Happy Thanksgiving, all….and I’d just like to say: In recent years, I have many Rhode Islanders to thank, for what’s happening in my life.
First, I thank Providence Journal Vice-President and Editorial page editor, Ed Achorn, for running my columns, monthly. In these, I hoped to give the public a window on the world of teaching. (I spun out, into other areas as well.) I thank Executive Editor of the Providence Journal, Alan Rosenberg, for featuring my Memorial Day story about my brother-in-law, Lt. Colonel Fredric Moore Mellor, Rhode Island’s first casualty of the Viet Nam war.
I thank all who invited me to speak before their groups—the American Assoc. of University Women, Leisure Learning of East Greenwich (both over 100 in audience), Allen Gammons, Greg Dantas, and David Iannuccilli, 3 broker/owners who saw the value of my book, Boomerrrang, apprising the public of how to best use the skill of a realtor; Bristol Rotary, North Smithfield Rotary, Tavern Hall Preservation Society, RI Aviation Hall of Fame, Mount Hope Farm, among others.
I thank all who bought my books and came to my guest talks, for I deeply appreciate your support.
How’d this journey begin?
In 2010, my longtime partner, Paul Wesley Gates, was hit on a mountain road by a 12-year-old girl, in a region we’d chosen for retirement— Asheville, North Carolina. He suffered a broken neck and “died” following complications of surgery. Staff brought him back, but it took two years of recovery. In that process, amazing things happened.
First, he and I published 2 Grandpa and the Truck books (link on this website) for children., based on Paul’s 30-year career as a big rig driver who traveled every state in the United States—except one.
Then, I published Boomerrrang—my book about our life in the South for 9 years.
In that capacity, I speak before audiences as to how we identified the region …the town…the home (condo or stand-alone home) for retirement. I discuss drawbacks/benefits of all. And because much of my life (30 years) was teaching junior high students, I package my “lessons” with lots of humor. I address why we rejected coastline communities…I tell why we’re not Naples, Florida types (tho’ Naples is gorgeous). I talk about the troubles for those who hopscotch between northern and southern homes in the “Two State Shuffle.” I warn why it might not be good to identify as Floridian, if you keep your Rhode Island home, too.
I tell you why we love Asheville, North Carolina. I tell you about the minstrels playing outside smaller supermarkets…the chair massages in retail stores (so very civilized). I even tell you how this older woman went hurtling through the trees and over deep chasms, ziplining with her daughter. I tell of our volunteer activities (he ran blood for the Red Cross ; I taught women in the Asheville jail) … how I broke into that same jail one night, to fulfill a promise to my women prisoners. I tell how Paul filed a Missing Persons Report on me with police. Even more stunning? Police put an APB out on me!!
I tell how a laid-back region populated with mostly older hippies, charmed us completely.
Throughout, I share what I learned.
Boomerrrang gives long-overdue credit to Rhode Island for being the winner in our ultimate choice of where to live. Oh, we made the serious attempt to leave. In the end, Rhode island lured us back. In the book, I tell why (the reasons are NOT what you think.)
Jane M. of Warwick said of my book: “Thank you for allowing me to see Rhode Island with a different set of eyes,” while a young woman who wants her Florida Mom to return to Rhode Island offered: “I’m getting this book for my mother, so she’ll consider returning.”
Boomerrrang is funny (read the reviews on Amazon). It’s touching…It shows how to get what you want (I had to fight the bureaucracy of a top hospital and neurosurgeon who kept telling me Paul was ‘fine and ready for discharge,’ when he was bat**** crazy.) It’s a quilt of humor-laced stories.
It tells you how to shop for a home…anywhere. It even tells you how to sell your home, yourself, if you’re brave (or crazy) enough to go that route.
Boomerrrang will tell you why we made the choice to return to the colder New England, after 9 years in the South.
Finally, Boomerrrang inspires for it shows how personal crises became our springboard to go higher.
