Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Written By: Jennie  Pappas

TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION Last year my husband and I, both retired senior citizens, decided to simplify our lives by selling one of our three homes. It was a toss-up between our condo in Florida and a summer home looking over Peconic Bay in Southold. After much deliberation we chose to sell the condo in the south of Florida since we built our Southold home in 1972 and it held many fond memories. How could we relinquish the days spent boating, fishing, waterskiing, swimming, clamming, and enjoying the many fine restaurants on the North Fork? In fact our daughter was married in a little church in Mattituck and had a lovely reception at the Macari Vineyard. Besides our children and grandchildren would be devastated. Thus, the “made for a movie” story began. While we were in Florida over the winter we retained a realtor who lived in our building and was associated with a reputable agency in Florida. She drew up a contract, prepared an impressive virtual tour for the computer, and quickly brought prospective buyers. Being snowbirds we left for our home in Garden City in April and understood that she would keep us informed of any serious offers. About a month later I received a call from her (I’ll call her Jane) telling me that she was divorcing her husband, selling her condo with the intention of renting another one in our building, and continuing her job keeping all her clients. Jane’s husband wanted to move closer to his place of business because he was tired of the long commute. (according to her explanation). She refused, hence the divorce. I thought to myself this was more information than I needed to know being that I was not a close friend. In July I received a call from another realtor from Jane’s agency informing me that she was undertaking all of Jane’s listings. My first reaction was that Jane changed her mind and was moving but was I wrong. The realtor proceeded to tell me the shocking news that Jane’s husband shot her, and then killed himself in their apartment downstairs…..a murder-suicide! She also informed me that had Jane sold her own apartment to a couple who primarily was interested in ours having visited it three times, made an offer, and then strangely backed out. Legal but unethical. However the story did not end there. A few days later a letter arrived addressed to my husband and myself with no return address. It was a lengthy suicide note written by Jane’s husband explaining the reasons he killed her. We were horrified, to say the least, and our first reaction was to call the police. I decided to check the computer first to see if I could find any information about the happening. Sure enough there was an article in the Palm Beach Post and it mentioned that a suicide note was found. It seems he (I’ll refer to him as Ted) mailed a copy to all of Jane’s clients and the office manager of our complex. We were relieved to know that we were not the only recipients. Now let me briefly reiterate the contents of the letter. It was the second marriage for Ted and Jane….they met, fell in love, married and lived together happily for six years. He bought her the condo in our building, a Mercedes, advised her to shop only at upscale stores, and took her on many trips. He helped Jane’s daughter complete her education and gave her $20,000 for an engagement ring since her boyfriend had no money. Then Ted gave the fiance’ a job at his business which turned out to be a big mistake. The fiance’ lied, treated customers badly, stole, lost accounts, and undermined Ted. Jane sided with her daughter and her betrothed which led to a conflict in her relationship with Ted, and he accused the three of them of plotting to take over his business. Ted became despondent when she asked him for a divorce and told her he might harm himself. She didn’t care and spent more time with her daughter supposedly to plan for the wedding. One night Jane returned home at 11:15 after leaving Ted on a day when he was very depressed. Her lack of concern led to the tragic ending of the story. Evidently he planned the murder-suicide that day, wrote the note, made copies, mailed them, shot Jane, called the daughter who called the police, and then shot himself. I would like to see Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone cast in the roles of Ted and Jane, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as the fiance’ and daughter. What a movie that would make! June 24, 2014 Jennie Pappas (amateur author) 100 Hilton Avenue #711 Garden City, NY 11530 516-921-7075 516-659-5260 85 Beverly Road Southold, NY (no mailbox)