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In her town, the laundromat was called a 'washateria'

posted Sep 23, 2016, 3:16 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Sep 23, 2016, 3:17 PM ]
You may know PSAR REALTOR® member Sandy Mitchell who serves on two PSAR Committees, the Professional Standards and Grievance Committees. The Professional Standards Committee hears matters of alleged ethical misconduct by association members or provides arbitration if requested. The Grievance Committee reviews complaints against members to determine if the complaint warrants arbitration or a grievance hearing. “I thoroughly enjoy these committees because it’s a great way to get involved and give back to our profession,” said Sandy. “Besides, both committees are related to law enforcement and I have a lot of personal ties to upholding the law. My late husband was a bodyguard in the 1960s for Deputy Chief Warren Kagagy of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, who later retired and then later became National City’s Chief of Police in 1978.” Sandy also is a CAR Honorary Life Member and has earned the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation.
But did you know that Sandy, who is now a senior citizen, is a caregiver for her 88-year-old half sister who is one of 13 children fathered by her dad? “I grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas, and I thought we had only eight children in our family,” said Sandy. “However, one of my sisters found out otherwise. About 20 years ago, one of my younger sisters did a genealogy study and found out about daddy’s two wives before he married our mother who was barely 17 when she married Daddy who was age 42 at the time. My sister organized a reunion with all of daddy’s children, but I refused to attend the reunion. I didn’t want to believe the stories about our Daddy. I finally believed the stories only when the other children from different wives had the same photo of our Daddy sitting on a motorcycle. It was the same photo I remember seeing as a little girl.”
Sandy speaks fondly of childhood. “I heard the stories about how Daddy showed up one day at the restaurant where my mother was working and he began courting her. Mother grew up in the Methodist orphanage in Waco, Texas. As a child her Christmas present was a choice of an apple or orange. It was love at first sight at the restaurant. After a short time, Daddy said, `I’ll send over a buggy to pick you up and then we’ll get married.’ Long story short, I was born 18 months later.
“We had a wonderful childhood. Daddy was a good businessman and was financially very successful. He more than adequately provided for all of us and kept my beloved mother in comfort her whole life. My Mother and Daddy owned and operated our town’s water company called the Burbank Gardens Water Works, along with the only self-service laundromat, it was called a `washateria.’ Daddy dug the ditches, laid the pipe and installed the water meters. He also read the meters and my mother prepared the water bills, which were delivered by us kids. I can vividly remember at age 4-and-a-half delivering water bills and collecting $2 dollars from every customer, signing my name and marking the bills paid. Daddy also would blow out the fire plugs on the fire hydrants so that we could play in the water and mud. As a reward for participating in the family business, Daddy would frequently load up us kids in our Cadillac for eight and would drive us to the local ice cream parlor in Chalk Hill, Texas, for all of our favorite, pineapple malts.”
While most water customers paid $2 per month, Sandy said, “We had one customer, the Baghdad, that paid $400 per month, quite a lot of money at the time.” The Baghdad Supper Club was a theater and entertainment venue in Grand Prairie at the corner of Bagdad Road and Main Street. It opened Thanksgiving Day 1928. According to Wikipedia, it was an opulent palatial building with pinkish gray stucco with a Moorish-style architecture that featured dining, dancing and music. The dance floor was billed as the largest in the Southwest. The main dining room had a seating capacity of 450. The parking lot had room for 300 automobiles. The venue’s contents included furniture, Oriental furnishings from Japan and China, tapestries, drapes and scores of handmade rugs. On April 19, 1953, the building burned to the ground in what was called “the most spectacular fire in western Dallas County.”
Sandy also speaks fondly of her late husband Mitch who she met in 1974 when they both worked at General Dynamics in San Diego. “We met at a barbecue and got married two weeks later in Las Vegas,” said Sandy. “We were good savers and invested wisely. We bought several apartment units and commercial buildings. One of our great successes was the sale of a commercial building on West Washington Street (now a Vons store). We used the proceeds to buy our current home in Coronado.”
Together Sandy and Mitch managed and operated Mission Hills Property Shop. Mitch died of cancer in 1996. Now she resides with her partner and soul mate Stan. Her hobbies are dinner parties, working in her garden and traveling.
Today, Sandy remains active in real estate. “I belong to four other real estate boards but PSAR is the best by far. It’s the best move I’ve ever made I love the people. They are always there to help in any way they can and are always really nice, friendly and professional. It’s so refreshing to hear a live voice at the other end. I feel so privileged to know I have their support at my finger tips.”