Here is a "slice" of life in The Hamptons---Many locals are around and yet not really accessible to others. So, my stories about Fred, a local farmers son, may give one a sense about this beautiful part of the country. This is the 1st in a series about life here. Complicated lives make us all a little more distant with our neighbors; our engagement with them can be a cursory "Hello, how are you?" and then move on. But then there are times when there is more--this is one of those times:

I had an experience today that made me think, really think!

It was an experience that made me feel like I got an answer to a question I have been asking of late: "What can I do that will make me feel less anxious, less fearful of life in general?" I have been feeling at a loss recently as to what to do with the concerns that I have now.  

I just moved out of a house that is filled with mold and free-floating asbestos and have been in the process of healing---I still don't know  if I am going to be OK. This was a life altering experience and my head is filled with thoughts about how close I came to never finding out about the problems in the house. I was just getting sicker and sicker...kind of like the frog in the pot of water; slowly the heat was being turned up and I was boiling to death!!

I made the move to this new house about a month ago and the relief I feel is palpable--my health issues have all but disappeared too but I still have the anxiety that toxic mold can cause--it has not left yet.

When the following happened this morning, it was like an "AHA!"

I have a particular friend whom I will call Fred--He is about my age and he never ceases to amaze me with his new ideas and his perseverance in life.

Fred has had a few set-backs and he always manages to pull himself up by his boot straps and get going again without too much of a complaint--In fact his set-backs always seem to propel him into new ideas about how to make others lives a little easier. 

Today when he came by to see if I needed help with getting my firewood inside so I can use my fireplace in this terrible weather, I was really surprised! Fred has just been in the hospital for a very serious treatment for some form of cancer. Here he was, in my yard heading over to pick up the snow covered wood for me...

"Happy New Year Fred!" I yelled from my back door as he trudged through the snow drifts in my back yard. Happy New Year to you!" He yelled back over the growling of the wind. "I figured you might need some wood brought in..."

"Yes, Thanks" I yelled back and he trudged ahead to the fence row where the huge pile of wood has been made even higher with all the snow. He was pulling some contraption behind him that appeared to be a big square box of some sort--about 3 feet high and it had skids on it too so that it moved smoothly through the heavy snow.

I watched him as his bent figure cleared the snow away with his hands and as he pulled out log after log, dusted it off before he carefully laid each one in his newly devised sled. I could see that he had a saw in his hand and sure enough, he started to saw one of the bigger logs in half to fit it in the sled.

It took him about 30 minutes to get the right amount of wood in the sled and to head back toward the house. When he got close enough I could see he had a bandage on his one hand and his face was very drawn and thin now since I last saw him. It just snowed yesterday and we got 16" here in Southampton plus a very low 4 degree temperature this morning. The Hamptons is not used to this!!

"I think this is so nice of you to do this--on a day like today and after you just got out of the hospital!!" He stopped right at the steps and said "Well, you know I feel better when I can do something that is needed.. Not too much right now that anyone needs me for!"

"So that is why he is here!" I thought, "what a kind be thinking of what he can do to help others while he is so sick".

"Well, no one can tell me what to do to make myself get better so I figured it out myself: I just need to find a way to fill a need---someone else's need!" 

I thanked him for his kind help and brought some of the wood inside the back door to dry off---I watched him as he unloaded more of the wood--"Please take some of the logs for yourself,  Fred" I knew he had a stove that he could burn wood in. " I see you made your own sled! Must be nice to be so handy!" He looked at me and said in a very low voice "Thank you so much--that will help out a lot! I know the weather is not going to warm up for a while so this will be helpful!" then he stopped and looked down at the sled.

"You know, my Dad showed me how to make a sled when I was just a kid. It's really easy as long as you have old cabinets with drawers---Thats all I did--I took the biggest drawer in the old cabinet in my garage...put skids on it---used some wide electrical tape, the silver kind and I just stuck that to those skids, added a rope pull and there ya have it!--a good sled to carry a heavy load in deep snow!"

He smiled then, a big broad smile and then he said "You know what? I haven't felt so good in a long while... Really surprising how just doing something for someone that no one else can do helps to heal your mind and your body...." I watched him as he walked away in the deep snow, proudly pulling that makeshift sled and feeling like a million bucks doing it!

