28 Feb. 2005
GE Money Bank
P.O. Box 981403
El Paso TX 79998-1403
According to the “Important Notice Regarding JC Penney Credit Card Account GE Money Bank” that I received today I can reject the usurious raise in your interest rates if I notify you in writing before the Effective Date that you posit “As [I] may have previously been notified, on or about February 7, 2005.”
To the best of my knowledge I did not receive such a notification, but it doesn’t matter, because there is no outstanding balance in my "JC Penney account ending in XXXX."
I herewith do, indeed, reject your new terms. I have destroyed my JC Penney credit card.
This is the second such outrageous increase in credit card interest rates that I have rejected in the past couple of weeks. The current period is an extremely stupid time in the history of the U.S.A. for you greedy money people to raise your rates. I hope you go belly up shortly, and to help that event along, I am going to post this letter on my blog.
My memoir, "A Nest of In-Laws," was published on-line today at
It will be included in my forthcoming book titled La Famiglia / The Family: Memoirs late this year or early next, most likely.
Nicely put together, Lew.
I've, of course, heard many of these before, but somehow you make a narrative of it – and it's not just the chronology. I remember quite clearly the resolves never to go to Dresden again.
And look where we wound up.
What a delightful memoir...it brought back a flood of memories for me. My dad's sister Daisy had what we called a "farm" in Tallman New York. We called it a farm because we came from Jersey City, as urban a place you could ever find. She and her husband Sal (they had no children) used it as a weekend retreat from their grocery/butcher business in Jersey City and, predictably, every weekend the family (all the Buttigheris and their spouses and kids) would go up on a Sunday.
My Aunt Daisy, who was the worst hostess ever, would bristle at the fact that we were all coming up and creating a mess. She made it appear as though we were all on the dole. She was, shall we say, in order to be kind, a cheap d.o.b. She was the only one who had bucks in those days (40's), so the thought of providing for a gang of kinfolk sent her into a tailspin.
But it never happened. My father and his brother and other sister all brought more than ample food for everybody. So, in order to discourage us, my devious Aunt Daisy said, “If you want to come up here you have to work.” But that plan didn't work either because all the menfolk did just as she ordered. They picked peaches, mowed the lawn, weeded and weeded some more, and she had a big apple tree, so the women picked up those that had fallen and baked many an apple pie.
Italians are great for putting up a false front...ever smiling but later on complaining and muttering under their breaths. On the way home, in the car my mother (your cousin) and her sisters-in-law would complain about Daisy's cheapness and Daisy would complain the day after to my father about the "bacano," Sicilian for the disruption and intrusion. But amazingly, nobody ever said anything openly and just carried on as though everything was honky-dory. Daisy would greet us at the farm with open arms smiling and laughing as though she were delirious to see us! And we would unload the car with all the prepared food and tell her how happy we were to be there.
Why did we do it? We did it to keep the family as a unit, cohesive despite the cracks and falling mortar in its foundation. My father and uncle would say we went there to let the kids get a breath of fresh air and enjoy running around on the lawn, despite Aunt Daisy's admonitions to "stay off the lawn....” It was a battle of wills.
On reflection, it reminded me of the Bates Motel because there were times when we stayed overnight and the kids were relegated to an upstairs bedroom (with a red lightbulb) and we had to sleep on a mattress on the floor. I had a terrible allergy to dust and would spend the entire night sneezing and not being able to breathe. It was horrible. But there was something very comforting to hear the sonorous sounds of the grownups playing cards downstairs, and ultimately, it lulled me to sleep. Snot and all.
So you see, my dear cousin, everyone has a story to tell about the screwballs and dotties in our families. But let me tell you, there is nothing like the charades performed by an Italian family....
Great response, as always!
If these are what I suspect they are, knowing how you feel about us I don't see any reason to read them. They will die on my computer, alas, unseen.
Ah, that's what I like! A person who jumps to conclusions. Actually, I love your family and always have, with a couple of exceptions. But please, do me a favor and DON'T read my memoir.
Mea culpa-mea culpa! As you knew it would, you prodded me into reading it. Don't know if the rest of your "nest of in-laws" have read this; if so, they are probably not nuts about it, but You’re right. It's funny, and while it pokes fun at us, it is good.
Thanks, Lew! Looks lively, and – like a family. You seem to have Ruths coming and going in your family. Can't help noticing that...
it probably means you'll never be ruthless....
Your review of my book of memoirs A Sheaf of Leaves has been published in The Hollins Critic, Vol. XLVI, No. 1, February, 2009, on pp. 18-20. Congratulations! I just got my subscription copy; if you haven't gotten your contributor's copy yet, you ought to have it soon. Thank you so very much. I am quite Ruthful.
Oh, wow! Very very cool! I am so pleased. I had about given up getting it into somewhere ...so this is fine news! I look forward to a copy when it comes – Cheers!
It's truly a GREAT review, Ruth. I'm going to run off some photo-copies and I'll send you one. It's actually one of the best reviews I've ever gotten.