Being Human

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 PA License - AB067198

I grew up in a family which dealt in antiques, every trip to the countryside often resulted in a purchase as did our vacations as well. This is a photo of my Dad at a major antiques show in London called The Grosvenor House Fair, held at the hotel on Park Lane in London in the ballroom, unfortunately the show is no longer in existence.

Earle Vandekar

I did not want to be an antique dealer, I joined the British Army and went to Sandhurst, our equivalent of West Point after high school. But I had injured my back just before I went and I got medically discharged when it became apparent I could not continue with the training. My plan had been to be an officer then go into business as a management trainee. Plan one sunk.

Plan 2 go to college and train in hotel management. Well all the universities had started, so I had to fill my time for a year. My mother made that abundantly clear. So I applied for a job as a management trainee working in the city writing aviation insurance. I stuck it out for a long time, but it was not what I wanted, stuck in an office.

So, I went into the family business and I was good at what I did. When my father died suddenly I took over our gallery in London and traveled all over the world purchasing inventory. My brother was already in the USA and ran our gallery here.

To cut a long story short...we ended up splitting up the business, I moved my family to America in 1990 and lost everything. Our visas did not allow us to work here, other than for ourselves and we were in a Catch 22 situation as we had not been here long enough for any banks to feel comfortable lending to us for business purposes.

We won the Green Card Lottery and got green cards and that allowed us to work, Trudy became a Realtor and I carried on in the antiques field, selling advertising for an art and antiques magazine in Europe and working privately as a dealer. That came to an end when I was headhunted to manage a new antiques show in Florida. I moved down to West Palm Beach but things did not work out as planned and I moved home 6 months later having sold out the show and became a Realtor as well.

But to remain connected to antiques and the world of art I offered my services to a local charity, Surrey Services for Seniors which helps seniors to age in place. They provide a host of services and have lots of volunteers. I helped them establish an antiques show which runs every year in the fall and is one of their main fund raising events. I have been involved from the beginning and took over as chair and managing the event about 7 years ago. It has become established as one of the leading shows in the area and  it has many dealers who travel from the mid-west and New England to participate. It takes lots of planning through the year, but it allows me to help a charity I believe in and stay in touch with a field I love. Over the weekend of the show from the Wednesday evening when we begin building the walls of the booths to Monday morning when the carpet is rolled up and taken away till the following year I probably walk about 24,000 steps a day according to my fitness tracker, covering many, many miles. I am always exhausted but on Opening night I see the transformation of this gymnasium where the show is held now at Cabrini University into this glittering wonderland, filled with people and wonderful objects that make you gasp with wonder. 

Tickets are complimentary for the general admission, October 7 & 8 this year and can be obtained online, or book some for the Opening Night Party on October 6 it is a great evening and lots of fun for a worthwhile cause as well, book at You will not regret it and it will help us reach our goal for this year of raising $140,000. Last year we raised $130,000  and we want to exceed that this year. So book now.

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Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Marte Cliff I found it very frustrating trying to learn from my Dad but yes, it is in your head and very hard to explain, a lot of it is experience, memories about other pieces you have seen or handled for example.

Aug 08, 2017 08:54 AM #8
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Nick and Trudy,

What an adventure you have had, and I love that you chanelled your antique expertise into raising money for a worthwhile cause.  I have a feeling you may exceed your goal.  A

Aug 08, 2017 03:52 PM #9
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543 I so enjoyed reading your story.  It must have been very difficult to move to another country and start over.  

I love antiques, yet the Florida market is all about contemporary these days.   There are stores here filled with the most beautiful collections of everything from pocket watches to china that people don't seem to want.  Maybe it's because we do a lot of outdoor living; I'm not sure of the reason.

The Surrey Services for Seniors is lucky to have someone with your knowledge and expertise.  I wish I was closer.  The Main Line Antiques Show looks like something I'd enjoy.  Btw, what appears to me to be Herend in the right-hand display is beautiful.