Yep…This year has been one giant wave of success, affording me venues I’d never have considered. So, to all–I say “Thank you!!” To others who consider me for speaking, contact me: My plan is to go across Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, with my message.
Please note: If you wish a personal, author-signed copy, please order through this website and put your request for how you want it signed in “Special Instructions.” To get for holiday gift-giving, you must order the personalized book by December 12th.
My book is also sold at Barrington Books in Garden City and in Barrington, the Savoy Bookstore in Westerly, Malaprops in Asheville, NC, Amazon and Kindle. In outlets other than my personal website, you can order books later than the Dec. 12thdate.
Lastly, thanks to the Dan Yorke “State of Mind” TV show for having me as guest. Below is the link to my recent guest appearance.
***Contact me (email@example.com) if you’d like me to speak before your group. I promise: We’ll have fun!!
“Heck, Asheville…You Came in 2nd.!!”
That’s right–Asheville, North Carolina was always on our Bucket List but you know what? The Tar Heel state ended up being our 2nd. most favorite state of all 50. No small accomplishment. North Carolina just couldn’t outpace our #1 favorite–the smallest state in the U.S….little Rhode island, our home state. So, after living 9 years in Asheville, in the Blue Ridge/Smoky Mountain enclave of artists…writers…nature-lovers, we went home.
Last Sunday was a gorgeous day. With that, Paul and I checked out the Mt. Hope Farm, in Bristol, Rhode Island, where I speak on November 7, at 7:00 PM. My topic? “Downsizing…condo-sizing…Buying/Selling a Home When One is Older” (even out of state buying, as we did, in that mecca for so many discerning home buyers–Asheville, North Carolina).
My talk is based on my book Boomerrrang and in that vein, I go all about, speaking as to why folks just might want to prepare themselves for a move—anywhere. I also “talk up” Rhode Island and Asheville, North Carolina, in the process, giving folks something to chew on—a different perspective.
But mine’s no stodgy talk…I manage to weave in great fun. For instance, in this talk, I’ll mention the folks I just met on Sunday’s walk.I even mention that vicious little dog (why are they always little?) owned by the first woman– a dog that repeatedly tried to savage my ankle.
When we checked out my speaking site, we walked the grounds. There was an event going on in the barn… a wine-tasting. Following the parking guide’s directions, I went back out to the gate on the main road and drove down the road to the parking area. When I passed a great green expanse, I recalled that I’d been there before—about 50 years ago for a polo match (yep–I’m getting up there, age-wise.) Why did I remember it? The event was wildly impressive: white linen tablecloths atop tables, aside the playing field…fresh flowers in cut glass vases…expensive wines and glass goblets, along with picnic goodies in baskets that people brought.
Those in attendance were dressed in finery, too, with the women wearing picture hats with broad brims, a la Kentucky Derby (you know, the horse race that evokes mint juleps in frosted metal cups). All so elegant. Then we watched the match where men hit a very tiny ball, while galloping atop giant steeds. All very Brit and very posh.
While walking the paths, we met two couples… both interesting. The woman of the first set lives in Bristol and readily admits: “I never go beyond this immediate area.” She simply would never have an occasion to go to where we live—East Greenwich/Cowesett area.She admitted that, laughing at her travel-challenged lifestyle. In fact, she was impressed we go all over. She was, I’m guessing, in her 40’s.
The second set—a couple in their 80’s (yes, I asked) we got to know quite well, for we spent a good forty-five minutes chatting with them. They were sitting on the steps of the log house which turned out to be our ultimate destination on the grounds. He (Ree-chard is Richard with a French accent) met Claudine when he was stationed in World War II, in France. She became his war bride (remember, the French regarded Americans as heroes and saviors from occupation by Nazi Germany). They’ve been married 60 years. They’ve lived in Florida but now they are back in Rhode Island as full time residents. They’re just two more Boomerrrang-ers (btw, I’m forming an actual group of such, because as I speak, more and more folks are coming up to me, saying: “We’re Boomerrrangers, too…We lived in Florida for 8 years but that was enough. So, we came back to Rhode Island.)” Therefore, I’m forming a club, so please add your name to the subscription list on this site, if you, too, want to be a member.
