My great aunt Ann was a widow all the days I knew her. She had been married to a man named Al Colefrancesa, but that was a long time before I knew her.
I never knew Al because he died in 1937, twenty one years before I was born.
Al had been in show business. At least that was the story we had been told when we were younger.
Al and his partner Andy Mayo had a comedy act and they traveled all over the US in the 1930s.
I am sure that this sounds very exciting, "being in show business" and travelling.
Al and Andy's act was a dancing horse. I am not making this up. They travelled around the country entertaining people by putting a suit and dressing like a horse and dancing.
That is really them in the picture above. Al is the hind half of the act and that is Florence Mayo holding Pansey the dancing horse.
My Great Aunt passed away in 1994 and my mother is the keeper of her belongings. There are newspaper clippings, photos and other memorabilia from the their days on the stage. I love this stuff - you can't make it up. He was the back half of a dancing horse.
Anyway, among the papers was a real estate listing for a piece of property that Al had bought in Los Angeles, Ca in the 1930s. After Al passed away, Ann had continued to pay taxes on the land but must have decided at some point that it was time to sell and so in 1952 she sold 3838 Carpenter Street, an undeveloped piece of property for $2,000.
Do you have any idea how much that property would be worth today? Over a million.
So I guess the moral of the story is that you can be a horse's ass and still make money if you hold on to real estate.