Started the Maine real estate listing exercise back in 1979 when I got my broker’s ticket.
One of the early property owners I was lucky to work with was Mrs Guy. Short, vertically challenged and close to the ground. A small lady that was a dynamo, full of energy, had a keen sense of humor.
I surveyed the property, a five bedroom home that was modified a lot over the years. She had gone through a divorce, had a family and quickly needed to figure out how to make a living. To put food on the table, hold it all together. So the idea of renting out rooms, running an adult boarding home blossomed. It allowed her to be at home, with the kids and the job juggled nicely.
As a child grew up and left the nest, that room or area was worked over and put into the Maine boarding home business for a man or woman to call their own living space.
Many of the boarders had no family. So the way Mrs Guy decorated for Christmas, other holidays provided them with the feeling of home they lacked and that we all need. Ever really think about what it is like to be homeless..no place to hang your hat?
Careful shopping for food and cleaning supplies needed when you live on a small Maine home income. Up to five boarders the maximum to avoid needing sprinkler systems and more complicated red tape to chainsaw through. And any money the owner made, got plowed back into the property. Slowly making it sided, re-roofed and lots of other updates that only careful money managing helped to create, pay the way to improvements.
Mrs Guy said she preferred to have men for boarders though.
She found there was less chance of Suzy is not so wild about Bertha and the drama as they spiraled like cats that don’t get along. She said men were simpler, sat out on the front porch, talked, were happy to be here at her home that she opened up, shared. Also, the scheduling for hair appointments, making sure the medications are correct, refilled and doctor visits running around all added to the busy day to keep the house running smooth. And inviting outsiders if the boarder had family into eat a meal or two with the boarder. Nice. Neat. Considerate.
Each client, boarder or whatever the politically correct term today for the folks that lived under the same roof had their own private area of the Maine home.
With a collection of personal items that were unique to them. All they had. And Mrs Guy, her family and friends all added to the life of the boarder who otherwise would have no one to look out for them. To care about them and provide love, attention, conversation. To make them feel important. Treat them with dignity.
That real estate sale of the boarding home in Maine happeded back in the early 1980’s but still think about Mrs Guy whenever I resold the place or drive by it. Remembering how well she did her job. How gracious she was to share her home and take in these boarders. Tucking them under her wing to help them along. Very capable, tenacious and a warm loving, kind lady that did the best she could to make the most of what she had. Deeply religious, faithful and I think from up in the valley of Northern Maine where French is the common language. That’s the kind of people that make up the 108 small towns of Maine, the few, one handful of cities we have in Vacationland.