Ree-chard is a sailing aficionado…They’re not golfers. That’s important to note. I told them that we’re neither. That was a crucial determinant for how we chose where we wanted to live, in retirement, for we saw no reason to pay the extra fees that go with joining a boating or golfing condominium community. Plus, we didn’t want our conversation always rotating around subjects about which we know little.
So, a glorious fall day. The temperature climbed to almost 60 degrees. We had a lovely walk along the Bay. Another couple told us a seal was sunning himself on one of the rocks, but he’d disappeared before we could see. That’s not unnatural: Nearby Chatham, Massachusetts has been a mecca for seals in recent years, hence the Great White shark increase, too, for seal is the favorite diet of sharks.
Today, we met 4 friends. Another thing I noted? No one leaves Bristol…and if they do, it’s not for long. When the second couple asked where we lived, I told them Cowesett. The man seemed puzzled, so I said, “It’s up from Main St., East Greenwich…the harbor.” He then offered: “Oh, we never go to that far..”
I thought: “Here we are, in beautiful Bristol, a historic enclave in little Rhode Island, with folks who’ve been to France (one was raised there—the other was military-sent) but they admittedly never travel to our section of the state. Then again, we’d heard the same from the other couple….
So my conclusion? “What happens in Bristol stays in Bristol.”
And that means most definitely her people.
***Join Colleen at one of her speaking engagements (call Mt. Hope Farm if interested for this Wed’s talk) where she gives all a truly different perspective on Rhode Island and tells you how to succeed whether you’re downsizing, condo-sizing, moving to a different region (in or out of state). Her “rules for success” work anywhere…for anyone. Her book, “Boomerrrang, is available at Barrington Books in Barrington and Cranston’s Garden City; the Savoy in Westerly; Malaprops in Asheville, NC, and on Amazon and Kindle. If you buy through her website (colleenkellymellor.com), she will personalize and autograph the book per your instructions.
PS. If you’ve never been to Mt. Hope Farm in Bristol, RI, check it out…Walk the grounds. Bring your kids and dogs (we were the only ones without a furry critter.)
P.P.S. Thanks, again, to Colleen’s recent audience at Tavern Preservation Society in Kingston. She loves the fact they’ve now made her an honorary member of their interesting group. Colleen was so impressed she recommended they get author Ed Iannuccilli as speaker, for one of their future events. Ed, in turn, recommended Colleen to Mt. Hope Farm—Bristol, where he’d spoken.
Shaken or Stirred?
You know the famous expression referring to James Bond’s preferred martini. “Shaken, not stirred.” It’s the most famous quote searched for in Google. Bond did not vocally order one himself until Goldfinger
(1964). In the 1967 film You Only Live Twice
, Bond’s contact, Henderson, prepares a martini for Bond and says, “That’s, um, stirred not shaken?” So, which was his preference? Do you remember?
What’s the connection to me? As speaker, I generally shake things up with audiences (we have lots of laughs) and I hopefully stir them to sound decision-making, regarding what is often the biggest decision of their lives—purchase/sale of a home.
So, it’s not really an “either-or” for me. I try to do both.
The groups to whom I’ve spoken have all been wonderful. They are: Association of American University Women (100+ in audience) at Atlantic Resort, in Middletown, on April 19; East GreenwichLeisure LearningGroup(also 100+) on April 25; Bristol Rotary on May 9; North Smithfield Rotary, June 27; 3 realtor groups in East Greenwich, sponsored by broker/owners Greg Dantas, Allen Gammons, and Dave Iannuccilli, on June 28; I was a guest on Frank Prosnitz’s radio program in Westerly, on July 30. I spoke before Wingate Sr. Residence in Needham, Mass., on Aug. 10.
