"Timing is Everything"...Why is the Firm Named Railroad Street Wealth Management?
My Dad Anthony P. Mamunes (b:1/30/1918,d.8/21/1964) was a member of the greatest generation. He was born to Greek immigrants in the steel mill town of Homestead Pennsylvania. His parents moved to the Bronx, New York and raised seven children. My Dad dropped out of school after the eighth grade shining shoes and grocery clerking to help support the family.
In 1943 at the age of 25 he joined the Army and became a tank gunner in the 747th Tank Battalion, Company B. On June 7, 1944 the day after the initial D-Day landing in Normandy, Corporal Anthony P. Mamunes landed on Omaha Beach with the rest of Company B. His unit was immediately attached to the 115th Regiment of the famed 29th Infantry Division, (The Blue and Gray) comprised largely of soldiers from Maryland and Virginia. After the Normandy Beaches had been secured, the Germans pulled back to the town of St. Lo, the main bastion of Hitler's defense line. On June 20th exactly 2 weeks after the D-Day invasion my Dad took part in the first probe of the German lines near St. Lo.
From an after-action report by the 747th Tank Battalion following a limited-objective attack launched on 20 June in order to reduce the Villiers-Fossard salient:
"At 0600 Company B moved forward, with engineers blowing gaps in the hedgerows and the infantry following. The infantry was pinned down and tanks could not move forward. But they were on part of their objective. Tanks were forced to withdraw due to heavy antitank and bazooka fire. One tank was knocked out and the crew of five men were wounded. The tanks kept trying to move forward, but got stuck.The infantry stayed pinned down. Another tank was hit. On order from the Regimental Commander four tanks forced their way through fire to the objective. No infantry followed. Two tanks returned, one was knocked out by antitank guns. The other was stuck so the crew had to abandon the tank as no help could reach them. The infantry withdrew 900 yards and took up defensive positions. The tanks covered the withdrawals."
Dad was the gunner in one of the tanks that was destroyed and was seriously wounded. He was evacuated to a hospital in England where he would remain until December 1944 when he returned to the United States. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his actions that day.
After returning from the war, Dad worked hard to save money and self-taught himself about business at the New York Public Library. He met my Mom (whose parents were immigrant Slovak farmers) in New York City. They married and after my older brother was born in 1951 moved to my Mom's native state of Connecticut. Dad's hard work paid off and on March 26, 1954 he was able to open the Railroad Street Package Store in Willimantic, Connecticut. He bought a 3 bedroom home in nearby Ashford and soon my older sister and I were born.
Through hard work my Dad had lived the American dream and from his humble beginning had become a businessman. His liquor store was the largest in the area and was very successful. In 1960 my Dad took our whole family on a trip to Greece for 2 weeks. In fact I took my first steps in Greece before my first birthday. Railroad Street Package Store was so successful that my Dad had Oak Park Distillery in Baltimore manufacture "Mamunes" brand Rye Whiskey by the case and ship it to his store in Willimantic, Connecticut.
On August 21, 1964 a customer walked into my Dad's store and found him dead behind the counter. The cause of death was recorded as a heart attack. However, doctors had told my Dad that his chest was full of shrapnel from the battle near St. Lo. After 20 years it is very possible that may have contributed to his death.
My Mom was widowed with 3 children ages 12,8 and 4. The package store was sold and my Grandmother came to live with us so Mom could go to work as a secretary. Through her hard work, determination and sacrifice I am proud that my brother, sister and myself all got college degrees. An opportunity Mom and Dad never had. By the time my Mom retired our house had been sold and she lived on Social Security and a small pension.
When I became interested in the stock market when I was in college, I once asked Mom if we had ever owned stock since Dad was such a good businessman. She told me we had but in the early seventies it just kept going down in value and she sold it all. I suspect my dear Mom may have sold the stock at the worst possible time (perhaps the infamous bear market of 1973 and 1974).
I often wonder what our family life might have been if Mom had a trusted advisor that may have been able to give her sound investment advice. Perhaps she may have sold prior to the 1973-74 bear market. Or maybe she could have held on and participated in the great bull market through 1999.
The problem is that even today no one can predict where the capital markets will be tomorrow, 6 months from now or even years from now. There were no risk management tools or methodologies available for financial advisors or investors back then. Today it is still impossible to forecast where the capital markets will be in the future. However I believe risk management is possible through tactical investing. My goal is to deliver a tactical investment methodology that makes sense for the serious investor.
Timing is still everything. I founded Railroad Street Wealth Management in honor of my Mom and Dad.