long after the kids are grown and gone.

Nov 01, 2011 09:58 PM