I am going to do that--I want to find something that I can do that no one else can do for others--and then I will do that, just to feel that feeling that Fred talked about! 

...A very nice way to start out the new year, don't you think?




                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 33 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • January 06 2018 11:51PM


What a great story; both of you feeling better while appreciating each other.

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) 6 months ago

Hi Mel,

Thanks for reading it...this has been a very intereting time for the two of us! I find if I can focus on others rather than my own issues, I feel much better! It seems simplistic but look at how it works for everyone involved!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 6 months ago

Hi Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, 

Thank-you for sharing this wonderful story.

Happy Selling!


Posted by Brad Thomsen, Real Estate Services (Big Bear Realty) 6 months ago

Hi Brad, 

Thanks for reading it--it makes me feel good to have written it!! Kind of like the feeling that Fred spoke of!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 6 months ago

I couldn't agree more.  So many times more than I can count I have felt a world better after doing for others.  Giving of yourself is truly a gift.  She's passed on now, but there was an older lady who was ill for years in my neighborhood that I used to take a plate of dinner to a few times a week.  I always cooked more than we needed.  But the best part was our visits when I'd drop it off.  She imparted so much wisdom on me from her life of experience.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) 6 months ago

Hi Tammy, That is so good...those are the people that we need to connect  with..I had a neighbor when I was a young teen---Miss Spencer was her name and my sister and I would take soup to her---what a wonderful way for young girls to spend thier time!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 6 months ago

What a beautiful post, Paula!  You've been featured in the BananaTude group!

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) 6 months ago

Hi Carol! Thank you so much...this storywas such an easy one to write that I feel like it was worth every second I spent on it. Thanks for the feature!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 6 months ago

Thank you so much for sharing your heart felt story - and that you are feeling better now that you are in your new home.  Continued healing.

Posted by Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC, CNS (Everything Pines Partners, LLC.) 5 months ago

Fred is a very special friend and he gave you a wonderful gift. Not something that is wrapped in pretty paper but something that will last a long time and help you heal.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) 5 months ago

Betsy: Thank you so much--I do feel a lot better and this helped me to see that if I can look beyond myself there are many things I can do to help others too. It all adds up when it comes to healing--and it is not always an inner journey, this healing thing. Focus on things outside yourself makes it easier for the automatic part of healing to take place---Here's to a Healthy and Happy New Year to you and yours!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Margaret: That is certainly true! This gift he gave me showed me what I needed to know how to go forward---it is going to be a challenge to find the one thing I can do for others but I have already started to think about how to do it and it may mean a little less time selling real estate!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Paula,  That was an excellent story.  You really connected.

You are a gifted writer.  Writing stories like these will help more people than you will ever realize.

I wish you a quick recovery.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) 5 months ago

Hi Tim, Thank you so much--I do like to get encouragment to write! I am glad this story made a connection--I feel like it did with a lot of people with Fred being such a "normal" kind of guy... I find that there are many stories that are never told because people either are too embarrased to write them down or they may not even know the profound effect of this simple sort of tale--not many writers write about them in todays complicated world!...I am feeling better already from the good people who have commented too--I find AR is a great place to give and get very good feedback....Thank you for yours!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

A beautiful story, Paula. A story that will help many. You have given me something to think about and I believe it could change people's lives. Fred is a very special man and you are so blessed to have him as a friend.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) 5 months ago

Hi Sharon,  Thanks so much for taking the time to read the story--I hope it does help people who read it---In today's world I find there are so many people looking for just a bit of help---not enough to go through therapy for but a helping hand to get by and to even "pass it on" so someone else can benefit from their experience. We are really in a different world right now with all the major "shifts" going on. We all feel it and we all may suffer somewhat if we don't know what to do about it. It all has to do with sharing our own experiences with others.....

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Paula- let's hope that as many people as possible can read this story. And you did find something that you can do to help others that only you can shared this story. I want to find your Fred and give him a big hug and "thank you." This story just gave me the biggest smile I've had on my face in days. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 5 months ago

You got me thinking about the people I've known who think only of themselves. They're all unhappy people.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 5 months ago

Love this story, everything about it is wonderful. That you let him help you as well and did't run out to stop him, you actually helped him, so you helped your first person already.

