I first heard about Ilene when her husband died. I was head hen of our chicken soup group at our Synagogue. Since I was head hen that month the Rabbi emailed me with the details. Ilene's niece from back east contacted the Rabbi because she was all alone. I called the Rabbi and asked what we should do. He felt we should stay in contact with her but we didn't have to do anything about the funeral. I made a few calls and arranged for Annie who knew Ilene to contact her and make her feel welcome. My friend and I talked Ilene. Ilene was 82 years old and all alone in a small community near Boise. I looked up the address and determined it was in a development. I wanted people to visit her but first I needed to know where she lived.
Fast forward 6 weeks. Annie had invited Ilene to the ladies lunch. A very nice lady introduced herself to me. She was from Kuna and her husband had just died. I welcomed her and we talked. What an interesting lady. She was bright and vibrant and sharp as a tack. We had a very nice time and after lunch we talked for a about an hour in the parking lot. She told me the story of her husband's death. How the doctors never told either of them that the cancer had spread. She saw it on his chart 2 days before he died. She had guilt feeling since like any good Jewish woman she felt if he would eat he would get better but he just couldn't eat. At some point I must have told her about myself and my family. I must have mentioned that I was a real estate agent. Mostly I just listened.
A while later Ilene called me. She wanted to sell her home and move back to her family. Could I come and look at her home and figure out how much it worth. Turns out one of the many interesting jobs she had was as a loan officer. She and her husband had the home built and had added lots of wonderful upgrades. The house was large and wonderfully done. There were a few things that needed to be done. We talked for a while. We talked about the repairs. The cleaning (the place was not messy), the windows. The home would be easy to show with her beautiful things in it. We talked about movers and things like that. She was going to take very little furniture because she and her dog were going to a small apartment. Then we went out to lunch.
I set her up with my handyman and cleaner. I called a former customer who ran estate sales and talked about the furniture. Sh e went to Ilene's house but she took a 40% commission. The home and the furniture were most of this lady's assets. I ran open houses. They had some attendance. The house was shown a bit. Ilene and I became very good friends. It was fun to work with her. We met at ladies lunches, for signatures and at temple. I was getting to be really sorry that when I succeeded that she would leave Idaho. Good friends are hard to come by. I started putting ads for the furniture on Craigslist. We sold the pool table.
Then in August I was going away for 5 days. I teased my friend and told her we would get an offer while I was gone. I did it to encourage her. On the last day of my trip. On the way to the airport. We had a so-so offer. I saw Ilene the next day. We made the offer acceptable with a counter. One problem with the offer is that they wanted to close on our major holiday Yom Kippur. Her niece was going to fly in to help her Aunt. We discussed this and decided that in this small community we didn't want to make it obvious that we were Jewish. I invited her and her niece to my home for the meal before the fast. Now we had the problem of the furniture. A couple came in and wanted a lot of the furniture. Then we ran two estate sales. It was Ilene, me and some neighbor friends. We sold bunches of furniture.
With about one week to go I told Ilene that I would buy the dining set. I liked the set a lot and had been admiring it (with its 10 matching chairs) since I took the listing. I still tried to sell it at the price we wanted but she felt better knowing she would sell the set.
The day before closing there was a leak from the outside hose. Her niece arrived while the plumber was there. We talked a while then we went our separate ways.
The next day we had the evening meal before Yom Kippur. Ilene and her niece came to my home bringing Snoopy. She was able to have a meal on her own dining table. We went to temple together. We had a wonderful time with my parents, my youngest son, a couple of other friends and Annie.
By the time they left I was fast friends with the niece too.
Ilene had a great telephone call last weekend. She is liking Boston. Her dog is the hit of the apartment complex. She forgot how cold Boston was. Maybe that is why she moved to California as a young woman.
Everytime I eat a meal at my dining table, especially when all my children were home, I think of Ilene.
I miss Ilene and wish she were still here but she needed move on with her life and be with her people. I think I will give her a call. She is probably snowed in today.