The Tenderest of Holidays!...A Thanksgiving Story From Today
( I wrote this post right during the Thanksgiving weekend and took it down because a member told me she thought it had too much information in it--meanwhile, I see a story like the football player and his actions and it brings everything up all over again, including this experience of mine. So, I wanted to share it again with all of you since I have had several requests for it..Thanks for reading it.)
As I was driving back home this morning to Southampton from Sagponack after working with a young woman and her 3 children, I was overwhelmed by tears that would not stop---they slipped out of my eyes without me even realizing it until my face was drenched--then I could hardly see to drive! Peeling onions had the same effect on me earlier today as I prepared part of Thanksgiving dinner... but they did not leave me in such a state as I was in now....I had to pull over to pull myself together...then the sobs came and I was a lump of emotion behind the wheel of my car, trying to stop the flow of tears to no avail. I am not the crying sort!!!
It is the week of Thanksgiving and it is slow in real estate right now, especially here in the Hamptons. There are a lot of people in need right now; none as much need as the person whom I just met today. Thanksgiving has always been the most tender of all holidays to me and this situation exemplifies that feeling.
I got a call from a young woman this morning, her name is Maggie ( I don't want to use her real name here) She was calling about one of my year round rental listings. She says she lives in Riverhead and needs a year round house, nothing fancy, for her and her 3 kids. She also said she needs to be in the house by December 1st.
Something in her voice gave me the feeling that she is in a pickle--she really needed to find something and fast and since that house is already rented for year round, I needed to find her something that was close to Riverhead but was more than a beach shack. I could have told her that she won't find anything this fast, especially around this holiday time---people are away---people are hard to reach...and year round rentals are almost all rented now because of the economy. I could have told her she was wasting her time and that she needed to go look in another part of New York, like maybe Hampton Bays.
...But I did not; something made me go forward and show her the only house available in the area.
I met her at a house in the more remote part of Sag Harbor; she was an attractive, well spoken tall young woman of about 35---her kids were typically active young ones, a little disheveled but well behaved. There was a long driveway to the house which is small and cheaply furnished with just the bare essentials. There is a fireplace and there are decent appliances plus a full basement...not too bad; and it was clean.
This is a rare and not a typical customer for me to get. I work with very few rentals as a fact. She was pleased that the house looked like it would work--her budget is lower than the asking price and I told her I would try to get the owner to rent the house to her.
"Do you work?" was my next question as we finished looking at the house..."I work at an office in Hampton Bays, but I will not be paying the rent" she said haltingly....I carefully listened as she spoke: "I am in a special program at The Retreat in West Hampton; I am not from around here. They sponsor me and they will be paying the rent on my behalf"....
My mind slowed to gather my thoughts---I had to stop to think... I know The Retreat: It is a privately funded place for battered women to go for help. This retreat protects their charges in a cacoon of privacy with no contact with the outside world while they live in the residence. But there comes a time in most cases where they need to make living arrangements for those who are most vulnerable to the needs of a growing family for instance. Living in fear for her life--not a good thing!
That is what has happened here. This young family needs to find a place to start over--safely away from the threatening and menacing behavior of a controlling husband and father.
At this time of year, a young mother, looking to find a place to live in dire circumstances is the most frightening thing I can imagine. I can not help but think: "Thank God she has a place to go like The Retreat!"
In my own family, I have an example of the dreadful, fearful life of a battered woman. She was my sister Laura and she didn't stand a chance in her case because she never told a soul of her plight and she lost her life in such a horrible way.
We never knew she was in trouble with her Air Force Corporal husband; she never told us anything and she lived so very far away....
So, on this night before Thanksgiving, a most tender of all holidays, I feel I have a chance to do something for this young woman that I could not do for my precious sister.
I called the owner of the house just now and I told him of the situation....I told him she is a lovely woman who is in real need for a home for her and her children and I am so convinced that she is a perfect tenant for him and because she can pay him only a small part of what he is asking for the rent that I would not be taking a commission on the deal...this to help to make him whole. Because the rent is paid through The Retreat, he will be sure to get paid.
When I called to tell her she has a home to live in she was so quiet; I heard her crying silently. The children playing and laughing in the background made me feel so thankful!