I took September off.
On October 19, I spoke before the Tavern Preservation Society, in Kingston, RI.
I’ll be speaking Nov. 7 at Bristol at Hope Farm. Then, I go to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, November 19, for the Rhode Island Aeronautic Hall of Fame gathering. They invited me, following my Providence Journal front page story on April 28th
., Memorial Day, about my brother-in-law Fredric Mellor, RI’s first Missing in Action in the Vietnam war
. One month after my story ran, the government officially identified his remains, 53 years after he’d been shot down, one month after my story ran. The coincidence (was it?) was stunning.
My talks are motivational. I tell folks how they can protect themselves from BIG mistakes in buying/selling homes. I talk about what I saw in Asheville, North Carolina (our chosen retirement town), with folks coming in from elsewhere, buying without representation. I tell them how foolish that is since, in most cases, they can have a Buyer Broker (realtor) who’ll represent their interests and they don’t even have to pay for it (ask the realtor when they might have to pay.) But I always recommend they do their own “due diligence.” For instance, I always checked, after touring with our realtor in Asheville, if any homes were near Superfund sites (I didn’t want to live near any.)
I tell them in some states (like Florida), realtors are Transactional Brokers, meaning they do not advocate for either party. So, buyers better be their own advocates.
For all these reasons, I wrote my book, Boomerrrang
(3 r’s). But its lessons are for buyers and sellers anywhere
And I pack the book with humor (read the reviews on Amazon).
So, why not come to my next talk—in Bristol? As you can see from reviews on my website, my audiences enjoy my presentations. I’ll have my books available: Boomerrrang
or my two children’s books, Grandpa and the Truck (Books 1 and 2
). If you can’t come, check out/buy a personalized/autographed book at colleenkellymellor.com and grandpaandthetruck.com
is also at Amazon/Kindle, Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, Barrington Books’ 2 locations in RI, Savoy Bookstore in Westerly.
And here’s the real corker!!! I’ve become a guest speaker, doing what, frankly, I never foresaw myself doing. And I love it. So, again, I’m here to tell you: Nothing in life is wasted effort. I share what were my triumphs and my mistakes in my talks. I’m brutally honest, as you’ll see if you click on my video below.
My partner, the trucker, appears with me, too…a man who traveled across all 49 states in his big rig—the hero of the Grandpa and the Truck
stories. Folks tend to be fascinated with a trucker’s lifestyle, since truckers are mavericks who run the highways of our vast land, wielding those big metal beasts.
One time, at an all-women guest talk, I noted an older woman sidle up to my partner seated in the back row of the audience (I don’t even think she knew Paul was with me). She slowly stroked his arm, purring to him, saying: “You remind me of Roy Rogers (he wears a Western hat, boots and jeans.)” I called out: “That must make me Dale Evans.” She immediately got the message and stopped her flirting.
Inwardly, I laughed. He may not be a James Bond…but he’s apparently Roy Rogers.
So, come to my talk on Nov 7. Bring friends. We’ll have fun. In days ahead. I’ll post some of the info you will learn at this talk. Here’s the flyer for Bristol Farm, on Nov. 7, 2018.
Now, for a preview of what my talks are like, Here’s my first guest-speaking event–before 100+ women of the American Assoc of University Women,
in Middletown, at the Atlantic Resort, last April…Contact me, at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Contact form on this site, if you’d like me to speak before your group.
But know from my experience in life: We’re never ‘done,’ unless we want to be. Figure out your talent and then “Go for it,” even if you can only do it part time while you do the necessary things in life. When you’re ready and life’s demands ease up, you can launch your new career (the one you always wanted to do) full time. Good Luck!!
