... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

School of Hard Knocks!

It’s Flashback Friday and Tracie and I have had a flashback week with stories of our Daddy, Gerald Frank. Keeping that theme going, today I am sending you into the weekend with one of my favorite Daddy Tales which I am dubbing, The School of Hard Knocks.

As I have shared, we grew up in the apartment and housing rental business in Seattle. Daddy was a self made black man straight outta Detroit. He emancipated himself at the age of 16, lied about his age and came to Washington State to join the Army. He believed ANY work was GOOD work, and you just had to get up and get on it! I share this because later in life, due to his success, a lot of people assume he came from privilege. Bottom line he didn’t. He came from the School of Hard Knocks. When he arrived in Seattle, he had zero tolerance for the passive Northwest attitudes of unambitious, soap opera watching residents living off the system and this irked him to his core. Many a day, my sisters and I arrived in our home office to find Daddy ordering delinquent rent paying tenants with addresses to go to mow yards, paint, or clean vacant properties. There was always someway to barter and get compensated. As Daddy barked on numerous occasions, the mortgage company doesn’t want to hear any excuses on why the payment is late!

Sometimes though, tenants didn’t want to work or pay. One such resident was Mr. Jenkins. Every month he had an excuse, and some were incredulous. His car needed repair. His baby flushed the rent check down the toilet and he was waiting to get it replaced. His baby mamas sisters cousin twice removed died and he had to send money back home to help out. Mr. Jenkins wouldn’t report to work and he just continued to avoid Daddy’s repeated calls.

The eviction process can be a long, arduous and costly process. Landlords must serve a 3 Day notice to pay or vacate. When you are able to get a court appointment, a landlord must provide an Order to Show Cause of why the eviction should be approved. If the judge or commissioner is in agreement, a Writ of Restitution restoring your property is granted. This can take a few months before the sheriff even shows up to stand by while your crew does the physical move out. Thus Landlords are often out several months of rent, plus damages and court expense. This process didn’t bode well with Daddy. Remember – key words- Detroit, and School of Hard Knocks.

Christmas season is notoriously the roughest month for rent collections and for obvious reasons. Tight budgets, holiday shopping, and family feasts often leave residents short on obligations. But as Daddy would echo, “Just because it’s on your ass doesn’t make it an ass-et!” Rent was still due to protect his assets! It was a typical inclement early morning the week before Christmas. The torrential rain poured relentlessly. Daddy and his maintenance man, Chris, arrived at the little house in the Central District in the wee hours before dawn. Daddy instructed Chris, an impressionable, 19 year old to go up and use his master key and remove the front door and put it in the back of his truck.

Chagrined, Chris put out his cigarette and swept his long pony tail to the back of his head. He jumped out of the passenger side of the truck and glanced at the house. “What if they wake up boss?” Chris mumbled. Daddy’s look sent Chris to do as instructed. When Daddy returned to our home office 20 minutes later, Mr. Jenkins was enraged as he screamed into the phone. “I just woke up to rain coming in my house – my my my #%#@ front door is missing!”
Daddy leaned back in his chair and chuckled. “Mr. Jenkins, nice to finally hear from you. What? Your front door is missing??? Ain’t that a coincidence, SO IS YOUR RENT.”

And that my friends is The School of Hard Knocks or should it be The School of No Knocks?