Aug 08, 2017 03:58 PM #10
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Ron and Alexandra Seigel it has been one of the things I have enjoyed most, I understand the dealers needs as well as what the charity is hgoping to acheive as well.

Elyse Berman, PA, CRS that is actually English Worcester porcelain, but I understand why you think it is Herend because of the openwork design. it dates mostly from about 1770's, the Worcester that is.

Aug 08, 2017 04:40 PM #11
Jim Cheney
Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa, CA
Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055

Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543 What an interesting story.  Lots of twists and turns in your life.  I cant imagine waiting for a green card not knowing if you'd get one or not, all while being restricted on how you could earn money to support yourselves.  Sounds like fate was on your side.  

Aug 08, 2017 09:20 PM #12
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I enjoyed reading your inspirational story. Thank you for sharing.

Aug 09, 2017 04:45 AM #13
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I love antiques and like to know the stories behind them. Thank you for sharing your story, Nick.

Aug 09, 2017 08:28 PM #14
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

That's quite the adventure you had in getting to where you are now from when it all started.

Aug 10, 2017 04:08 AM #15
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Jim Cheney it was an unusual time to say the least.

Gita Bantwal thanks for commenting

Debbie Reynolds that is part of what is so fascinating considering the stories behind the pieces.

Life is one big adventure Gabe Sanders best to tackle it with a smile on your face.

Aug 10, 2017 10:05 AM #16
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Wow Nick and Trudy, Thanks for sharing your story with us here in the rain.  Very interesting.

Aug 10, 2017 04:55 PM #17
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - Thank God you have your beautiful, kind, and supportive wife who gets you and partners with you successfully. It's hard for kids to be compared to their father and expect them to take over the business some day and be like them. We can never be like our parents. That's not why we were created. Your struggles, hopes, and dreams were many. You tried, had medical failures, succeeded, failed, picked yourself up again, tried again, retried, tried something else, moving your family to American, then losing everything...  How you picked yourself up is short of a miracle. Going through the Green Card and VISA episode was tough. I would imagine inmates in today's prisons didn't have it as hard as you - look at OJ! Yet you never gave up. I think you found your groove and you're doing an amazing balancing act. Plus you're doing more for charity as one man, one family than many who hang up the phones, or just say no.  You have strength, courage, tenacity, and determination. You shall prevail!

I'm proud to know you.

Aug 11, 2017 02:45 AM #18
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nick & Trudy, life throws many objects in our way and it is how we handle those objects determine the Character we become....loved reading this post reminded of my travels in life too, Endre

Aug 13, 2017 11:13 PM #19
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Have to see your story Endre Barath, Jr. I think would be very interesting.

Aug 14, 2017 05:49 AM #20
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Will Hamm thanks

Patricia Feager thank you for your compliment, you make it sound much grander than it was, often it was just getting through that day, no great plan, and some, no lots of days it was not even that but getting through the morning or the afternoon. Today, we are in a good place and able to help others having lost all our parents Surrey allows me to help those who could have been my parents.

Aug 14, 2017 05:52 AM #21
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

How cool is that!?  It sounds like you've really found your niche after all, and the best of both worlds.  Best wishes for a successful event!

Aug 14, 2017 03:56 PM #22
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 thanks for the best wishes, yes it is a good fit.

Aug 15, 2017 05:38 AM #23
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It's interesting to learn how you came to America, had to start over, got your real estate licenses, yet you are able to stay connected with managing the antiques shows. Beautiful story.

Aug 15, 2017 07:05 PM #24
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS thank you for stopping by to read.

Aug 16, 2017 11:05 AM #25
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

What a great story!  I would love to attend that antique show.  I have a mom who hunted for hidden treasure antiques my whole life and she and her best friend had a great collection of furniture and antique pottery. Thanks for sharing this with us! -Kasey

Aug 29, 2017 06:29 PM #26
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

What a beautiful story.... I remember when I moved in here I was allowed only two bags of things for each of us....we left behind everything too. 

Aug 30, 2017 11:16 PM #27
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Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line
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