Eleanor Pearlson had plenty to celebrate last weekend. After work on Friday, her friends, colleagues put on a 40th anniversary party for her real estate business, Tea Lane Associates on State Road in West Tisbury. 
Adding to the festivity, they also took the opportunity to honor her 86th birthday, which was this past Saturday.
There was birthday cake. There were presents. There was wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Her friends came from across the community and from out of town. They were business associates, former buyers, sellers and builders, and real estate agents from across the Island. All of them were friends. 
The office was decorated with freshly cut flowers, adding color to the already colorful artwork hanging on the wall. Many gathered in the last hours of daylight on the porch.
Ms. Pearlson made sure to greet everyone.
Prior to the party, she sat down with the Vineyard Gazette to reflect on the day. In her trade, she said she was always driven more to connecting people to their goals than pushing real estate.
To run a real estate business and make a difference, she said the focus has to be about working with colleagues, fellow agents, and working well with customers. It is about relationships.
“I have the best loyal team in the world. But it took all these years to develop that kind of maturity,” Ms. Pearlson said. “I have a team of agents I couldn’t have had before. It took me 40 years to get it.”
As for outside of the office, she said: “I have a load of friends. Everyone that has bought from me is still a friend. Isn’t that amazing?”
Ms. Pearlson co-founded Tea Lane Associates with Julia Green Sturges. Ms. Pearlson was quick to point out that if there was to be any celebrating that day, it had to include honoring Mrs. Sturgis, her longtime business partner. 
Mrs. Sturges died August 21, 2003 at her home in Chilmark at the age of 98. Without Mrs. Sturges, there could not have been a Tea Lane Associates. Together the two partners sold and rented properties, building on the skills of each.
While Ms. Pearlson describes herself as tough, she describes Mrs. Sturges differently: “She was the complete opposite. She was a gentle person, never raised her voice. She was always a peaceful person. She was a gentle lady.”
Ms. Pearlson describes herself as rough and bold. But behind the veneer, she said, “I am a baby at heart. I am sentimental.” 
The partners opened their business in what today is known as Cornerway in Chilmark. The business still is there.
The two, who moved to the Vineyard from New York city, entered the real estate business without any previous experience in the field.
At the age of 46, Ms. Pearlson already had done well in the business community, working for nonprofits in the city, which she described as “the charitable world.”
When a few of her friends heard she had gone into real estate, they described her as “a capitalist.” In that circle of friends, that was not a compliment.
Ms. Pearlson said they chose the Vineyard as home because it appealed to their love for the quiet, the peaceful.
“I came up here on several occasions, on long weekends from my job in New York. I loved it here,” she said.
They bought a large parcel of land off Tea Lane. “She [Julia] had the money to put down for the house on Tea Lane,” Ms. Pearlson said. A few years later they sold the property to comedian and actor Dan Aykroyd.
Ms. Pearlson said she loved connecting to the Vineyard.
“It epitomized peace and that is what I thought in my head,” she said. “I felt if I lived here this will make me a more peaceful person. I wouldn’t be so jittery. I felt this is what I need to change my life.”
Looking back over those 40 years, she said the Vineyard didn’t change her ways; it just allowed her to build on new relationships and have a career in a wonderful place.
“I think the Island is still quiet. I don’t think it has lost those qualities, you just have to avoid those pockets,” she said.
But she worries that it is harder for her 10 agents to make a living on the Island. 
“I want them to be okay, I want them to be able to make a living,” she said.
A few hours later, the office filled with more than 100 visitors for the party.
Dorothy Roberts, agent, who has worked at Tea Lane for 20 years posed for pictures with Ms. Pearlson. And there were others.
Howard Pitsch, who briefly had been a third partner in the launching of the business, came up from New York just for the occasion.
Ms. Pearlson’s two nieces, Abby Rabinovitz and Leslie Pearlson, who are both active in running of the office, gave speeches and greetings.
When Ms. Pearlson blew out the candles on the large cake, the full house cheered.