Let’s meet Mr. Amato.

October 17, 2018

You all hear me talk about Mr. Amato a lot. Who is he? How did I meet him and become involved with him and the Allen House? He is such a character! He is a jokester and yet, he is one of the kindest men I have met.

Another person you hear me talk about is Bridget. She has been at the Allen House every time we have needed volunteers. She is the person that told me about the Allen House. She works for the attorney that handles all of Vance County’s tax foreclosures. She knew I was looking for a house to restore. She said the Allen house was about to go up for auction. That was back in January. The auction happened in March. I had never done an auction. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing!!

Before the auction I knew that a Mr. Amato would be there and would be bidding. I knew a little about him and that his wife is an Allen descendant. The auction started. I put in a couple of bids. It was obvious to me that Mr. Amato was going to get the house at whatever cost. He was challenged by a couple of people after I stopped. One was a known flipper. He pulled up in a shiny new Corvette and apparently he is a regular at all county auctions. There was also a developer there. Mr. Amato did win the auction!

I left the courthouse and got to my car. I noticed the flipper man hanging around the parking lot. I also noticed the developer hanging around. I started to get in my car and thought about Mr. Amato with his two canes and even though I hadn’t even talked to him, I just felt there was something there. A connection? I don’t know, but something made me go back to the courthouse. It was a blustery and cold day. I waited for fifteen minutes for him. When he came out I introduced myself and told him I had been researching the property and fell in love with the history of the house. We spent two hours together that day. Before I left him I told him if he had any issue with the developer or the flipper trying to outbid him to let me know. “I might know someone with a big online following and sometimes a little public scrutiny can get people to back off. This house needs to be back in the Allen Family. I want to help you.” I didn’t tell him it was me with the online following. 🙂

So fast forward to two months later. His bid was challenged a few times! Bridget kept me abreast of it throughout the entire process. Once Mr. Amato finally won it outright I called him. We had a long talk and he asked me why I wanted the house. I told him, I wanted a house to restore, to use as a preservation school. I then asked him, how are you going to tackle that house? Do you want my help? I then met with him one day and discussed things. He talked about signing the house over to me and letting us do what we want. I told him, no. It needs to stay in the Allen family, but I would love to still use it as a project house and as a future preservation school. He is such a gentle soul. My biggest fear has been that someone would come along and take advantage of him. I will not do that. The people associated with me will not do that. Jeremy has been a great source and Mr. Amato trusts him also.

Another thing about Mr. Amato, he is a jokester. Since we have been working at the house he has said there are dead bodies buried in the kitchen and in the backyard. He calls me Moira, because half the time he forgets my name. He calls Jeremy, whats his name. He is from Sicily. Then he winks and talks about being involved with mobsters. He has been a bodyguard before. One thing I can say for sure is when I get off the phone with him I am ALWAYS smiling. He dishes it out to me and I dish it right back!

One day he said, let me change the phone to my other ear. A tire blew out and I can’t hear anymore. My doctor was supposed to call me for an appointment, but she must have forgotten.

I replied, Maybe she has called you, but you just didn’t hear the phone ring.

“Oh, Moira. What did I do before you all entered my life?! You all have made my life exciting and I appreciate you all for it! I’m always scared I’m going to miss something going on at the house, so I drive by a few times a day. When can we have another clean up day??”

And that is Mr. Amato.