Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday / Holidays / Sharon / Doug Shorenstein

Black Friday in my new ‘hood’
Nope, I didn’t going shopping today* - although yesterday I did see people who had literally spent the night camped out at the entrance to a Best Buys (electronics) store, near the Asheville, NC airport.  I was tempted to go up and ask them, “What’s the deal?” but thought they might think I was trying to cut into line!

I’ve been spending my time driving around, exploring my new ‘neighborhood’ and beyond.  I really like it.  Yesterday I took a walk in a national forest, which is about a 10-minute drive from my apartment. Driving slowly, I managed to avoid hitting the deer that pranced across the road in front of me when I drove into the park.  Then I took a hiking trail which was wonderful – that is until a man and woman carrying rifles walked towards me – I definitely wasn’t ready for that.  I was dressed all in black and, at the advice of a friend, I left the park and found a store that was open, even on Thanksgiving Day, and bought some orange day-glow tops so that I’m not mistaken for a black bear on future walks.

*For those outside the U.S., today is known as “Black Friday.”  It’s the day after Thanksgiving when retailers are open for insane hours hoping to achieve sales that will get them ‘into the black’ (profitable) for the year.  But, the term, ‘Black Friday’ was originally used to describe the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.  There’s more to this story – Google it if you’re interested in reading more.

In the U.S., we’re celebrating Thanksgiving Day weekend.  I believe it’s the most widely observed holiday for families and friends to get together. Thinking about the flash in time since Thanksgiving 2014, it reminds me of how fast time is flying by.  In the hustle and bustle of our lives, work, school, etc. all of us say, “Yeah, I’m planning on doing this or that or going to this or that place.”  But things managed to get delayed, sometimes for very valid reasons, other times simply because we feel we’ll always have time.  But we don’t.  My thoughts with you today: Enjoy the holidays and let’s do something we’ve been putting off.  There is no better time than now!

With the thoughts of family on this Thanksgiving Day weekend, I decided to share a piece which I’ve published at least once since 1999 when I first started writing this column: 

On Children by Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so, He loves also the bow that is stable.

Today would have been the 66th birthday of Sharon, my first wife and the mother of my two sons.  But she didn’t make it until her birthday.  In July, Sharon lost her two and a half year battle with leiomyosarcoma, a rare and incurable form of cancer.

Today, prompted by the anniversary of her birthday, I woke up very early this morning with some things I wanted to share with you.

Sharon and I met in 1967 or 1968 when she was an art major at Jersey City (NJ) State Teachers College. It was a very special era. I was playing keyboards in a local band called Everyone.  Sharon’s college roommate, Denise, was a singer in the band at that time and both our drummer, Tommy Bruno, and lead guitarist, Puggy DeRosa, attended Jersey City State.  We were a popular band there and after one of the dances we played in Vodra Hall, I remember Sharon and I talking outside by my car.  We went on one date and had a great time – then she told me she had recently broken off an engagement and didn’t want to get serious about anyone right then.  I didn’t understand, but then again, I’m a guy…what did I know??  So we went our separate ways.  Periodically she’d show up at one of our shows and even took up with one of our bass players for a while.  Then, in 1973, out of nowhere, I heard from her.  She was working as an elementary-school art teacher. We started seeing each other and in 1975 got married in Livingston, NJ.

In 1977 our first son, Brian, was born, followed two years later by Kevin.  Sharon had a job teaching in Parsippany, NJ (where we had bought our first house) and when Brian was born she decided to become a full-time Mom – something I realized she had seen as her true calling.

She was a really good Mom and the fact that Brian and Kevin developed into the men they are today has a lot to do with her.  I first started being ‘On the Road’ in my real estate career in 1975 and, with regrets, was not around as much as I would have liked to have been.   Our homes were always open to the boys’ friends and neighbors and became the ‘go to’ house.  We always had art and music in our houses and as the boys grew up, our basements became the launching pad for some of their early bands.

Both Kevin and Brian pursued their creative side.  Kevin’s career has centered around the TV industry – MTV, VHI and for many years now as an independent producer of some of the well-known reality shows.  Brian was a member of a touring band, Om Trio, which had 5 CD’s and critical acclaim.  He’s now an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina – Asheville and the co-author of
Interactive Listening: A New Approach to Music, an innovative music appreciation textbook and iBook designed for the 21st century student.

While Sharon and I didn’t really communicate much about it after our divorce in 1995, we were both so very proud that the boys pursued creative careers and are doing things they really love to do.

During Sharon’s illness, the boys were able to spend a good amount of time visiting with her and were also able to bring the kids, the grandchildren of Sharon and me, to see her from time to time.
Now, as many of you know, Brian and his wife Bridget have two sons, Sean (6) and Gavin (4) who now live about 20 minutes from me.  Kevin and Marissa’s twins, Edie and Ben, are 4 and live in a suburb of New York City.

As much stress as there was in the relationship between Sharon and me, I can’t describe how much her dedication to our family means to me.

Doug Shorenstein
I'm sorry to be the bearer of sad news if you have not yet heard this - Doug Shorenstein, Chairman and CEO of the San Francisco-based real estate giant, passed away on Tuesday, November 24th at age 60. I didn’t know Doug well, but did know him as a class act and someone who took the business started by his dad, Walter, to new heights.  Doug was a good guy.  It’s all very sad.

We’ve lost some wonderful industry people – all ‘before their time’ (sorry, I’m sure I’ve missed some):
Susan Hudson-Wilson - John Koza - Peter Lewis - Ashlee Lambrix  - Bill Holmes - Anne Pfeiffer - Anne Hoagland - Kevin Haggarty - Pat Goldstein - Marc Louargand - Onno Husken - Frank Blashka - Joseph Dear - Bernard Winograd - Joe Robert…

These folks, all of whom I knew to a greater or lesser degree, made an impact on the global commercial real estate industry, and in some cases and impact on me as well (and maybe for many of you too!).

On the Road…

Dec. 2-3: NAREIM Capital Raising and Investor Relations, Chicago, IL 


Jan. 20-22: IMN’s 13th Annual Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing, Laguna Beach, CA 

Jan. 26-27: NAREIM Acquisitions and Dispositions, Beverly Hills, CA

Jan. 28: Felix /Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Los Angeles, CA 

Feb. 2:  Felix/ Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Dallas, TX

Feb.4:  Felix/ Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Houston, TX 

Feb. 16-17: NAREIM Research and Investment Management, Chicago, IL 

Feb. 18:  Felix / Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Chicago, IL 

Mar. 8 & 9:  Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Spring Conference, Boston, MA

Mar. 10: Felix / Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, New York City

Apr. 6-7: NAREIM Asset and Portfolio Management, Atlanta, GA 

Apr. 8:  Felix/ Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshop, Atlanta, GA

Apr. 13-14:  PERE Global Investor Forum, Los Angeles, CA


All content in this blog is created for informational purposes only. Content, which includes all text, photos, video and graphics is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual.  Steve Felix makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or other information as a result of following any featured link to or from this site.  The intention of this blog is to do no harm in regards to injury, defamation or libel. What is written or shown is not to be taken as fact or absolute.  Steve Felix will hold himself harmless for any errors or omissions in this blog’s information; including but not limited to external link information, translation or interpretation of content or incorrect grammar or punctuation. 

Blog Archive