My wonderful sister-in-law died recently.
Sitting around her big oval dining table, family shared memories and marveled at the magnificent jewelry and knitted sweaters she created. Some discussions became heated; some caused belly laughs. We talked politics (don’t ask), memorial services, funerals and burials.
At the end of her memorial service, we walked around the cemetery, searching for family history. After what seemed like miles of headstones, we located those family members who gave us life and love.
I was reminded of one of my earliest shpiels. Here it is.
I was 11 years old when dad and Uncle Joe bought a bungalow colony. At first they built six bungalows, but the location turned out to be perfect. The area was close to the city (1½ hours away, always stopping at the Red Apple rest stop), and soon they were able to expand to eight bungalows.
Within a few years the state of New York, in its infinite wisdom, built a major highway from the GW Bridge, and they were able to expand to 18 bungalows.
(A bungalow was a small summer place in the Catskills where families, sometimes three generations, living in cramped quarters, escaped the brutal New York City heat. Most bungalow colonies boasted a pool, a recreation building, a small day camp to keep the kids busy and an open field. The men stayed home in the hot city to work and schlepped up the 1½ hours on the weekends and back on Sunday night or early Monday morning.)
Dad and Joe always said it’s all about location, and their gamble paid off.
When Gene and I decided it was time to purchase a couple of small pieces of property, my priority was location, location, location.
Now you may think you know where I am going with this little story, but read on. Ever notice how the punchline is always at the end of a joke or story? Location, location, location.
We (meaning I) came up with a list of priorities for this expensive, life-changing experience. The most salient consideration was not to be too far from our girls. G-d forbid they would have to travel far to visit.
Here is my list of priorities, as outlined to the efficient and accommodating agent:
- Location — Close to the main entrance of the gated community we chose. The thought of my four girls, their husbands and children getting lost or tired or frustrated trying to find me made me shiver. I certainly did not want them to schlep to find me. Hence, close to the main entrance was important.
- Location — Shade from a beautiful hardwood tree. I hate schvitzing.
- Location — In case of rain, sleet, snow, thunderstorm, hurricane or twister, close to the main road. It also allows easy drive-by waves and shouts of “Hello; hi, Mom. How’s it going? Everything nice and quiet?”
- Location — Close to more expansive and more expensive properties. I plan for my property value to go up, not down. No riffraff in MY neighborhood. As it turns out, directly across from our small piece of land, a plan is on the books for beautiful, large family structures to be built. That’s what I’m talking about.
- Location — Having our name in back of the property makes no sense to me. I want our name to be front and center and artistically beautiful. Something we and our kids would be proud of. By the way, we decided on a rather elegant bronze nameplate, a true work of art.
- Location — Feng shui is crucial.
A few weeks ago we meet with the agent representing the gated community.
Mr. R tells us he has been in the business five years and truly loves helping people. He goes over the costs (costs you wouldn’t believe; I tell myself it is good for the economy) and the various options. We climb into his golf cart to visit the available sites that fit my requirements.
Quickly we find a perfect spot with a large, beautiful hardwood tree, close to the road, exceeding our expectations. And aren’t we the lucky couple? There is a sale this month — a special sale if we are members of a shul. Finally, we will get our reward for the various building funds to which we have contributed.
And here is the best part: To the right of our property is a huge Walmart; to the left are LongHorn and other restaurants. So the visit shouldn’t be a total loss.
We went home, discussed and decided it was perfect.
So mazel tov to us. We now have our burial plots chosen and paid for. Even after passing on, we’ll continue to take care of our children.
Have you chosen your location?