Algonquin March 2020. I’m sitting in our hotel room with a terrible headache. Not only a headache, but my heart is aching too. I am attempting to write about how precious my grandmother is, or was; trying to grapple with the fact that she has died only a few days ago. I’m titling this eulogy, “Things I’d Like to Inherit From my Grandmother.”
Algonquin March 2022. I’m sitting at the pool side. This time my heart isn’t aching. It swells with the presence of my Nana, who is here with me. I am attempting to write about her beloved home in McAdam. I’ve done the measurements and taken the pictures. But as I think about her, I’m appraising a different kind of value to this home, a value you won’t find on MLS. I’m titling this short tribute, “What my Grandmother has Taught me about Real Estate.”
The story of 15 Poplar Street, McAdam, was established as a result of friendship. Two souls merged in the little town of McAdam, NB, and their alliance proved so strong that they decided to buy land, side by side to each other. Phyllis’ home was built first. Nana told me the story once of the day she looked out from Phyllis’ living room onto the barren lot of 15 Poplar. She stood with her beloved friend bursting with joy at the thought that her dream would soon become a reality.
My Nan was extremely pragmatic. Her dreams sored in her mind and heart, but never above and beyond the means of what could be achieved. She was delighted with all she needed, never reduced by demanding wants. Her home was a 1000 square foot bungalow including three bedrooms, 1 bathroom, an eat-in kitchen, a combined dining and living room. They built a closet with a laundry chute that emptied into the basement. It was perfect in every way.
My grandparents, Patricia and Stanley Little, raised their two children, Carolyn and James, in this home. Carolyn got ready for her wedding in this home. The grandchildren ran around and baked cookies with their grandmother in this home (and had a great deal of fun with the laundry chute). Soon the great-grandchildren would be singing “Happy Birthday” in this home and drooling over another cake made by “GG” (Great-grandmother). The house was full. The house also emptied. Nan came home from hospital births with her heart full. She also came home from hospital deaths and funerals with her heart broken. She came home countless times to someone. But then there were times she came home to no one. Over 70 years the walls of 15 Poplar Street captured a plethora of stories and memories. Stories that transcended the foundation that was laid in the early 50s and emerged from the life of a woman who lived nearly a century.
What gives a home value? Is it the cost of materials to build? Is it the location? Do we assign value based on what a property could be? It certainly can be all that and more, but I’ll tell you what my Nan taught me about the value of real estate, and it’s simple: the value lies in you. YOU are what makes real estate valuable. It is what you bring to it – your dreams, your vision, your heart and soul, your resources, your gifts, whether tangible or intangible. Regardless of your intention, your home or property reflects a great deal about yourself.
Nana’s heart made her habitat a place that met a profound need in humanity: a need for connection, belonging, and nurturing. What I’ve learned from my Nana about real estate is that the spirit of friendship, family, and community can continue to be honored and celebrated in our properties, if only we don’t neglect them in our hearts. Whether it’s an ordinary 1000 square foot bungalow or a 10,000 square foot palace, its true potential does not lie in your pocketbook but in your heart. Thank you, Nana, for teaching me that.