“There used to be a Dr. Verdi that was my orthodontist in Baltimore when I was growing up. Was he related to you?”
The pediatric dentist that Anthony and Alex see in Mt. Airy asked me this question at their checkup last month. I told him that my grandfather was indeed a Dentist, but his practice was in Bethesda in the 1960s-1970s, and then in the late 1970s and early 80s (until his passing), he practiced in Frederick. The kids’ dentist and I then swapped stories to make sure that he and I were not talking about the same person. What are the odds? First of all, Verdi is not a common last name. And then for both to be practicing dentistry just 40-50 miles from each other?
We came to the conclusion that although the odds were very slim, that my grandfather was not his orthodontist.
The week before this encounter when Susan, the boyz, and I were attending the sunrise service on Easter Sunday a lady came up to me and introduced herself to us, and when I told her who we were she asked if we were the Verdi’s from Prices Distillery Road. I told her that we were, and then she said that she knew my Dad, Aunts, and grandmother and that her father was the postmaster at the old Ijamsville post office. We then started sharing stories and it was like we had known each other for years.
When Susan and I were dating and I’d mention that I was dating Susan Sacchetti, I would be asked, “Is that Lou Sacchetti’s daughter?” I’d tell them that it was, and then they would tell me about how they either knew him as a teacher and later an administrator in the school system or more likely they’d say, “Oh, I used to follow his band ‘Too Many People’ and I loved their shows.” We’d then swap stories, and they’d want to know how Lou was doing.
See, when you are in one place long enough, you find out quickly that your town really is small.
I have lived in Frederick for all of my 39 years (minus college). Plus my family moved to ‘The Farm’ from Bethesda in 1959, so this is home. This is where my roots are. Growing up, when I’d tell people my last name they would typically know at least one of my family members and ask how I was related. Some, might not like people asking these questions about the relationships. For me, it was always a sense of pride because everyone always had positive things to say about the family member they knew.
Growing up my mom had many sayings, but two really stood out, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And you need to treat everyone the same.” My mom walked the talk. When I would have birthday parties and want to invite someone from my class in elementary school, my mom would make sure that I would invite the entire class. I would say, “Mom, I don’t like so and so.” She would tell me the importance of including everyone and making everyone feel included.
A couple of years later I realized, my Mom was spot-on. I believe I was in 5th grade at the time, and there was this big kid, I mean really big kid. I think he had been held back a grade or two and he probably was already shaving. His name was Clifford, and my mom made me invite him to my birthday party. It meant so much to Clifford that he wrote me a page long letter thanking him for inviting and including him. He talked about what a nice family I had and how much it meant for him to be included. It was at that time that I realized that my Mom was right… Be nice to everyone, even a little act of kindness could mean the world to that person.
As an adult, I try to live by this credo that my mom has instilled in me from a young age to treat everyone nice. I’ll admit, I’m not perfect at this, but I try to be as nice as I can to everyone and include them.
[Added to Article] Just today… As I’m coaching Alex’s soccer team at the end of the game one of the parents comes up to talk to me and says, “Verdi? How the heck are you doing?” I haven’t seen this dude for probably 27 years and I say, “Take off your glasses so I can recognize you.” He says, Ricky George from baseball. I played 12-13 year old All-Stars with Ricky. We talked for a few minutes and then went our separate ways… AND on top of that, the coach on the other team said, “You look familiar? Do you work at xxx gym?” I tell him, “Nah, Dude. But I’ve lived her my entire life and I’m in real estate.” He said, “That’s it. You were the listing agent on the house we bought in Jefferson.” Two more examples
Being in a business that is based on relationships the two life lessons that my mom taught me so many years ago have definitely helped me in my personal and professional life.
Much like Frederick in general, the real estate community is also a small community where everyone either knows that person on knows someone who knows that person. There are local agents that I will call for advice and vice-versa. Just in the past week I’ve had 2 agents call me asking for me about my contacts, my relationships. One wanted to know who I used to install my signs. The other, wanted to know who did my photos and tours. I gladly gave out Jack and Annie’s information.
Then last week, I had an agent call me asking for a favor. Let me give you some background here. Cassandra works for Re/Max in Frederick and is one of the top REO agents in town. REOs is the legal name for a foreclosure. She lists a lot of these properties and knows the process well and is very knowledgeable in the laws and regulations on foreclosures. So, 2 years ago, I had a bank contact me directly because they had an REO in Ijamsville that they needed to sell, and I told them of course I’d help them.
I had listed a few REOs for Middletown Valley Bank in the past, but they are a small local bank and I dealt directly with Tom (the President), and Kathy (the V.P.). This is not typically how REOs work. You have a checklist. You have multiple reports you have to do weekly. You have to hire someone to maintain and secure the property.
As soon as I got off the phone with the company representing the property in Ijamsville, I called Cassandra and asked her what I needed to do and how the process worked. Over the next week, I talked to her a handful of times asking advice and how I should handle a specific situation. She was there for me and always willing to lend her expertise to a situation to which I was not an expert.
I was grateful that Cassandra helped me out when I needed it, so when she called me this past week for help, I was more than willing to help.
I was sitting at my office working when I received a call from Cassandra at about 2:15 asking what I was doing and if I could do her a huge favor. Without her telling me what it was, I told her that I’d do whatever she needed as long as I could get it done in the next hour before I had to pick up my kids from school. This is not atypical to have another agent call and ask for something. It is usually either that they are driving and to need look up the status of a house or ask me a question about a contract and how I interpret a paragraph.
Cassandra was stuck in traffic and had to meet a family in Urbana to show them a house. They had just gotten a contract on the house the day before, and apparently the buyer’s mother is very ill. She wanted to see the house, and the only time she could do it was 2:30. She couldn’t wait around for
Cassandra to get there. I dropped what I was doing, and since the house was only 5 minutes away I made it there in time to meet the family. It was no big deal but meant a lot to Cassandra and her clients.
Cassandra even posted the following message on Facebook:
Hey Eric Verdi I would like to shout from the roof tops how grateful I am to you for your help on Friday afternoon! Facebook seems like a pretty good rooftop, so here goes, THANK YOU!! So everyone knows what a stand-up guy you are, here’s the story: On Friday I was stuck in an appointment and had to be on time to meet another family in Urbana to let them in a house. The mom is very ill and I couldn’t let her wait around for me!! There was no way I was going to be on time. I called my friend and he went to meet them. How many people can say they have a friend like this? Glad I can! XOXO
The lessons that I learned from my mom, I still carry with me today in my personal and professional life and try to instill the same lessons to my kids. Relationships MATTER, because what goes around comes around….