Tag Archives: William Raveis

Not Just Another Teardown

Realtors love new construction: It sells. But there’s something to be said about old homes too — especially when the teardown is one you grew up in.

Back in the day, Toni Horton was a 1978 graduate of Staples. Today she’s Toni Mickiewicz, and a William Raveis realtor. She also blogs about real estate trends and local news on “From Town to Shore.” Yesterday, she wrote about another teardown. This one is personal: It’s the home she grew up in.

Toni says:

I was recently told that my mother’s house in Westport had a demolition sign on it. Even though we sold it three years ago, it will always be “my mother’s house.” Well, that is until it’s torn down.

The house of Toni's youth.

The house of Toni’s youth.

It wasn’t my favorite house. I actually always thought that it should be torn down. It was a combination of stages in my mother’s life. It started as a little tiny beach house with no heat and it sat on wine barrels. It gradually grew to have an architecturally designed front section with two floors that looked a little like a church.

When I went off to college it grew a backside with 2 floors, 4 bedrooms and 3 additional bathrooms. It never really matched the front, or anything else for that matter, but it added square footage and allowed my mother to rent it out regularly as we all moved out and she had to spend most of her time caring for my grandmother in Norwalk. The house worked for her and it gave her children what she wanted all along — a place to call home, an education in a town with a reputation for excellence, and a “castle” by the water.

Once, Toni asked her mother if there was room for a pool. Her mom replied: 

“Why would you want a pool when we have the beach?”  I was much older when I finally got how blessed we were to live where we did.

Views of the water, from the home.

Views of the water, from the home.

When I moved back to Westport — a grown-up having been married, raised children, divorced, and re-inventing myself — my mother let me live at the house, as a paid renter of course, but the house was there for me. It was my transitional home for 6 years. It wasn’t perfect, but it was my home, a place to provide my youngest with an education in a town known for excellence. It was our “castle” by the water.

Now it will be torn down. And while I know it’s the right thing to do to get the “highest and best use of the land” for the new owner, it still made me more emotional than I ever imagined.

This was my home, where I grew up and where I sought refuge. It provided me, my siblings, many cousins and lots of renters over the years, a lot of fun memories along with the challenges that an imperfect house can provide. It will only be in my memory now and that is a little sad for me.

Toni knows she is not alone. Many friends have experienced similar situations. And, she adds:

Toni Mickiewicz

Toni Mickiewicz

Much of the landscape of my childhood is gone. Allen’s Clam House, where I used to work in the kitchen, has been gone for a long time. Ten Pond Edge Road, where I lived with my “other” family when my mom rented out the house for the summer, has been torn down as well.

I could go on, but what I really want to say is that after tearing up a little and feeling woeful for a time, I realize that it is okay. I am who I am from my experiences and life lessons in this town and in this home, and I will always have that.

Thanks Mom, for what you did for us and allowing us to grow up in a castle by the water.

(To read Toni’s full blog, click for “From Town to Shore.”)

Harrison Malec’s Heart

It’s a compelling story, though one that did not receive much publicity at the time.

On September 14, Harrison Malec was running with fellow youth rowers from the Saugatuck Rowing Club.  Suddenly, the 14-year-old collapsed.

Teammate Will Cromwell immediately started CPR.  Coach Sharon Kriz called 911.  Westport EMS paramedics were there within 4 minutes, followed by police and fire personnel.

They took over CPR, applied a cardiac monitor, shocked Harrison’s heart back into a normal rhythm, stabilized him, and took him to the hospital.

Tests revealed an extremely rare cardiac abnormality. After open heart surgery, Harrison returned to school 6 weeks later.  He’s expected to fully recover.

To say thanks, William Raveis Realty — where Harrison’s mother Joelle works — held a fundraiser for EMS.  The Malec family then presented Westport EMS members with a check and a plaque.

Harrison Malec (3rd from left), his parents, coach, Raveis representatives and EMS members -- including coordinator Marc Hartog, 2nd from right -- at the presentation. (Photo/April Book)

Marc Hartog, EMS coordinator, said that in over 30 years as a paramedic, he could could on two hands the number of cardiac arrest patients he’s treated who walk out of the hospital to lead fully productive.

And, he added, “this is the first time one of them has come back in person to thank us.”

What?!

EMS and other people save your life, and you don’t go back to thank them?!

How could those people have been saved?  They didn’t even have hearts to begin with.

(For information on CPR classes — offered free to Westport residents — click here or call 203-341-6030.)