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It’s more than seeing what people with more money have and wishing you had it.Dreambuilding is ‘the perfection of excellence’ – ‘It is a way to control what you – that’s where Amway comes in. on a daily basis.’ We slipped Amway motivational tapes into our car’s tape deck, and listened, and repeated. We hosted seminars in our home where we lectured our downline to ‘activate their dreams.’ We constantly reminded ourselves that our dreams were possible. We took photographs of one another inside our dreams: Here I am, a skinny nine-year-old posing proudly next to a kidney-shaped pool. Building dreams was like building a house: it wouldn’t work with wishes alone.
We were ‘Directs’ going ‘Diamond.’ We ‘showed The Plan’ to anyone who listened. We drove to the yacht dealer and toured the Princesses and the Prestiges, lying on cabin beds and ascending the wooden stairs to stand on pulpits, gazing toward imagined horizons. It is the biggest direct-selling company in the world. When a child goes outside, he brings other kids out.
We drove our teal ’88 Oldsmobile Delta to the Bayou Club Estates for our requisite ‘dreambuilding’ and toured the brand-new houses: big mansions with tall, echoing ceilings and screened-in pools, shiny state-of-the-art kitchens, garages big enough for three Mercedes, a golf course in the back, vanity mirrors and crystal fixtures in every bathroom. In 2015, its parent company, Alticor, claimed transglobal sales of $9.5 billion.
* Four years after joining Amway, my parents came to their senses. Once considered the highest Pin Level – above Silver, Gold, Platinum, Ruby, Pearl, Sapphire and Emerald – Diamond status was what I had craved. After all, less than 1 percent of Amway distributors go Diamond. This house has two stories, an office and a loft, bamboo floors, a three-car garage, a pool. She has French-tipped nails, diamond rings on all fingers, and a gold-and-diamond necklace. ‘And unless you don’t love your children, you don’t let them play on the golf course because they’ll be golf ball magnets.’ My husband chuckles. ‘It’s not a hundred percent safe because if somebody wanted to come through Bardmoor, hop that fence in the middle of the night, and intrude on your house, nothing’s going to stop them.
‘You can see we’re getting the screens fixed,’ the Realtor says, pointing to the men working beyond the glass. She wears a white semi sheer shirt, black-and-white-printed leisure pants, black eyeliner and heavy mascara. That gate out front is not going to stop them.’ ‘It’s hardly even a gate,’ I say. ‘They might steal your jewelry, but they’re not stealing any big items.’ ‘It has the illusion of security,’ says my husband. If you’re happy with what you have, you haven’t dreamed, says Amway. Nothing was wrong with our life before Amway – we didn’t join it to fill a void.
You may have three-car garages versus two-car garages. When you first drive into the community, while you’re technically still in Pinellas Park, you wouldn’t know it.
And then you can upgrade to the Estates section, where they’re all custom-built.’ ‘You could spend your entire life moving around the same neighborhood,’ I say. Pinellas Park is low-income – we call this section an oasis in the middle of Pinellas Park.’ We follow her up the stairs.The rest is as saccharine as you would expect: good American boys working hard to make their dreams come true – an adventure full of family values and sturdy bootstraps with which one can pull himself up.It begins with the heartwarming story of their first joint business venture, running a pilot school, then segues into a comedy-of-errors trip on a sailboat – a typical masculine coming-of-age experience rooted in good old-fashioned American values like cooperation, perseverance, and leadership.The country was in the last gasps of the Great Depression. He was walking two miles through the snow to his high school each day, in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan: wool collar popped high, galoshes squishing, wind in his face.Occasionally he would take the streetcar or city bus – but allowing time for the city bus meant having to rise long before the sun came up.‘I needed more efficient transportation, and already being an enterprising type, I had an idea,’ he writes. Jay had a 1929 Model A, which Rich had noticed both driving down his street and also parked outside his high school.‘I thought a ride in this car would surely beat the bus, a streetcar, or walking,’ says Rich.There are two large bedrooms separated by a bathroom and a linen closet – the children’s rooms.I step into the one on my left, which is smaller than I expected.And here is Sago Point, and here is Copperleaf.’ ‘What’s the difference? ‘There are four hundred single-family homes in Bayou Club,’ she says. Because of the size of the homes and the maintenance, they’ve attracted a lot of second homeowners and empty nesters. They may be living elsewhere and want to upgrade, and now they can afford to live in the Bayou Club after being in practice a couple of years. They rearranged the golf course because part of Bardmoor was in here, so they restructured it,’ she says, referring to the adjacent gated community.Somebody looking for something more children-friendly might move over to Copperleaf, where the homes are a little bit larger and the lots are a little bit larger. My husband is a physician, and I know you don’t start out in the Bayou Club.’ ‘What was this area before it was the Bayou Club? ‘Bayou Club is divided into two cities: Pinellas Park and Seminole.