Moving here permanently in Nov. 1960, Dad’s antique shop was not going to get it for a family of four. Besides the brass refinishing and lamp repair, I tried pulp wooding, truck driving, bartending and few other distasteful chores not including septic tank repairs. At that time, the only real estate person was Charlie McKissack, who sold mostly McKissack family properties when you could find him. His office was next to Burda’s Drug Store.
Jimmy and Maggie Lassiter had a two-room office at the corner of Arkansas and U.S. 98 at Lanark Beach, which was where Dad and I purchased our lots in 1954. They were Tallahassee Realty, one of the biggest in the city. Maggie was chairman of Florida Real Estate Commission in later years. I hacked it out for the next four years and decided to go to broker’s school. Got my license in 1966. Sold the property where “Ho Hum” campground is to the Litton family from Mississippi in 1969, and Jimmy became my first salesman. He died in 1985. He was married to Alice Potts.
Next came Leonarda Perry from Nashville. She did real well. Passed away in 1994. Paul Spacey, a retired sergeant major, who opened my first branch office in the old drug store brick building on Marine Street, where I had the “Miller’s Mini-Pad” camper park. It ended up “stay free,” although not planned that way. Paul also opened up the “Barefoot Sails Pub” at Carrabelle Beach across from Two Al’s Restaurant. Paul died in the ‘90s.
I had another great lady, Arline Thornton, a real class act, who died of cancer in 1990. Then we had Barney Fish, great guy, did good, got a broker’s license. Opened his office on 98 on right, just over the hill. Died a year and a half later in 1991. .
Al Hudson, retired Air Force pilot, was tops. Not only a good salesman, a great guy, served on county planning and zoning. I lost him in 2006. At this point in time, I am beginning to think I’m a damn jinx or Dr. Death himself.
Forgot Charles and Mary Miller, who lived next door to me. After all the training and client base I had, they got broker’s license and opened “Carrabelle realty” right next door to me. Kind of frosted my extremities. Company lives on with Ruby Litton at the helm. Charlie and Mary both passed on.
Ed Diorio came to me in ’98, a great guy with personality. Plus, after four years, he withdrew to a room with a computer. It consumed him, and cancer set in. That’s one reason I won’t do computers. They can be as habit-forming as drugs.
Only one of the early ones, Bill Bailey, escaped “Miller’s Triangle.” Still kicking. I guess Anne May, my current saleslady, doesn’t believe the curse and hopefully won’t be #10. I have watched all the big boys come and go – Century 21, Anchor, Weichert – plus a lot of the individuals. And Mr. Bill’s still kicking. First item in my bucket list, make it to Feb. 11, 2013 and the big 8-0.
Mr. Bill is the pen name of Bill Miller.