Through Any Given Door ~ Catherine Sevenau

Catherine Sevenau Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir. The full memoir is available as a web series at A longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country, she can be reached at [email protected]


My new love

Posted on October 23, 2019 by Catherine Sevenau

On his way home from the park, Emmett stops by my real estate office to say hi. 

“Hey, I haven’t seen you since you were a little kid, and look at you, you’re a big kid! How old are you now?” I ask.

“I’m four-and-a-half.”

“I’m 71,” I say, as I reach out my hand and shake his. “It’s good to see you again.”

We make small talk about school and where he might go to kindergarten next year. He says maybe Flowery and I say I hear it’s a good school. The conversation turns to include his grandparents, who are old friends of mine. 

Surveying my office, he asks, “What are those trophies for?”

“You win them when you work hard and sell lots of houses.”

“I’d like one!”

Oh be still my heart. I want to load up his arms with the lot of them, but think better of it. First, he lives in a pretty small house and his mother would strangle me, and second, I wouldn’t give him one, so as not to perpetuate the ill-conceived notion that every player gets a trophy. 

He makes the circuit of the office, checking out the agents’ spaces, while I visit with my friends. He pokes his head back in and asks if he can go upstairs. I say sure. After he’s thoroughly scoped out the place, he returns and asks, “How long do you think you’re going to live?”

“Well, I’m hoping to 90, maybe 95. Why?”
“I want to come work for you.” I can’t do the math in my head at 71, but at four-and-a-half he’s figured out this could work.

Now I want to give him my office. 

“I’d like that,” I tell him in all sincerity.

Taking their leave, Emmett watches the scrolling pictures of our listings on the front monitor.

“Hey, that’s this place!” as our building appears on the screen. 

“How do you know that?”

He says, “Come look,” and we go out to our sidewalk fronting Broadway.

I say, “You’re absolutely right!” Daphne and Tim must have pointed it out from across the street on their walks with him to the park. 

I mention to this child, whom I now have a crush on, that I sold his house to his parents, that I sold his grandparents their home, and that I also sold his great-grandmother’s house on Denmark for her many years ago. “If I sold you a house, you’d be my fourth generation!”

The conversation returns to his employment. “When I’m old enough, I’ll come work for you. I hope you’re still alive.”

“Me too. Call me when you’re 13.. You’ll be old enough to clean the sign room and carry boxes downstairs for me. Those were my grandson’s jobs.”

I step back through the front door and get my card. “Take this. My phone number is on it so you can reach me.” 

He presses it against the outside window and asks, “How do you make it stick to the glass?”

I laugh and say, “It’s not a miniature flyer for the window, it’s a business card to carry in your pocket.”

“Oh.” As he tucks my card into his pant’s pocket, he says in great earnest, “Just in case, be sure and tell everyone in your office who I am so they’ll know about me when I come work here.”

Now I want to give this child the whole company. 

“I will, I promise.”


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