Traveling To Europe At The Speed of Light
Today I had the assignment to review and notarize “Power of Attorney” documents in Greenwich’s Blue Haven section. This area was 5 miles from my townhouse, yet it could have been 1000’s miles away. After a short commute, I encountered a guardhouse in a new neighborhood. I was entering an area I never knew existed. I was entering into a new/old world. One surprise after another was in store for this trekking notary.
Accordingly, a 70ish kind-looking man greeted me with a big broad smile. The gatekeeper had a large badge on his chest, with his name Peter in bold letters. I told Peter I had a meeting with Joseph Kramer at 36 Brighton Circle. Peter smiled more expansive and exhaustively as he told me Mr. Kramer had lived in Blue Haven for 40 years.
I received exact directions to follow the water around the circular drive and look for a large stone home on the left side. I passed one mansion after another as I drove in every direction. Surrounding me were fountains and elaborate landscaping. The majestic homes were old-world European. As a result, the scenery painted pictures of the Paris countryside before my eyes.
Upon passing a large iron gate, I arrived and parked in front of ornate wooden doors. I rang the bell, which resonated off the stone statues guarding the entrance. After 1,000 closings, I was met by barking dogs, babies in diapers, half-dressed men and women, and now a butler! Robert, (the butler) was dressed in an old-world suit with a bow tie. With my shorts and polo shirt, I guess I was underdressed. Robert led me through the winding hallways as I began taking in the surroundings. Besides, knights in armor, swords, and paintings of castles lined the walls.
Medieval Knights And the Horses Are Running
Suddenly, Joseph, the signor, appeared out of the shadows. At the same time, three maids and workers were moving about in a hurry. The home, or should I say castle, was surrounded by water with big open windows. I was viewing not new money; this was old, old money. Joseph greeted me warmly. He extended his hand with a clasp as if he had known me for years. He was in his 80s, dressed in an elaborate white shirt and a red ascot. At every turn, I felt like I was on a movie set or a rocket ship going back in time.
Now came a history lesson. Joseph explained that in the early, 1900’sthis entire area was a race track for horses and carriages. Joseph had a gleam in his eye, taking pride in reliving the history of his neighborhood.
The history lesson continued as I noticed various artifacts. Replicas of Knights of the Round Table guarded the room.
Lining the walls were giant silver crossbows and swords.
At the same time, a servant entered, carrying tea and cake on an elaborate tray. All the time, I smiled to myself. I could not believe how I ended up in this magical home. I kept saying to myself, where am I?
The Past Meets the Future
Finally, it was time to move to the task at hand. We moved quickly from medieval times to the modern world of the 20th century. Joseph told me he was building hydroelectric plants in Africa, as he has for the last fifty years. His energy and upbeat personality were contagious. He told me he had traveled the world and his Blue Haven castle/mansion was his home. Greenwich was his sanctuary after working with industry captains worldwide for years.
In our conversations, Joseph asked me about my background. I explained my journey and trekking. Joseph told me I was a wealthy young man. I sincerely thanked Joseph for his kind words and the opportunity of seeing his home.
Moving to the tasks at hand, I had to review and notarize the documents. The tour of mega wealth was coming to an end. For the notary fee of $150, I felt I had a ticket to view a European castle and museum.
Moreover, with all the historical pieces on the walls, this was a kind, warm man. The tales and stories continue every day. I left with a warm embrace and many fond memories.
Now Stories From the Gatekeeper
Upon leaving, I spoke to the guard Peter at the gate. He told me he had the opportunity to live and babysit a large home up the street. All for free by the owner as the party was traveling for a few years. The guard continued that prominent capitalists and movie stars have lived in the neighborhood. Peter said many community residents were very needy, but many were just regular people with wealth.
He added that he chose to stay in his modest home on Greenwich’s outskirts under the circumstances, where all his neighbors were hard-working families. Once again, I was asked about my background, just as Joseph had done a few moments ago. Sam complimented me on my hard work, and I congratulated Peter on living a respectful, happy life. Wow, a tour of the world and history in Old Greenwich. More importantly, life lessons of finding peace with your existence and meeting good people on all ends of the economic spectrum. Old World-New World-people are people.
The journey from world trekking to notary trekking and the lessons learned continue. — reinvention, discovery, and keeping it real.