A Personal Memoir

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I remember meeting my step, step grandfather, Sydney Rheinstein, when I was sixteen. He was the stepfather of my stepmother Virginia Hubbard. We met at his Montauk Point home in Long Island, a landmark mansion named Sandpiper Hill. It was a most unusual home built on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, where the lawn ended, and the sea and rocks were about 100 feet below. The view was amazing. 

The mansion was created from having a windmill built in Holland and floated across the ocean to become the center piece of this incredible building. As you entered the room, there were stairs winding around the walls of the building leading up to a loft where a piano was positioned surrounded by thousands of books. A couple of small windows brought in light to the room and made this special place almost magical.

You can imagine how a sixteen-year-old seeing this magnificent home may have questioned how somebody earns the kind of money to have such a place… This story of Sydney Rheinstein is documented in his autobiography, TRADE WHIMS – My Fifty Years on the New York Stock Exchange, The Ronald Press Company. 1960.

After graduating from Princeton University in 1909, at the age of 21, Sydney Rheinstein joined the New York Stock Exchange and purchased a seat for $10,000, loaned to him by his parents. After several good years, he lost his fortune and had to work in a variety of blue collar jobs to build up enough money to make a comeback. Sydney weathered the 1929 stock market crash. He now owned two seats on the exchange with control of General Foods, Lehman Corporation, Phillips Petroleum and Paramount Pictures.

His advice to me as a young wide-eyed teen was twofold. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. Most importantly, Invest in the things that make our country great!

This advice has haunted me all my life. Never letting people tell me I cannot do something was clear. But, what did he mean by saying? Invest in the things that make our country great…

As I reflect on this event that made such an early impression in my life… I remembered the day Eva Horton told me the reason we were here at the 2nd Convention of The Chimney Sweep Guild… We are building a new trade in America!

I think that was the day back in 1978 that I found the meaning of Invest in the things that make our country great. Forty plus years later I am investing in building a new trade in America….

If you are an entrepreneur looking for a great career with purpose: Contact the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG.org) (CSIA.org) (MCSGuild.org) or any of the many state and regional chimney sweep guilds listed in my magazine Blue Collar Magazine.

~ Dave Hannah
Blue Collar Magazine

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