Thursday, September 16, 2010

Always Thank a Marine

Several months ago I listed a property and was so moved by the owner’s personal story about her Dad that I wrote about it that week. For those readers who may have missed it, I’ll recap briefly because the story has evolved this week.
The owner had purchased the property some years earlier and had planned to have her Dad move in with the family. Her Dad had served in World War ll as a Navy Coxswain who delivered Marines in landing boats to the horrific battles off the Japanese held Saipan and Tinian Islands. His life long devotion to the Marines as a direct result of what he witnessed caused him to say to all who would listen “Always thank a Marine.”
Shortly before he was to join his daughter and family at the WW11 Memorial in Washington a few years back, he called his daughter to say that he would not be able to make the trip. He told them “If you see a Marine, thank him.” Within days he died. After his funeral, his heartbroken family made the trip to honor him and they made their way to the Tinian and Saipan section of the Memorial where they placed a 1941 photo of their young Navy Coxswain.
They saw an elderly man staring down at the photo. When he asked if the man in the photo was their Dad, they nodded and the old man’s eyes filled. The daughter asked “Did you know my Father?” The old man was surrounded by his own family when he answered “You never forget the face of your Coxswain.” The Coxswain’s daughter asked “Are you a Marine, sir?” When he nodded, she said “My Father said to thank you.”
In recent weeks, the property that is tastefully decorated with military and historic memorabilia (no doubt rooted in a daughter’s devotion) went under agreement.
As is the case with many sellers who have not yet found their next home, the seller began to experience the stress of that interim period between homes. Will the right home be found in time? The closing is approaching.
While I was on vacation, the colleague who was covering for me let her know of a property in another North Shore community. While that particular property was not quite right, she drove around the area and it began to “feel like home”. As she turned the corner, she saw the home of her dreams. It was just as she pictured. It was the perfect size. It was just the right style. The neighborhood was perfect. The yard was exactly what she wanted. It was just so quaint and cute. It was also under agreement with another buyer.
My client really began to feel that she would never find a property that felt so much like “home”. She drove to the property again and again just to see it while she begrudgingly continued her search for another property. Toward that end she reviewed dozens of properties and we walked out of several more that just did not feel like home.
I had spoken with the listing Realtor and asked that she keep me posted if the transaction should fall through. She agreed to do so but she added that everything looked like “a go”.
To respond to the growing need for interim housing, several large hotel chains offer programs that meet myriad needs of folks in like circumstances. Just as my client was considering such options, she had one of those “moments” that can only be understood by those who have had such a “moment”. She began reflecting on how she had planned to have her Dad live with her in the home she had purchased with him in mind and that was now about to be sold. While she was having such a “moment”, my phone was ringing several towns away. The listing Realtor was calling to inform me of a most surprising turn of events. The home of my client’s dreams was back on the market. This adorable home is now back under agreement with my client.
As happens in this world to believers of things beyond this world, it was my colleague who was covering for me while I was away who first directed my client to this area that became so special to her. My colleague is a Marine. Just as my client was signing the paperwork that would secure her new home for her, I felt a “strong urge”to make a call to my colleague. When he answered the phone, I handed it to her so she could “Thank the Marine”.

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