Why Did We Return to RI, After Living in the South?

They (the naysayers, that is) can say what they wish about Rhode Island but we who have traveled and lived elsewhere know our little state is where we want to be…for perpetuity (my ashes will be tossed—elegantly, I hope, off Rhode Island waters, while he’ll be ceremoniously interred in Veterans’ Cemetery.) 

For many years, we’ve lived in the Cowesett section of Warwick, whose delightful stone walls and expanses of tree-studded lawns, run along, right up the hill from Main St. East Greenwich. In other words, we’re a stone’s throw from coffee shops…restaurants… a perfectly fine grocery store, even a shoe cobbler, for God’s sake. Not every town in Rhode Island has a town center for gathering (note that—does yours?).

If we wish to go to another favored destination, we can easily jump on the main connector, route 95, to Mystic, in Connecticut (38 mins away), while lovely Little Compton is 45 mins. in another direction.

As Rhode Islanders in every season, we enjoy estuaries, salt marshes (I love how the tall sea grasses turn a pinkish hue in fall)… We ride the back roads to discover houses we’ve never seen before…houses that delight for their individuality. I shoot photos of these. They needn’t be impressive, size-wise…just unique.

Then we top off our quest with a gustatory delight at our favorite ice cream store, next door to the diner in Nowhere, Exeter. They serve our most preferred—Gifford’s maple walnut (can’t even get it in most of the South.) We’ve studied each of these dairy emporiums. Some we find too chalky…some too sweet…Even one in nearby Connecticut (yes, we cross borders) actually loads too nuts in the ice cream. We look for a perfect balance…

A close second in quality and price is Clementine’s on Main St. East Greenwich (we also like the 3 year owner/operator Warren). Clementine was their cherished dog whose picture graces one wall of the interior.

So… quaint towns…marshes…proximity of all we love…ice cream gustatory delights (and we’ve sampled them ALL) to top it off. Our needs are simple. 

These are just some of the reasons we came back “home.”

Shaken or Stirred? Which are you?

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. Boomerrrang 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 colleenkellymellor@gmail.com 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!!

Just some of what Boomerrrang answers:

        8 “Why’s”…a “How”… and a “When”

  1. Why it might be best to buy a new condo in an already built community, rather than one you choose from a builder’s model.
  2. Why a flush Capital Fund is especially important in older condominium complexes… (Sadly, it’s one of the items most buyers ignore.)
  3. Why it’s best to buy in a complex with high ownership (as opposed to one whose many units are vacant and “For Sale”)…
  4. Why it’s best for seller to turn over keys after the deed is recorded—not merely after the closing (where buyer/seller sign documents)…
  5. Why buyers should tour proposed region of choice both day AND night…
  6. Why buyers should enlist a Buyer Broker whose fiduciary responsibility is to them. Know the different realtor designations (Buyer Broker, Selling Broker, Transactional Broker, Dual Agent)….If not possible to get Buyer Broker, know the questions to ask regarding your intended property purchase. (This book tells you these.)
  7. If you self-sell (FIS-BO, in the trade—For Sale By Owner), why it’s critical to offer a buyer broker commission on par with what most Buyer Brokers get from realtor-represented homes in the region….
  8. Why it’s important to list ALL appliances in the sales agreement…
  9. How you can protect yourself against buying near a Superfund site…
  10. When you (as seller) can refuse to honor your stated Buyer Broker commission on Zillow.

***So, go out on your journey but first strap Boomerrrang to your hip in the same way the 70’s American Express card ad told everyone: “Don’t leave home without it.”

And give a copy to a friend.

You’ll ALL be the richer for it.

What You’ll Get in Boomerrrang!

Boomerrrang begins with a crash.

And then there’s an explosion.

After Paul’s horrific accident, his broken neck, his “death” due to choking, post-surgery, his ending up in ICU, and his frightening cognitive changes, I had simply endured all I was going to take from his very arrogant neurosurgeon. My women friends (some with Southern accents) cautioned me:  “Shhhhh…. Be nice, Colleen. You’ll get far more with honey than with vinegar.”

