#6: “An Oldie, But A Goodie!” from 4/3/2008


5 minute read

January 16, 2009

I come across many different people during the course of my job, and they come from all walks of life.

Some are nice, some are mean.  Some are sincere, and some are simply out to get something for nothing.

But old people are the biggest question mark.

Last week, I met a kind old man who left a rather lasting impression…


One of my favorite pieces of marketing (or junk mail, if you want) is something I call the “Not For Sale Evaluation.”

Basically, I offer a free evaluation for your condominium or home, under the premise that the best time to have your property evaluated is when it is simply not for sale.

The reasoning behind this is that when a seller makes it known that his or her property is for sale, some Realtors might over-inflate the value of the property to try and “buy” the listing.  On the flip side, a seller will be far more emotional around selling time, and wont see things clearly.  Hence, the “Not For Sale Evaluation.”

I find that half of the people that respond to my mailings are old people who are just bored, lonely, and are looking for an excuse for anybody to come and visit them.

In fact, when I sent out flyers to five-hundred condos in the area last month, I did four evaluations, and two were for old people that had no intention of ever selling.

One evaluation I did for a condo in the St. Lawrence Market area allowed me to meet a man who entertained me for the better part of an hour.  And for once, I didn’t mind.

“Mr. Landry,” as I’ll refer to him, is a man of about 80-85 years old, and has lived in Toronto at FIVE different times in his life.

He has spent time living in England, Winnipeg, and throughout the Eastern United States.

Mr. Landry is in the arts & entertainment industry, and has written, directed, and performed in the theatre across North America.  He has also penned several books.

In fact, while taking measurements and photos of his condo for the evaluation, I was constantly fumbling over stacks of books, papers, magazines, videocassettes, and anything related to media.

Mr. Landry LOVED to tell stories.

Old people either tell really great stories, or really bad ones.

Mr. Landry told GREAT stories.

In fact, Mr. Landry is the single most entertaining individual I have met in all my years in this business.

We sat in his kitchen discussing how Toronto has developed over the past eighty-some-odd years, and I began to wonder if he knew I was only 27 years old.

We both agreed that “rooming houses” throughout the city have excellent investment potential since many of them are century-old houses with original, irreplaceable features and could be restored back to gorgeous single-family dwellings.

He began to tell me about a time back in his “younger days” when he was living in a rooming house in The Annex.

“I was quite a bird-dogger back in my day,” said Mr. Landry.

“Bird-dogger,” I thought to myself.  Where have I heard this term before?  Think!  Aaaah….right, now I recall!  Jack Nicholson used this term in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when McMurphy says, “Come on!  You should be out bird-dogging chicks and (censored)!”

“Bird-dogger, you say, Mr. Landry?” I questioned the old man.

“Yes, well I had met a rather pleasant young lady at a local watering-hole and I had asked her back to my den at the rooming house,” Mr. Landry said.  “I planned to have my way with her,” he added.

Wow.  Did he just say that?

Sexually,” Mr. Landry added.  Yeah, I understood that much…

“I understand that much,” I told the ole’ bird-dogger.

I love how old people are so blunt, and unafraid of what reactions their statements might garner.

“Well, one of my favorite tricks—and feel free to make a note of this,” said Mr. Landry as he tried to educate me on the timeless tactics used to acquire female companionship, “Was to bring a woman back to a room full of lit candles, whereby the warmth of the candlelight would soon not be the only source of heat in the room, if you know what I mean.”

I knew what he meant.

“I know what you mean!” I told Mr. Landry.

“Well, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t much more than a quarter-of-an-hour before the land-lady came rat-a-tat-tatting on the door and asked me to cease and desist.  Thankfully, she was speaking of the candles, and not my…..er….indiscretions.”

“Well, we all have indiscretions, Mr. Landry.”

“Well, I should rather hope so!  But if I might continue…..So the old bitty told me she feared I might burn the whole house down.  Well, I knew that my female caller was quite fond of the candles, so I told the land-lady that I was concerned for her investment and that I feared her electricity bills might put her out of business.  The candles were to be used in place of my corner lamps and ceiling fixtures.  Well, suffice it to say that she not only approved of my frequent candle usage, but she became accustomed to leaving cookies on my doorstep.”

Frequent candle usage, Mr. Landry?” I inquired as to his overall need for…..candles.

“Oh yes, quite.  In fact, I used to get the candles from the corner deli down below, every night as they closed up shop.  The waitresses would sneer and the men in the kitchen would cheer.”

Holy crap.  This old man was my freakin’ hero!

Why wasn’t I holding a tape-recorder and writing a book about this guy?  Oh wait, that’s his forte…

Mr. Landry told regaled me with his many years in Toronto, and in a stereo-typical “old-man” kind of way, he demonstrated that he had no qualms about using culturally or racially insensitive comments, and he didn’t pull his punches with regards to his opinion on certain matters.

He explained how “the Jews” were kept out of Rosedale and were forced to create their own area, and later enlightened me on how the plight of the black man in our city is the fault of white politicians who try to keep them clustered in areas where they will cannibalize their own population.

Phew!  I’m symbolically wiping my brow as I type this…

I haven’t spent a lot of time around “old people.”  My paternal grandfather died at about 62 years old when I was a small child, and my maternal grandfather died long before I was born.  I did spend a lot of time with my maternal grandmother in my childhood; just think of George’s mother on Seinfeld.  “Whadddya need all that ketchup for?”

Mr. Landry is a very well educated man, very versed in our society, history, and popular culture.  To add to his list of accomplishments, he’s going to Western Canada next month to model for a statue of himself that will be made from bronze and proudly displayed out front of a theatre which he helped launch many years ago.

He mentioned at one point, “I’m writing my memoirs at the moment,” and I wondered whether he was simply putting pen to paper in a personal journal or whether he was writing an autobiography.

If he went the latter route, I would read it, 110%.  He had me enthralled with his endeavours and charisma after only an hour; I can’t imagine what his entire memoirs would entail.

Oh yeah, and his condo is worth a million-bucks…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

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