You might know PSAR REALTOR® member Ellie Mello for her involvement as a member of PSAR’S South County Government Affairs Committee. She joined the Association in 1976 when it as called the South Bay Cities Board of REALTORS®. Over the years, she has served on several Association committees, including Finance, Grievance and Professional Standards.
But did you know that she appeared on “Hollywood Squares” TV show? She was a contestant on the same set with host Peter Marshall and laughed at the bluff answers from Harvey Korman, Florence Henderson, Joan Rivers, Charlie Weaver, Rich Little, Rose Marie and Paul Lynde in the center square. “To get on TV, all we had to do was wait in line at the studios in downtown Burbank,” said Ellie. She won $200 cash and a year’s supply of orange juice.
Living in the Los Angeles area in the 1970s was a fun time, said Ellie. Ellie and her husband bought a home in Cerritos through the VA for $24,000. Their home was about 20 minutes from Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and the Japanese Village and Deer Park, a now-defunct amusement park located in Buena Park. The neighbors would share Disneyland “E” tickets and the families visited the parks frequently, Ellie said.
She grew up in Newport, Rhode Island. It was terrific fun living on an island in the summertime but brutally cold in the winter, Ellie said. “1962 was the first Newport Jazz Festival,” she said. “All the famous jazz groups were there and the island was filled with tourists who came to hear their music. It was also the beginning of the folk music era. Liberty Park was lined with makeshift booths. The ‘free spirits’ of the day would sell their handmade jewelry and macramé. They wore tie dyed clothes, sandals and everything was `groovy baby.’”
Ellie said she saw Joan Baez sitting on the ground, strumming her guitar and asked for an autograph, which the singer signed on a scrap piece of paper.
Ellie attended St. Augustine’s Elementary School and graduated in 1964 from St. Catherine Academy, an all-girls high school. At her recent 50th high school reunion she met up with her old high school boyfriend Jim. Ellie said her jaw dropped when Jim told her he attended seminary after graduation.
After high school, Ellie pursued a career in hairdressing (“That was the term we used back then,” said Ellie). She wanted to open her own beauty salon, but her hairstyling career was short lived because she married a U.S. Navy officer, which was the beginning of her next chapter in life. Together they had three children, including twin boys and a daughter. Ellie’s family kept her very busy for several years. In 1975, they moved to San Diego and bought a home near Southwestern College.
In 1976, Ellie began her real estate career with a Forest E. Olson office. She recalls attending a training seminar with top-producer Tommy Hopkins. Hopkins told the group how he started at age 18 with nothing. The only suit he had was his high school drum major suit, which he wore while farming for listings.
In 1996, Ellie started her own company called Compass Real Estate & Property Management. How has she survived more than 39 years in such a competitive business? Ellie replied, “You take one day at a time, never give up trying and thank God for your blessings. I surround myself with positive people, like the great staff at PSAR who are always willing to lend a hand. That’s how I learned the business and I hope I display that helpful willingness when I’m around newcomers.”
In addition to PSAR, Ellie is active with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and remains a strong advocate for veterans and their families. The VFW Auxiliary is the support group to the VFW. Currently, she is serving as state chaplain of the VFW Auxiliary. She will take the helm as the state president of the California VFW Auxiliary in 2018-2019. The California VFW Auxiliary currently has 21,684 members.