One of the good reasons I had for selling my house and moving to an apartment was that I was losing my entourage.

Everybody who owns a home and has to maintain stability needs an entourage — and the sooner you can make the connections, the better off you will be.

Who’s in your entourage? The people who keep things going. The smart folks who know how to fix things. When you become a homeowner, you soon learn that the more friends you make among these smart people, the better off you will be.

Never make one mad at you. But try not to recommend them to other people, because they will then get too busy for you. It’s a fine line.

Buddy up to the guy who fixes your car, and hope, as mine did, he doesn’t decide, as mine did, not to work on foreign cars.

Make a real friend of the man who fixes your air conditioner. One of the great tragedies of my life was when John McKown died, years before his time.

Be on a first-name basis with a plumber. This is a must. So, Buddy’s sold out and there was no more Axel to come hurrying over. You see why I was headed for rent-hood.

Do you know somebody who sells and repairs appliances? Well, you know that A.J. sold his store, but he still makes repairs. So he’s part of the exodus of the entourage.

These big box stores have come along and grabbed up all the appliance business. But do all these big box places have repairmen who come smilingly to your service, wrench in hand, when trouble strikes? I don’t know.

I called Seymour once with a broken refrigerator. It was an emergency, as far as I was concerned, and I couldn’t even get off work to tend to that sad business.

He came out with a new fridge, put all the contents of my present refrigerator into the new one, picked up the old one and hauled it away.

Now that’s service.

When I needed a special little nail or screw and I didn’t really know what it was I needed, the folks at Busbee’s knew. They ushered me to just the right little bin at that marvelous store. All gone now.

Remember when, next to the store, they had a lot full of beautiful boats. One of those boats was always a prize at the end of Tackle Time.

I don’t know if that still happens, but I know all those Busbee boats are no longer around.

You can easily see I’m living in the past. But the past was full of wonderful people.

Since I don’t need them anymore, I don’t know if a new set of helpful people now exists. I sure hope so.

All you homeowners out there need to be developing your own entourage.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at

(1) comment

Charlotte O'rourke

I admire people that can fix things because I’m hopeless in this area. This story reminded me of my grandmother who could repair anything - from a roof to plumbing to wallpapering or laying a floor. She could do it all. When I asked her how she knew so much (she never finished 9th grade but was so smart), she repeated the saying “needs must.” Self taught, self disciplined. She was my entourage and gave help and advice when my husband and I bought and restored our first home. I miss her. Thanks for the story.

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