The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Jan 28, 2012

May my daughter remember my determination this way

"I grew up in NYC alone with my mom. She was a single parent and while life wasn't always easy, it sure was fun. Even as a child, I understood that, financially, we were living on the edge. but somehow we always got by. My mom was determined to give me a well-rounded childhood-n matter what it cost.

She could have chosen to live in a less expensive neighborhood but she was never one to compromise. We lived on Central Park West, went to Broadway shows and dined at the city's best restaurants. I went to private school and summer camp, took ballet and piano lessons, and learned to ski in Vermont on weekends.

My childhood sounds like on grounded in privilege but that’s only one side of it. My dad was gone, leaving us with no money when I was very young. My mom was strong, beautiful and artistic and an uncanny ability to convince people that she could do almost anything. She used all these qualities to supplement her meager financial resources and combined, they magically arrived us through life one day at a time. I don’t remember ever hearing her say the word "can't".

My first memories of Mom in the working world were formed by earing her tell stories of being a model. She was one of those women who made heads turn every time she entered a room and for 10 years she posed for advertising, runway shows and department stores. I never learned precisely why her modeling career ended but I remember hearing vague stories about lecherous photographers and creeps who couldn’t keep their hands off her.

So she eased herself into another career and soon our apartment was filled with paintings and art supplies. There were easels in every room, some for paper and charcoal drawing and others for canvas & oils. Shed often paint all day and well into the night; I still remember her - brush in hand, working as she watched Johnny Carson until the wee hours of the morning. To this day I have no idea where she sold all of her artwork, but she found a market somewhere. She produced a prodigious amount of art that was apparently good enough that she sold all of it, earning enough money to pay the rent and my private school tuition.

When I was 8 years old my mother decided to spread her wings even farther and using her artistic talents, became an interior decorator as well as a landlord. I became her willing assistant. It was my first encounter with entrepreneurship. My mother had saved just enough money to rent an unfurnished, unoccupied apartment on east 56th Street, where we spend weekends painting walls and drawing floor plans. I would measure and she would draw.

Once the apartment was painted & my mothers decorating plans competed, we'd it the auctions. Mom read the paper to see what was coming up for auction that would fit her designs. I'd have fun going along after school and offering my opinion on which piece of furniture I thought would look best in the new apartment. We refinished or repainted furniture when necessary and in a matter of weeks listed the apartment in the "For Rent" section of the NY Times.

The phone rang off the hook. Within a week we'd found a tenant and rented the apartment with a year’s lease. By the time I was twelve, my mother, repeating that same scenario many times, was managing more than twenty apartments, all of which she'd decorated and subleased at substantial profit.

But times change. A few years later the NY rental market began to falter; Mom's business was slipping away. Overnight, rentals had become a thing of the past; people with money were buying their apartments instead of renting them. Undaunted, Mom entered school and after 6 months of classes, proudly announced that she had earned her real-estate license. If she couldn't rent, she was going to sell. Our days of refinishing furniture & visiting auction houses were over.

Mom started working at an up & coming firm on Madison Ave that was carving out a lucrative niche market by catering to wealthy clients looking for luxury apartments in Manhattans newly converted co-op buildings. Her first client was Woody Allen; a new career was born, a new adventure begun.

Mom's goals were straightforward: to be a good mother, enjoy a full life by embracing new experience and marry a wonderful man with the same objectives. She never did find that perfect man but she scored high in every other regard. Flexibility was an intrinsic part of her nature and helped her overcome setbacks without losing her enthusiasm for her dream.

As for me, she gave me the gift of knowing I can do whatever I want and the courage to follow through. I new as long as I was doing what I loved, money would follow. And, in genera, it has."

From Bob & Melinda Blanchard "Live What You Love"

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