The photo is of J&J Antiques in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, where Paul and I browsed one afternoon, when we recently visited. The shop is owned by Marjie Johnson, a delightful lady, who runs it with her friend Julia (pronounced Yulia). We got to talking…told her we were/are Rhode Islanders and she asked about my book (I don’t know how it came up…Wink..wink!). Anyway, she bought Boomerrrang and sent me her thoughts on it last week:
I wanted to let you know I read your book right away and loved it! What a fun, but informative read. Julia asked me, “what kind of book is it?” I told her, it’s a tragedy, a comedy, a retirement guide for medical, for real estate and most of all just a darn good fun read. When you mentioned the movie – The Blob – I cracked up! I had just been telling my nephew about it a couple weeks prior and that it was the scariest movie ever. LOL!
Your book confirmed for me that my recent decision was a good one regarding “next phase of my life.” So thank you!
I am going to share my book with Julia and then when I can get caught up from being gone for two weeks, I am going to order one for my cousins in Alaska.
I do hope that you and Paul will stop and see us next time you venture to Seattle. We can plan to enjoy Happy Hour next door at Oliver’s Twist!
My best to you.
Now, on to the reason for writing this post. My offer of guest speaking. I love it!! I’ll come before your group if your group’s interests align with my subjects (they’re listed on this site), and if they do, we’ll do it. Just email me. In fact, even if you’re not sure we align, email me anyway. I tailor the talk to your people.
In the past few months, I’ve spoken before: the American Association of University Women (approximately 100) at Atlantic Resort, in Middletown, RI. Then there was my talk before nearly 100 of the Leisure Learning group at St. Luke’s church on Peirce St., East Greenwich. Next I did two Rotary presentations—before Bristol and then North Smithfield. Then, a three-office realtor group at Westminster Unitarian church on Kenyon Ave., in East Greenwich. Following that, I went before an OLLI group at the University of Rhode Island…and just last week, I spoke to seniors at Wingate Healthcare in Needham, Massachusetts. In between, I was a guest on Frank Prosnitz’s radio show out of Westerly.
What’s next? Probably Barrington Public Library and then a talk before a group that meets in a tavern in South Kingstown. I think I’m gonna love that one!
My intent? To go all over, giving folks the tools to live a fuller experience and protect themselves in home purchase/sale.
My “talks” are all on different topics. The one I did last was “Be Your Family’s Memory Keeper”—showing folks how they can use family photos and write original short stories (some a paragraph in length), as they become their own family’s version of Ancestry.com.
Many talks are about downsizing…condo-sizing…How folks can buy/sell to their best advantage. I tell them how to maximize their profits and avoid dangers. This topic is right for any age.
Before older groups, I talk on the theme: “We’re Not ‘Done’ Yet” whereby I suggest folks throw out the model that says after 55, we should sit on a shelf with all our talents and lifetime experience. I talk about the need to buck that mindset and go after whatever they want to do…just as I’ve done.
I show the product of my beliefs—the three books I’ve written in my third career (after teaching and real estate). I wrote columns for years that appeared in newspapers (Wall St. Journal, Providence Journal) but then went the next step and wrote these books. My two children’s books—Grandpa and the Truck, Books 1 and 2, reflect my longtime partner’s experiences traveling across America for thirty years.
I wrote Boomerrrang (released just this year) when I saw people being burned in real estate purchase/sale in our retirement home—Asheville, North Carolina. I wrote it to tell them about our many year experience searching for a home and living in the South and then our decision to return to Rhode Island and to show them how to maximize profit in home purchase/sale and warn them about pitfalls to avoid (again, see my book’s review from storeowner Marjie in beginning of this post.)
My books are available at all of my talks. Boomerrrang is also at Barrington Bookstore in Garden City and Barrington; Savoy Bookstore in Westerly; Malaprops in Asheville, NC; and at Amazon and Kindle (though if you order through my website—colleenkellymellor.com-I can personalize and autograph, per your directives on that site.
Contact me at email@example.com
Caleb Woodhouse,from Rhode Island, writes:
“Boomerrrang! What a great read. I am all admiration for your knowledge, your readiness to learn, your resourcefulness, and your great spunk…There’s loads of wisdom for me to gather about moving (if ever I should try), but I assure you I’ll not be a do-it-yourselfer.
