Those are the words my Mother, June Baldini, would say to me whenever she went to an auction and bought something particularly beautiful, especially if someone complimented her purchase. She loved a good auction and she loved the sport of bidding. She was an auctioneer’s dream. Why? Because when she wanted something, she did not back down from a good bidding war. As a matter of fact, she didn’t back down from life challenges either.
My Mother lived a life of service in the healthcare industry. She graduated from St. Thomas School of Nursing in 1956, worked the night shift at St. Thomas hospital while raising my two sisters and me, then went back to school and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree. She would continue her education and later earned a Master’s degree in Health Administration.
June Baldini ran a very successful and well-respected Health Care Company with very humble beginnings. In the late 70’s after many years working in the health care industry for another company, she decided to start her own agency. She was rejected by lenders who refused to loan her the start-up capital to begin her agency. In 1981, her persistency and vigilance paid off when a small local bank came through with a loan. She remained loyal to that bank for the remainder of her life, and never forgot those who helped her along the way.
She quickly became a leader in her industry, and she was the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. In 1996, a serious illness forced her to take a leave from the daily operations of her company. However, during the months of treatments, she kept in touch with her managers and continued to guide and motivate them until she returned full time later that same year. It was known in her industry, once you went to work for her company, you would never want to leave. Turnover was practically non-existent. She had high standards and expected her staff to be the best…no less. In turn, she took good care of her employees and everyone felt like family. She felt strongly that patient care came first. That kind of attitude defined her reputation. In 2014, at almost 80 years old, she finally sold her company and retired. For her, that day was bittersweet.
After her death, my family received cards and heard from people who had so many stories to share about nice things she had done for them. It was not her way to boast or brag about her good deeds or about all of the awards of recognition she received. On a rare occasion, she would share a story with me, without naming names of course, about someone who needed a little help with something. I think it was her way of reminding me no matter how bad things in your life may seem, there is always someone out there who if suffering more than you. She had an open-door policy, and employees could simply go to her office with any issue anytime. She would tell me how important it was to listen to people; to stop what you’re doing and really listen. I used to say she was the ultimate sacred secret keeper because she comforted and helped so many people. To my two sisters and me, she was simply “Mom” and to her four grandchildren and five great grandchildren she was simply “Mimi” and she adored them! She was truly loved and will be greatly missed by so many people.
She was my biggest cheerleader and the reason I am in the auction industry. One Sunday afternoon while we were driving home from an auction and the car was so full our noses were almost pressed against the windshield, she turned to me and said, “This is the career for you.” She continued, “You need to find out what it takes to become an auctioneer.” I was looking for a new career with some flexibility as I was a single Mother. As soon as I got home, I pulled out the Yellow Pages (I know it sounds like a hundred years ago). I looked for the word “Auction School” and there it was…the Nashville Auction School! I felt like I had found the golden egg. On Monday morning, I called them and asked about attending auction school. They told me they held four sessions each year, and as a matter of fact, a new session had just started that day. I said “Save a seat, I’m on my way!”
We attended a lot of auctions in Kentucky, as that’s where I apprenticed. Occasionally, someone would stop us while we were loading our truck and ask about buying one of her purchases, which only reinforced her desire for that particular item. Not only was she the brave one who didn’t hesitate to start the bidding; in true auction style, when someone wants something you’ve purchased, it makes you want to hang on to it even more. She would politely say “No, I’m sorry. It’s not for sale.” Then, once we were in the truck, she would smile and say, “You know one day my collection is going to make a good auction.” We had so much fun!
She was a professional auction attendee and was always prepared for the day with her bag of snacks and her packing materials. During the Summer auctions, we would sweat five pounds off, and in the Winter auctions, we would freeze to the point of feeling numb. You know, the kind of cold that just chills you to the bone! We were just like everyone else; we would wait all day for that one item! I’ll share one tip with you my Mother taught me. When you’re sitting in your chair on one of those cold blustery Winter days, put your feet inside of a box. It will keep your feet warm. I can’t tell you why, but it works. Once I started calling bids behind the mic on those cold Winter days, I would try to stand on a box top. For some reason, putting something between your feet and the cold ground worked! Thanks for the tip Mom.
We used to sneak items into her house so my Father wouldn’t see them. Eventually, she would place one of her new items out in plain sight. He would finally notice the new item and say something like, “Well, I don’t remember that piece,” to which she would reply, “Oh I’ve had that for quite some time.” It worked, and I hear that method is still practiced today.
So, here’s the takeaway. Have fun bidding in this auction because she had fun purchasing all of these items both at live and online auctions. Buying unique items was one of her favorite pastimes. Each and every item was purchased with love for beautiful things and for the sport of bidding in a competitive auction environment. She was so proud of her collection and knew that one day her things would be auctioned in grand fashion, just the way she wanted.