I have a sister, she’s 20 years older than me. She was actually adopted, obviously she was always older than me, so growing up I didn’t remember her too, until I was about 8 or 9 years old, my mother would send me to stay with her at her place in Manhattan, she had this shitty apartment on W 49th St, across from where there is now a Credit Lyonnaise. It’s amazing the things one remembers when sitting around, I guess that’s my inner ‘Rainman,’ coming out with these stupid details I seem to remember. I had a falling out with here in 2000 and we haven’t spoken since, it was over something stupid, but I can’t let things go and swallow my pride so there is no chance in reconciling.
I also have a Big Brother, not in the traditional sense I was part of the Big Brother program back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. My big brother came into my life at a very crucial time, my mother was at wit’s end, the people I was hanging out with weren’t good, and I got into A LOT of trouble, I was really headed down the wrong track, with my mother being so domineering, she probably would have killed me instead of let me get that out of control, but luckily she was able to get me ‘back on the proverbial ranch.’
My big brother Karamjeet, came into my life. We would meet on Saturdays, he was remarking at a recent dinner we had his amazement that I would actually take the train down The Bronx to NYC and meet him. We would usually go out and do something, whether it was a movie, hang out at his place, go to the park, we traveled a couple times to what I thought was a far off place–Bronxville (lol, it was only Westchester County–moments from my house in the Bronx).
I couldn’t tell you specifics of what we did, we did meet almost every week unless Karamjeet was away on a business trip or something. I remember it as a totally positive experience. We maintained our relationship for about 6 years, then life got in the way, I was growing up, and Karamjeet started to date his current wife. We kept in touch from time to time, we saw each other maybe once or twice a year or at least spoke or emailed that much.
When I was in college during my senior year, he offered me a position as an intern at his company in Westport, CT. I gladly took it, one because it was actually practical experience and I got college credit for it! I really learned a lot about the power of direct marketing while there. This was a major part of my success at my Domino’s franchise, I totally bought into the entire direct marketing process, and I understood it more and more. I saw Domino’s not as a quick service restaurant, but as a marketing company, we marketed our pizza. Let’s face it I said this while I was there and still say it now. We didn’t have the greatest pizza in the world we had a great product, it was consistent and you knew that some whacko wasn’t going to bring it to your house–which is what you expect when you order from a franchisee–consistency. I took a store which did $200K a year prior to my purchase and we were doing over $1,000,000 a year when I left, quite the turnaround right? Well a lot of that was due to direct marketing which I began to learn about during my internship with Karamjeet!
After college, I ended up franchising, and did my own thing. I ended up retiring when I was 35 and then looked for my next challenge. I got my real estate license, and I treated my real estate business as I treated my pizza business, and marketed myself. Again, direct marketing played a big role in getting me going and my business up and running successfully. A lot of Realtors at the time, didn’t want to spend the money in marketing themselves and their business, they didn’t realize the power of direct marketing. Obviously nothing as sophisticated as with Domino’s but, at least put something out there to get your name out there!
Well enough of all the technical ‘mumbo jumbo.’ My point being that my Big Brother played such a major part in my life. I had dinner with him and his wife a couple nights ago and it was a lot of fun. We reminisced about the old days seemingly, but what id did remind me of is that we were two strangers introduced to each other 30+ years ago in this program that had been around forever when you do the research on Big Brothers/Big Sisters NYC.
Did ‘they’ know that these relationships would last this long and the impact it would have on the person(s) life? I think back about what if he hadn’t been there, what would of happened to me then? Karamjeet obviously they grew up to be great kids, and he and his wife Judt are the dotting parents. I get a little emotional when I think about these relationships I have had over the last 44 years of my life and how each one has impacted me.
Being as February was such an emotional month for me, I did a lot of reflecting on all of these people, ones that are still here and ones that have passed on. It’s amazing how each person effects ones life positively and negatively. I am lucky to have had more people who have effected my life in a positive way than in a negative way.
To all of you I thank you greatly for shaping me into the person I am today!