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 5 months ago

Kathy: Thank you for reading it! I have had some really nice comments about this story and it has rung true for several---Fred is a simple guy with simple needs and a very simple way of life. I feel blessed to know him! I hope he is cured with his last treatment for cancer--I hear he is doing really well now....

Marte: I know the sort and they are all a very unhappy bunch. I do believe that your happiness is in direct correlation to your ability to give of yourself to others. When I discovered that fact I was in a bit of trouble myself---miserable and unable to seem to get beyond it...this story is a culmination of the facts I found that life is exactly what you put into it!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Nick and Trudy: Thank you! I feel like I did, and it feels so good! He was instrumental in me getting to the point where I could finally see what I needed to see to get to the place that he was---without knowing it as it happened. In retrospect I guess you could say "He helps those who help themselves"--and opens doors to more abundance than anyone could ever expect!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, - This Chicken Soup for the Soul story was very touching and inspiring too. I always find it amazing how connections form, especially when least expected. It sounds like you and Fred came into each others lives when you both needed it most. I think you will continue to be there for each other, inspiring one another from here on out.

Paula, you have always been a kind and beautiful soul here on ActiveRain. I'm sorry to learn about what you have been going through. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers; Fred too. Writing is good therapy - please keep writing. You have that magic touch. 

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 5 months ago

Hi Patricia,

Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement to keep going---that means a whole lot to me! Yes, there is a strong bond between Fred and I and I will always look to him for the spiritual guidance that he seems to provide, even in an unconscious way.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

So much of life becomes a matter of perspective! Great post! Thanks for shedding light for a lot more of us in the process!

Posted by Monica Hill, the REALTOR to help you discover Delaware (RE/Max Associates) 5 months ago

Hi Monica,

Thanks for reading it and commenting too...I learn so much from the coments on my posts and this is no different. I like your idea that "so much of life becomes a matter of perspective" does in that an experience that I had with man and his sled could be looked upon with so much disregard by, "what does that matter"? But, it does matter and I tried to tell that story about the simple experience so that people would get the importance of all interaction with others.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

People need people Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, how wonderful to be connected to a warm and wonderful, selfless individual.  Sad to hear about your toxic incident and glad you are on the recovery end.  I grew up in Woodside New York and knew all my neighbors which gives you a larger prespective on life.

Young, old we all have needs and purpose.  You fill the story void in your Active Rain community and certainly in your South Hampton community.  I was recently in Montauk and would have stopped by had I known about your situation just to cheer your along for a few moments in time.

Posted by Eileen Burns, FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist (Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach) 5 months ago

Good morning Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, I truly believe, we come into each others' lives for a reason, some see it, some don't. You and your friend are both lucky, I've no doubt you will learn a lot more from each other. Helping others is one of the best therapies. Have an awesome year!

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) 5 months ago

Hi Eileen,

Thanks for the warm thoughts on this very cold day here in the North! It is more like Michigan than the Hamptons right now!  This experience has taught me so much; mostly it has taught me that my fellow members here on Activerain are the most thoughtful people and they do "get" this kind of a story...Thanks again for reading and commenting!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Dear Beth---Thank you so much for the words of support. I hope you have a very happy New Year as well. I am looking forward to just how this year turns out because I believe we are all due for a little relief from all the worldly concerns that we have had to go through in the recent past. Enjoy it if it is a good one; breathe deeply and remain calm if it is not!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Dear Paula,

Maybe Fred would enjoy a jar of soup or stew that you could make on the wood stove. That would warm his heart the second time.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) 5 months ago

Wow, what a wonderful story. I feel better just having read it.

I really agree that when we give to others we are big gainers.


Best wishes

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) 5 months ago

Hi John,

Thanks for reading it---whats really funny is tha after I wrote this and published it I thought I better get looking for what it is that I am going to do for somebody--that special thing that is my of doing, alone...And what do you think I discovered? This piece was the best place to start!! Glad you like it and hope that feeling lasts and lasts; I know my "feeling" from having written it is still going strong!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 5 months ago

Hi Dorte: I almost missed your comment completely--so sorry! I am re-reading the stories that I have written about the way real life is here in the Hamptons and I found your comment...Thanks for the suggestion! And thanks for reading and commenting!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...Finding Your Place In The sun! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 25 days ago