Well, people had been telling me that my whole life, and frankly, I never found that to be the case. No, my experience has been that women get pushed around if they don’t stand tall and insist on certain things. And so I took my almost 5’9” frame and did just that, and I’m sure that hospital neurosurgeon will never forget my heated delivery that day in that hospital room. Nor will the nurse witness. But I did get the results I hoped for.

That accidental lesson (to speak up against authority) might be one of Boomerrrang’s best, hidden values.

You see, most of Boomerrrang, is an invaluable guide for those buying and selling real estate. Especially those going out of state…and most especially, those going South. But its many tips can be applied to property purchase/sale anywhere.

In this book, I share my knowledge as highly successful realtor and warn of the pitfalls for the uninformed. But I share that knowledge in a fun and humorous manner, by painting vignettes of our search for the perfect retirement home and our 9+ years, living in one of America’s top retirement towns—Asheville, North Carolina.

A famous advertising phrase in the 70’s: “American Express (credit card): Don’t leave home without it” applies to this book.  If you’re gonna buy property (anywhere), strap Boomerrrang to your hip (hence the comical pic of the gunslinger) and use it as a reference.

Or give it to a friend who will benefit from its tips.

Boomerrrang will discuss our many year search, the value of using a realtor’s professional help, how we chose the state…the town…the model we ultimately selected (ours was a studied approach), the pro’s and con’s of townhome/condo ownership, over single standing homes.

I tell how we ultimately sold our retirement home, ourselves, saving thousands, a prescriptive any seller might follow– no matter where he or she lives (even in Rhode Island.)

As Boomers enter their retirement years and become the largest mobile population the United States has ever experienced, tens of thousands will head off into new territories they consider for their later years.

Some will buy; others will rent. Many will be oblivious as to how much risk they take on, by buying real estate unaware.

And some unfortunates may lose lifetime earnings, as with those who buy near Superfund sites, a topic little recognized by buyers for its potential impact.

Boomerrrang will help people avoid that.

Our chosen town, Asheville, will remain a welcoming beacon for many who don’t wish the homogeneity and frenetic pace of Florida or other deep southern enclaves.

It will remain a quirky town that keeps its rustic edge due its proximity to the glorious Blue Ridge/Smoky Mountains.

In other words, Asheville will ever fly under the banner of individualism.

Most of our years there were filled with enrichment and wonder. As such, we recommend Asheville for its diverse character, its artistic community; its commitment to preserving the earth (it’s a green region); its wondrous food; its skilled and handsome medical personnel (even if they’re too few); its gorgeous natural beauty that finally allowed me to know the meaning of ‘purple mountains majesty’ from “America the Beautiful.”

Some say: “You don’t choose the mountains; the mountains choose you.”

If that is true, Paul and I are eternally grateful for being two of the chosen ones.

In conclusion, we loved Asheville for our time there, but in the end, stronger forces (we couldn’t have foreseen) called us back to our home state.

The reasons may surprise you…..



Where will you retire? (we found our perfect home where we least expected it)….

My book–Boomerrrang (2 Boomers Find and Leave Their Dream Retirement Home) will be ready soon. I’ve had a couple of readers get back to me with their impressions. It’s being formatted properly. And some people are patiently waiting–folks who asked “When’s it going to be ready, because we’re going on our own retirement home search soon? We’d like to use your journey as a guide.”

All readers will merit from the advice I offer as two who lived almost ten years in a town consistently named one of America’s top retirement towns. We didn’t just casually choose it, either; we spent years searching for the place we felt was “just right.”

Now, I offer my advice as a six-figure realtor for those who want to buy wisely….not like some who bought blind and lived to regret it. Some lost their entire nest egg–the money they saved over a lifetime.

Where’d we end up? I think you’ll be surprised to hear.

So, stay tuned. I’ll be doing public talks, too, designed to inform you before you buy. best-shot-white-squirrel-brevard-on-limb

See the little buddy in the photo? One of the remarkable aspects of the western North Carolina region we settled in–white squirrels. He and his buddies live at the music school in Brevard, NC. It would appear that North Carolinians (of all stripes) have good taste.

