One powerful aspect of my plan was called the Top Ten. I consistently invested the majority of my time and efforts in my ten most interested people. My communication with them touched on many levels, always deepening our relationship. Because I believe that no one crosses my path by mistake and each person is sent to me for a reason, I consider each person of great value. For someone who genuinely cares about people, this type of marketing will create relationships that can last a lifetime. Relationships are all we take with us when we leave this earth so there is no greater value. My Top Ten had worked very well for me as an entrepreneur, both in my successful performing arts school and now here at Green Living. When I came to the community just two years ago, it was struggling. The new executive director, appointed in April, before I came in July, began an overhaul of the entire community. They were at 62.5% capacity then and today the census is 95%.
Just after Mr. Rosenthal’s tour in October, we had planned “An Evening on Broadway.” I encouraged Mr. Rosenthal to come and he agreed it would be an event he would enjoy. I invited some of my former voice students and we presented a Broadway show that was a huge hit! The big local newspaper printed the cover story with photos. Extensive advertisement went out and there were more than 250 guests in attendance, wearing stunning evening gowns and tuxes. The crowd glistened with jewels, satin, furs and laughter. We had many residents that had lived in show towns such as New York, Chicago, and London, so I wanted to awaken some of their special memories. It was such a beautiful sight. The atmosphere was one reminiscent of the exciting trips to the theatre of years gone by.
I seated Mr. Rosenthal at a table with three guests I knew would be great company for him. Ms. Victoria Butler was a beautiful, genteel lady of the South, complete with the deep Southern accent and the strong Southern character. She was a tenacious business woman who had started her own boutique more than forty years ago, and it had grown to a small chain of boutiques with five stores in northern Alabama. Her three daughters had taken over the business and were doing a fine job running the show. Also at the table was Mr. Lucas Heidrich, originally from Germany. His grandfather had come to the states and began the successful Heidrich Manufacturing Company. I knew that Mr. Rosenthal’s grandfather was from Germany as well and felt this would provide great conversation. Mr. Heidrich had held a position in the family business until he retired five years ago. His son now controls the business. Lastly, seated at the table was Ms. Angeline Rousseau, a fashion model. She had moved to the states after meeting fashion designer Harry Lombard. They fell in love and were married for 35 years but had no children. He had passed away five years ago. Ms. Angeline lived in the cloud above everyone else with a pleasantly entertaining eccentric demeanor. I could tell they were exciting dinner companions for Mr. Rosenthal as they chatted the evening away like four young people at their first class reunion.
The colorful show began with the Phantom of the Opera overture leading into Masquerade. As the dramatic Phantom music began, all my guest singers entered in procession from the back of the room, draped in masquerade costumes. The show proceeded with dynamic solos from seven moving Broadway shows. After the show, the grand dining room was set creatively with wine, drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The evening was one they never stopped talking about. We need events in our lives that carry us to that place above the daily round. I know I need to see the world from a little higher up every now and then. It gives me a broader view and a greater tolerance for the troubles of our day to day journey.
The first week of November, I called Mr. Rosenthal, asking him if I might drop by his house on Thursday for a visit. I had a gift for him and an invitation as well. He was pleased to have me come by, so we set the time for three-o’clock and he asked if I could stay for a cup of hot tea.
“I would love to! My friend, Melonie Johnson will be with me. She works with me here at the community and we will be running errands together. Is that okay?” I asked.
“Sure, that’s fine. I look forward to it,” Mr. Rosenthal replied. I hung up the phone very excited that I was going to finally see this beautiful home he had spoken so fondly of on several occasions.
Melonie has worked with me at the community, as move-in coordinator, for the two years I have been here. I have met few people in my life who genuinely care for others as she does. Her kind and inviting spirit quickly draws people to her. Melonie is an interpretive dancer with a beautiful gift of bringing music alive before your eyes; her ability to reach in and squeeze the heart is powerful. Because I knew Mr. Rosenthal would eventually join us at Green Living, I wanted Melonie to see his home so she could get a feel for what he would need when he moved in.
The Sheaf Dreamer by Rita Young Allen