Tales of a Seasoned Broker

No matter the reason, moving from your home is almost always a momentous occasion in one’s life. Sometimes we leave our homes in style, ready to take things up a notch to a bigger/better model. Other times, we leave our homes with a heavy heart but a clear purpose so we can be closer to family, work or house of worship.

 If we have been lucky enough, many of us have invested time and money into our homes, transforming them into places where our families can grow.  When we do move from the “homestead”  the experience touches a deeply personal and emotional chord. I am often amazed at how my job places me right into the heart of so many family transitions as households move from one stage of life to the next. One family is buying a home for a child that just got married, while the next family is selling their parents’ home, the home they grew up in, because the last one has just passed. We are all moving. 

My 99 year old mother in law, my last remaining parent, may she live and be well, often spends time at our house in Teaneck these days.  For the most part she remains in her own home in Rockland County with the help of some incredible aides. She was with us this past week and our home was blessed to have 4 generations of family underneath the same roof.

I had been going back and forth in my head all morning as to how much I should share with my mother in law regarding the dramatic news coming out of eastern Europe this week. She was born in Czechoslovakia in 1922 and after going through the war and surviving Auschwitz she and her sister made their way back home to their little Carpathian Mountain town called Vilchovitz on the border with Romania (now part of western Ukraine).  When she arrived at her house, her non Jewish neighbor and friend promptly began bringing out boxes of jewelry, clothing and other belongings which she had put into safe storage until my mother-in-law’s family would hopefully return. 

She had made it back home! 

As she tells the story and as the history books corroborate, shortly upon her arrival back to the place where her family had lived for generations, yelling and shouting could be heard through the village streets in the middle of the night. A knock on the door came and the message was given: “ the Russian army is closing all the mountain passes as we speak.  If you do not leave this instant you will wake up tomorrow morning in Ukraine and forever be a citizen of the communist Russian state!”  And so with nothing but the clothes on her back, she ran. 

I didn’t know what feelings would be stirred up by further discussion of the latest news regarding Russia’s invasion. I suspected that my mother in law was very well aware of the events as she keenly listens to the news on her transistor radio. Suddenly,  my son, who holds back less than I do,  walked into the kitchen where we were all sitting, put his arms around his grandmother and proclaimed…  You see! If you live long enough, you can have your home invaded and taken over by Russia, watch it become a free and democratic country and then watch it be invaded and taken over by Russia again!” 

Her mouth showed signs of shock but was quickly taken over by a faint smile. “This is still America, right?” she said.  “Yes,”   my son answered,  “for now this is still home.”  

Nechama Polak is the Broker of Record and owner of V and N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Ave in Teaneck. nechamapolak@gmail.com 201 826 8809.