In this book, I’ll tell how we chose our community; what to watch out for, when buying; particular challenges in the South for Northerners; how we sold by ourselves (saving approximately $17,000); on and on. There’s lots of humor in the mix, as well.

The biggest plus:  You can use my tips for buying and/or selling anywhere–even in Rhode Island.

Our Japanese Nights, Wheat Fronds, and a House That Was Meant to Be…

kerry in geisha gearA Letter to my grandchildren (one of many in my campaign to keep connection, while they’re so far away….)

Dear Luke, Sam, and Finn…

Our home is light-filled and it  just seems “happy.” I’ve lived here for 27 years and Grandpa has lived here for 16 years (he moved in and took care of me when I became sick.) But Grandpa and I have been together for 26 years in all….

I love my house…the back gardens where we put the troll house, the arbors, the plants…the trees…the bird feeders…the pool—the scene of the “Great Dolphin Races.,” when you boys came to visit and race the inflatable dolphins in the pool.

Anyway, I think the house is magical because I think it was “supposed” to be my house. I’ll tell you why….

When I first bought this house, I was told I lost it—that another person had come in with a higher bid—AFTER the realtor told us our offer had been accepted (two other people wanted this house.) I was so angry. We had offered full price- with no conditions.

After a couple of days of bitter disappointment, I got the call that said this house was ours after all. An amazing thing happened. The guy who tried to buy couldn’t get financing (the money.) So, we won the house.

When we moved into this new house, my mother (remember—the one whose grave I brought you to last summer– your Mom’s Nana) gave me a fancy plate she’d bought in an antique shop. The plate had wheat fronds in the background.  There were two children in the picture—one a girl of about 16 and a smaller child of about 6 (so—a ten-year gap in ages of siblings. Sound familiar?). The wheat fronds on the plate were identical to the wallpaper all through our new house. Another thing? I’d never seen wallpaper like that anywhere but in this house.

Occasionally, in the house where your Mom grew up (and later Amanda, too), we used to have “theme dinners” such as Japanese night, etc. That’s when the kids HAD to dress like the ethnic group whose food we were celebrating. On this occasion, I believe Mom’s friend Rachel joined us (she was at our home a lot). Your Mom (in pic at top of this post), dressed in a floral sheet, wrapped around, with her hair and face done up like a Geisha. Amanda was dressed as small Asian child, too….And we all had to use chopsticks.

So, look at the plate my Mom bought as house gift before she’d ever seen our new home..The figures on it look like your Mom and Amanda and the wheat fronds look like  the wallpaper of the new house.

I swear:  when I saw this plate, it gave me chills.

Today, the wallpaper is gone and the walls are painted. But I will always remember how this house came to be mine and how it reflects your Mom and Amanda.

I believe houses can be happy and spirit-filed, just as I believe some houses are sad and they take on the troubled personalities of their inhabitants. In fact, I even think some houses are evil and that doubtless is the theme of many a horror story (I’m thinking author Stephen King here cuz he’s written that type of thing in his books.) By the way, your Mom tried to meet the horror writer once, when we were on vacation at Key West and he was staying at the same resort. She had just won a big award in our city—the top essay contest, and since he was a writer, she wrote him a short note, asking to meet him. He never responded.

That was a pretty interesting trip, for your Mom and I were out (she was 12 or 13), walking along a street in Key West when all of a sudden, a torrent of rain came down from ???, a storm that cause flood waters to rush down the street, and the bamboo blinds in the restaurants swung out in the wind. We took off our shoes so they wouldn’t get destroyed and we waded through knee-high waters. We were laughing. It was quite the time.

In fact, I bought a Japanese silk jacket on that trip that I still have today (it’s in pic) it. It looks like the one the girl is wearing on the plate.

Look closely at the plate…Do you see the child searching in the field of wheat fronds? (Maybe it’s younger sister Amanda? While Kerry looks on. )



P.S. Your Dad is below in one pic, holding one twin in front of wallpaper wheat fronds. Whose top of a little head is in front of first photo of Mom, pg. 1? Clue….She’s got red hair and is pretty young.jim sweeney, twin, and wheat frond wallpaper