Pepaw and the $3.50 mortgage

Frank Nesbitt
Will Nesbitt’s grandfather

Our small town of Front Royal was dominated by a rayon plant that was one of the world’s largest producers of Rayon. Pepaw, known to his contemporaries and colleagues as Frank Nesbitt, was a hard-working Irish Catholic who spent forty years at that viscose factory making rayon. Pepaw was my grandfather. Legend tells me that I named my grandfather Pepaw and my grandmother Memaw. Because I was the oldest grandchild, most of my cousins and all of my sisters and brother called him Pepaw as well.

Pepaw was well known in our small community and well respected for a number or reasons I won’t go into here. But I will say that he had the booming voice of a born-leader and I’m very fortunate to have known him.  The funny thing about kids is that you never know what they are listening to or how much they understand.  I always remembered him talking about the following conversation he had with his bank, though I didn’t much understand the subject until I became an adult.

Pepaw got a call from the bank one day. The bank said, “Frank, you’ve only got $500 on your mortgage.”

Pepaw said, “Yes. What’s your point?”

These were the days when the banker who loaned you your mortgage knew you personally. My grandfather probably coached the banker’s kid in Little League Baseball.  The banker said, “We know what’s in your accounts Frank. Why don’t you just pay this thing off?”

Pepaw growled a little as he recalled struggle. “There was a time when my wife had to cut hair in the basement and the family had to cut corners. There was a time when I had to work extra shifts to make sure that we made that $3.50 payment on time. When I asked about paying off that loan I learned that most of that payment was interest—very little was principal. Some times I had to turn in pop bottles just to get the extra money I needed to make my payment on time.

“But now, now the payment is mostly principal with very little interest and you want me to pay it off.” He paused and said with a bit more calm, “No, I’ll pay my $3.50 each month and I’ll pay it until the mortgage is done. But I won’t pay any extra and I won’t pay early. I stuck by the deal then, and you’ll stick to it now.”

That’s my story of Pepaw and the $3.50 mortgage.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.

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Will Nesbitt

View posts by Will Nesbitt
Will is the principal broker of Nesbitt Realty and Condo Alexandria. He is licensed in anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but focuses on those communities found in and around Alexandria, Arlington, Mount Vernon and Springfield/Franconia. Will has been involved in real estate management, sales and investment for more than twenty years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. While in the army, he studied Russian at Monterey's Defense Language Institute. He is also a "veteran of the dotcom wars" and built most of the sites associated with NesbittRealty.com Will currently resides in Belle Haven Estates just outside Old Town, overlooking New Alexandria. He is a former president of the Mount Vernon Youth Athletic Association and founded the Alexandria Fun with Friends Group. Will is the author of BattlestorM, a tabletop fantasy game, which was published by Ral Partha Publishing in the late '90's, and Arthur's Realm, a boardgame available at the Gamecrafter.