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  • jnshelly

Our Most Interesting Year of 2021

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

So, first, step back to July 5th 2020 because that’s where the big changes of 2021 really start. In the middle of Covid, fully vaccinated, we’d gone to the family 4th of July party at sister Janet’s in Royersford. After spending the night in their driveway camped in Shadow our RV, we were heading home to EH when Julia announced she wanted to look at a house. Now, I am 3 years away from selling GSL to Donovan on the payment plan but Julia was already looking hard at real estate in New Jersey. The plan is to eventually move to Princeton. We stopped to look at a house on Randolph Drive in Robbinsville.

It was a very special house, a mansion! But it was up for sale there and then. I made my pronouncement: “If it is meant for us to buy, it will be there when we are ready.” I know this because all our houses have waited for us. In 1980 we looked at Fireplace Road only to be told it had been sold to the person looking before us. We looked at our Princess Court house 3 years before we bought it. I’m quite convinced houses wait for you if it is meant to be. So, we drove back to East Hampton.

BUT in December Donovan told me he wanted to accelerate his purchase of Georgica Services. He wanted to run his own shop, not mine. The company had a good cash position, and he thought he’d be able to make a lumpsum payment and purchase all the company stock in January. Shoot, was I out of a job? I didn’t know how I felt about that.

We spent New Year’s and the first half of January in Naples, occupied by the house, tennis, fishing and socially distanced “Cul de Sac” covid meetings with the neighbors

Midmonth we returned to EH, signed the company purchase agreement with Donovan, packed and closed 74 for the winter and started south. On January 26th we went to an open house at the mansion in Robbinsville and made a purchase offer, then on to Janet’s where we celebrated Julia’s upcoming birthday. The next morning we continued south. Sometime during that day the realtor called. The owners were going with another offer that was “higher (no they didn’t want us to raise our offer) and which could close more quickly”. In that we were making a cash offer and said we could close next month, this was at least, strange. Perhaps it was not meant to be. We spent that night in Virginia at a campsite we’d found still open. The temperature went down to 17F, making for an uncomfortable night.

We drove on to Hilton Head, then Naples where we again took up our winter activity. But on March 6 we got a call from the NJ realtor. The deal had fallen through (again) and were we still interested? We said yes and sent in a new offer which was accepted. During all the drama which accompanied the sale Julia just looked at me and said, “We are buying this house no matter what happens.” We made progress and had setbacks. I went to Robbinsville for the house inspection, came back, fielded more disasters and issues but we just kept pressing on. Meanwhile lots of friends visited Florida and we had a great winter.

On April 26th we drove to Princeton and closed on the house. That night we carried our mattresses in from Shadow and camped in our living room. This is our first night in our new home! Remember what I said about houses waiting for us?

OK, now we are moving… May 10th the first truck loaded out of 74 and we set out for Robbinsville to meet them the next day. I’m stunned, but I don’t’ have any pictures of the moving process. My mind was just not in 'document' mode through all of this. I did find out one thing. We are hoarders! We went from a 1700 square foot house to a 3700 square foot house and didn’t have to buy any new furniture! We did replace some things, but we added very little. My thanks to all our friends who came to our house and never mentioned this!

I turned my attention to Great Race, went to a practice rally in Delaware (thanks to Ed Hyman who volunteered to go with me) where I met Tom my GR navigator: Here we are with Superman in Metropolis, Illinois. We did the whole rally finishing 11th overall,

I started for home and broke down 150 miles later. After a U-Haul truck and trailer tow, the Buick was safe in EH. We still had a house and garage there! And of course, I am still the company’s landlord.

But then we got an offer we couldn’t refuse. Our friend Alan Patricof said he’d been trying to help his caretaker buy a house. And that’s what happened. We made a deal and never offered it to the public. After lots of trips back and forth to move the accumulated treasures of 40 years, we closed on July 22nd. Then came ‘The Great Irony”. We’d lived in that house since 1980. And all that time there was a bad expansion joint in the road directly in front of us, and every truck that hit went bang-bang-bang on down the road. It literally shook our property. Pictures on the wall were forever crooked from the vibrations. 41 years this went on! We closed on Thursday and on Tuesday they started to repave the road. This just proves timing is everything!

We had 3 weddings this year. Our nephew Ryan married Megan and godchildren Rachel and Michael married Anthony and Brielle respectively. We had a wonderful time at the weddings, and all the couples seem to be off to a great start in life.

My birthday party on August 13th turned into a housewarming party, again undocumented. We met up Barb, Jon, Steven and Henry at the US Open, we’ve been working and entertaining in Robbinsville, traveling back and forth to Naples, making progress on Buick repairs, moving other cars to Robbinsville, and so forth. Catherine joined us for Thanksgiving in the mansion which pretty much finishes the tale of 2021.

We are in Florida for the holidays and we hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Best wishes for 2022! J&J

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