As a little girl living with my parents and younger sister in an apartment in Queens, N.Y., I dreamed of moving into a house in the suburbs. I wanted the house to have a staircase, fireplace, backyard with a swing and my very own bedroom.
Every day when the Long Island Press arrived, I carefully perused the real estate listings, circling all of the houses for sale that met my requirements. I’d hand the real estate section to my father so he could consider the options. I doubt he ever looked at the listings. He wasn’t ready to buy a house.
When I was 9, we drove up to Westchester County to visit my mother’s best friend from college. Bernice, who’s still my mother’s best friend, lived in a beautiful home in the hamlet of Hastings-on-the-Hudson, about 30 minutes north of Manhattan. Bernice’s husband, Al, was a realtor, and during our visit he was called to a house showing. Dad and I tagged along. The house was a modest Cape Cod with four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a fireplace and a big backyard with a tire swing.
Al’s client wasn’t interested but to my amazement, my father was. He decided right there, without my mother present, that he was going to buy that house. My mother, who couldn’t care less about real estate, never minded that Dad made this big decision on his own. She still lives in the house, nearly 50 years later.
When it come to real estate, I’m nothing like my mother. Studying the real estate listings continues to be a favorite pastime. And I don’t just look, I move — a lot! Since leaving home for college, I’ve lived at 13 different addresses.
Some people have a clear image of the home they want to live in. I can see myself living in lots of different places. I’m a sucker for a Victorian Roland Park-style home, but I’m also drawn to unusual contemporaries with big windows and dramatic, mid-century furnishings. I like the city, but also appreciate the wide expanses and quiet beauty of the country.
After my divorce, my ex and I sold our Pikesville townhome and I rented an apartment in a Northeast Baltimore neighborhood I loved. But after a year-and-a-half, I became tired of paying rent and having nothing to show for it. I threw myself into a house search, believing that my next home would be my last. Several months later, I was set to purchase an adorable but tiny Spanish bungalow in Anneslie.
Just before settlement, I went on a successful date. Afterward, I told a friend, “I think this could really turn into something.” No one was more surprised than me when my instincts proved right.
Soon after I moved into my new abode, my beau and I began seeing each other two or three times a week. Since he still had kids at home, we spent most of our time at his Canton townhouse. I was overjoyed I’d met my beshert (thank you, OkCupid). Still, I was sad and felt neglectful of my sweet little bungalow. Owning a home where I didn’t live felt like a burden, not to mention an unnecessary expense. So I did what any divorced woman with an ex-husband who’s a realtor would do — I hired him to sell my house.
At the time of this writing, my house is under contract. Once it’s sold, I’ll officially move in with my partner in Canton. Could this be my final move? Only time will tell.
I hope you enjoy Jmore’s March/April cover story about Charm City’s ever-evolving real estate scene. Fortunately, for wandering Jews like myself, metro Baltimore offers a diverse range of living situations to suit the tastes and preferences of just about anyone.