***I appreciate his appreciation of the difficulty of being a realtor.
Beverly Clark of AAUW (American Association of University Women) who ran the recent Annual Authors’ Luncheon at Atlantic Resort in Middletown says:
“We all enjoyed your talk about your adventures… You had the audience in the palm of your hand…and shared your adventures so wittily….(You) added much humor to the afternoon.”
Phil Smith, former neighbor in Hamburg Crossing, North Carolina says:
“I finished your book. It was hard to put down. I sure enjoyed the book.”
The following is from an Ex-Pat Rhode Islander, weighing in on my mass emails:
Deedra Durocher lives in New Bern, NC, (husband considered living in Bat Cave, a town in North Carolina, because he thought it amusing for others to get mail from them there.) She likes Bern but misses Rhode Island’s chowdah and clamcakes, Del’s, Benny’s (but everyone does), NY System wieners, and especially misses being close to the ocean’s smells, sounds, and calming influence. (I get it, Deedra, I surely do.)
Dick Weaver of Asheville writes:
“Thank you for your book, Boomerrrang, Colleen. Both entertaining and thought-provoking. Love your style of writing like speaking from your heart.”
Cal Ellis of Rhode Island says:
“You are the epitome of competent, accomplished versatility. I do enjoy your wit and engaging articulation. Wishing you continued success with your speaking engagements and all the other ways you’re out in front.”
Alice and Rick Gebhart of Rhode Island say:
“This book is the best! My husband and I are reading it together as we are looking at a retirement/rental in the South. We came upon this book and can’t put it down. My husband is literally laughing out loud. Colleen’s humor and knowledge is a mix that can’t be compared.”
Christine Fitzgerald says:
“Book is filled with nuggets of useful information concerning buying and selling real estate…in a slew of very funny stories…some knee-slapping hysterical.”
Sharon and Rick Marcotte of Maine offer:
“Mellor offers a crash course in valuable information regarding realty transactions that you really want to know if you are considering this kind of a move.”
Diane D. offers:
“Fun read about the pitfalls author and her partner encountered while buying a retirement house in North Carolina. So descriptive, the reader will actually think they visited North Carolina! Recommended!!!”
What seems to be the common thread reaction? Folks love the HUMOR…HUMOR…HUMOR in Boomerrrang (and the helpful advice).
Please–Feel free to add your own review….Thank you! And contact me for guest speaking before your group. We WILL have fun!!!
So, buy Boomerrrang, here, on this website (there’s a pay link and if you click on it, it gives you choices as to Paypal or credit card); or at Amazon (book version or Kindle); or at Barrington Books in Barrington or Garden City, Cranston; or at Savoy Bookstore in Westerly.
People ask: So what’s your new book, Boomerrrang, about? I tell them: It’s simple. My book tells how to SELF-ADVOCATE…how to get what you want, whether it’s dealing with medical staff (on the heels of a crisis), interacting with buyer/seller of property, or deciding where you want to live. It’s all the same thing…really.
My book opens with the crash and after-effects of Paul’s terrible accident. Shortly thereafter, I take the neurosurgeon to task, because the doctor was simply gonna discharge Paul, even though Paul was clearly NUTS and not at all like the man I knew before his broken neck.
Overnight, Paul had become a crazy, addled mess.
The doctor acted like I was a neurotic nut case, telling my daughter “Well, maybe we need give her some valium to calm her down.”
That’s when it became war….In the days ahead, I accessed friends, asking any who had medical background to find out what I needed to do to get what I wanted. It worked!
And because I reached out to knowledgeable friends, I learned to succeed in the confusing medical maze.
This meant taking a proactive stance. Not merely acceding to what authority figures said. This became another lesson…
Just one more in life.
I use the same principle in all aspects of my life.
In my younger years, I used to let things happen to me. I didn’t take the reins. No longer.