A tribute to departed friends, and checking in on a few other extraordinary people
Darlings, Being away from my life’s work of compiling a sociological study of the American Realtor for the last twomonths, I toyed with the idea of ending this book of installments called “Out and About with Oakley Talbott.” Then, as I pondered this, I realized I needed to get to writing, as my deadline was looming large in front of me. Well, therewe have it, Dumplings, my decision to continue on, apparently.
Learning of Ginny Sohn’s death in late March reminded me of how long I’ve been compiling information about our real-estate community. Pumpkins, in case you’ve forgotten, a long time ago the Santa Fe Association of Realtors decided to publish our own real-estate magazine, which was quite successful and way too much work. It was Ginny who rescued us by brokering the sale of our little mag to The New Mexican (she was assistant general manager and the advertising director at the time). So today, you fortunate readers, you have HOME magazine, the essential real-estate supplement provided in our newspaper the first Sunday of every month. It comes to you, rain or shine, as reliable as the U.S Postal Service used to be. Thank you, Ginny, for that and the myriad contributions you made to the people of Santa Fe in your way-toobrief lifetime.
Dennis Branch (Logic Realty) was another positive force in our real-estate community. Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, he renovated homes, developed a number of subdivisions and condo projects, and started real-estate companies like ReMax of Santa Fe and Realty 3000. At one point, Cupcakes, he moved to California where he had the Re-Bath franchise for Orange County, naturally rocking bathroom remodel sales to new levels. Last fall, when he returned to Logic Realty and his friends/former business partners, Lynn G. and Randall Scott, he closed more than a million dollars of real estate in his first two months of being back in the saddle.
Plagued by medical issues, Dennis never let that get in his way. A whirlwind of energy and optimism, he was competitive, funny, and a teacher who generously shared his knowledge with Realtors new to the biz. When he died from a heart attack (his fourth and final one) that Friday in April, he was coming up La Bajada Hill, returning fromAlbuquerque with a load of bricks for his remodel in Sol Y Lomas. A huge loss, but Dennis leaves a huge footprint, filled with many happy memories and amazing stories.
One more extraordinary human being who said goodbye last month is Don Holman. Don and his family (wife, Allane, and two children) moved here in 1980 from Pasadena. Originally working as a Realtor with Wayne Nichols at the Nichols Agency, he ultimately moved to Coldwell Banker TrailsWest and was there until he retired in 2013. We always said that Don moved from a small office to a larger one because he needed a bigger audience to entertain and teach. Sugar Pops, Don was the go-to guy when you needed to hear something funny to brighten your day, and he was daman for surewhen you needed help on your Mac computer or anything Apple. Generous, funny, kind, never too busy to help someone else… thatwas Don, an irreplaceable colleague and friend.
Well, Butter Beans, I didn’t mean to turn this into an obituary column. What else have I been doing lately, youmight ask. Not much, sadly, other than eating out and eating too much. Yes, Chickadees, now that I’ve given up sex for food, I can’t even get into my own pants (an old joke I couldn’t resist). When I’m at lunch at Santa Fe Bar and Grill, I run into friends like Craig and Michaelann Huitfeldt (Bell Tower/Keller Williams) and DavidWoodard (Sotheby’s). Craig swears that success won’t spoil him, even though he and Michaelann just closed on the IMUS RANCH, which makes them more famous than Don Imus himself (at least in our world). I’m in production right now for the remake of that old film, “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” The title’s been changed, of course, to “Will Success Spoil Craig Huitfeldt?” Possums, I’d tell you how it ends, but I don’twant to “spoil” it for you.
DavidWoodard thinks he’s the second oldest old-timer in real estate (second only to the King, Wally Sargent), but I think Philip Gudwin (SF Props) and Chris Haynes (Sotheby’s) are in the race, as well. David’s famous for being the father of Christian, themost popular employee at La Choza. A server, a bus person, and a favorite host there for the last eight years, Chris- tian also has the distinction of sharing the same birthday with another La Choza fan, Sam Pick. Coincidentally, Gumdrops, they celebrated their latest birthdays simultaneously, albeit at separate tables— at where else but La Choza. Christian was 30, and Sam was...??
In the evening, on Tuesdays for dinner at Maria’s, I run into friends like Candice Jager (owner/broker, Candice and Company), and Bill and Liz Layden. Bill (Senior vp at Century Bank) was born into real estate. His dad, Bill, Sr., was a Realtor and developer for many years, but today he kicks back— ha ha— and just manages his rental properties. Bill segued into the mortgage loan business, and has now been at Century Bank for 26 years. (Wow!) Liz (office manager, Stewart Title) has been in the title business for at least 24 years. This I know, because I remember when Bill and Liz started dating 23 years ago, and at that time she was working for LaMerle Boyd, the best in the business and the owner of the now-defunct Capital City Title. Time flies when we’re having fun, huh, Love Bugs?
That takes care of lunch and dinner. What about those evenings when I’m all alone (yikes). I read. My current book is Douglas Atwill’s latest, FIFTY-THREE PAINTINGS, the Year 2017 in the Studio. It’s a book of photographs accompanied by descriptive stories of all the paintings he produced last year, which he did instead of designing and building a new house for Gary Hall (Barker Realty) to sell. I don’t knowabout you, Creampuffs, but I’m thrilled because I get to look at pictures of his paintings forever, and I may never get to live in one of his houses. C’mon, Oakley, never say never.
So long, Sweetpeas. Until next time... Oakley