Monday, June 26, 2017


So on April 30th I ordered online two rocker/recliners from JCPenney to complete the new look of our living room. I was made aware that it would take 6-8 weeks for the products to be shipped. On June 7th, I received an email stating that the chairs were shipped via XPO Logistics and the arrival date was estimated to be June 17th. It is now the 25th and after numerous phone calls, numerous promises, and numerous failures to fulfill said promises, I'm without my purchases AND without the money JCPenney quickly secured from my bank holdings.

Needless to say, I'm livid!!!!!!!!!!!! Everybody I talked to said I'd hear back from XPO in 24 - 48hrs. with the exact time they'd be appearing in my driveway with my long-awaited chairs. Nothing, no calls, nada, nil!

Yesterday I call the JCP furniture shipping department once again and spoke to a chap named Mel. He reviewed the entire case, put me on hold in order to contact XPO, and informed me that because of it being the weekend, staff was scarce and he'd be able to get to the bottom of this dilemma on Monday. Mel promised to get in touch with me today with good news. Somehow I didn't quite believe him so I decided to give JCP Customer Service another try. Alovely woman named Susan answered, and when I wanted their complaint department she offered to listen to my story of woe.

Susan affirmed everything I told her since she'd pulled up my account where everything that had transpires was noted. After apologizing profusely for the inefficiency of all involved, this customer-friendly associate gave me the spill. She told me that this has been happening more since JCP contracted with XPO who somehow often misplace or lose items . How in God's holy name can two rocker/recliners be misplaced or lost?

She advised me to ask to speak to a supervisor in the furniture shipping dept., but when I told her I had, and Mel said he wasn't permitted to give out the names of management, Susan was aghast! Furthermore upon studying my account again, Susan said that it appeared that Mel had closed my case which meant it had been resolved. At this point I was ENRAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before terminating our call, Susan gave me the coveted number for Corporate Customer Service, advised me to wait until Tuesday since Mondays are extremely hectic, and encouraged me to ask for some type of reimbursement due to the lack of incompetency I've been forced to deal with.  I intend to totally follow her advice.

If you're planning to buy furniture from JCP in the near future, I strongly suggest: CUSTOMER BEWARE! at least until Susan in head of their furniture shipping department!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Treasured Legacy Worth More Than Silver And Gold!

The main purpose for writing my, 'When We Were Kids' series, was to paint a realistic picture of what life was like in the Fifties. More than anything, I wanted my children and grandchildren to know who I was as a child, my personality, my quirks, my joys, and my sorrows. Although these four books are works of fiction, they truthfully portray my life and the lives of my immediate family. Most of the events happened, and most of the folks included in these stories are real, live people although many of them have since passed away.

As each book was published, I gifted my seven grandchildren with a copy despite the fact that two of them were just babies at the time. I figured they'd grow into them over the years. On Saturday morning, my seven year old grandson, Beckham, called me in a dither. He explained that he had just finished reading, 'Playing Hooky,' the first book in the series, and had a lot of questions. Beckham wanted to know: Who 'Danny' was? (my brother) Did the nun really say, 'that there are poor children in China with nothing to eat'? (yes, many, many times) Did the bullies at the creek split open Danny's head? (yes, he had the scar to prove it), Did my Baba stick me in a pan when I was born? (yes, and I wouldn't part with it for the world) and so on and so on and so on!

Eureka! I had achieved my goal if only for this one Saturday morning conversation. However what followed warmed my heart to the core. Beckham's ten year old brother, Liam, joined in and began asking questions as well. Somehow we got on the topic of what things cost back then. The boys wanted to know if an ice cream cone was really only ten cents. I told them about the 'White Palace' Ice Cream Shop and how often we stopped there for cones, sundaes, and their famous 'vanilla cokes'! They couldn't believe that all of those treats sold for less than a quarter.

Now I was on speaker phone, and the questions kept coming. How much was a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas, a car, a house??????????  I tried to be accurate in my answers to the best of my ability. They were totally amazed!

When Beckham asked if the bakery that I mentioned in the book was still there, I replied that it was and that I'd taken his older cousins, Brady and Brenna, on a tour of my childhood home town last spring. Both boys wanted to know why I hadn't taken them, but since they weren't in PA at the time I promised we'd go upon their next visit.  When I said I treated B&B to one of my favorite pastries from the Blue Bonnet Bakery on  Eighth Avenue, they about jumped through the phone!

We continued to talk about the house I was born in, the 82 steps my great-grandmother had to climb every Monday morning after grocery shopping, where my mom and dad lived, and much, much more. Our conversation lasted a good twenty minutes, yet for me, it covered a lifetime of memories.

I know Beckham and Liam and the other five grandchildren will treasure the legacy I've written down for them forever. I also believe they will pass these books on to their own children, and hopefully they will do likewise.

Just a suggestion, but if you think your children and grandchildren would love to know you as you were as a child, write it down and hand them a treasured legacy worth more to them than silver and gold!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Thoughts On Retirement

After yesterday's eleven o'clock Mass, everybody was invited to the social hall to celebrate Father Len's retirement. He's been our pastor for eight and a half years, and having reached the age of 70 a few days prior, was eligible to hang it up, so to speak.  What a great party! Delicious appetizers, scrumptious cookies, and a delightful cake along with plenty of friendly conversation highlighted the affair.Many parishioners shared their personal stories of how Father Len had had a positive effect on their lives in one way or another during his time at St. Elizabeth Seton.  A memory table was set up in the back of the hall with photos depicting the good pastor's life from birth to present day. Countless comments about what a sweet baby he was, how cute a youngster, and how long he wore his hair as a teen swirled around from an adoring fan base. Father made himself available so that we could say our good-byes and wish him a well-deserved and peaceful retirement.

Since the party, I've been wondering about what people think of leaving the work force in general, and about my own retirement in 2000. When to retire is a huge decision, and one that needs to be carefully planned out before taking that leap into the unknown. Of course, one's financial situation should be of paramount concern. Without having saved enough money to provide the life style you're accustomed to, can have devastating consequences. When passing through the check-out line at Wal-Mart lately, I've noticed a number of seniors standing on their feet for hours in order to make ends meet. Social Security and pensions don't seem to cover a person's bills these days, let alone provide any extra cash for a few simple amenities. When casually talking to them, many of these folks lament the fact that they may never be able to quit working. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Besides the money aspect but just as important is the mental and emotional factors involved. Most people considering retirement have no idea what it is they will do afterwards. Without a plan, a good many find themselves floating on the sea of confusion and disillusionment. They don't have anything to fall back on, no second careers, no hobbies, no interests. They lose contact with their former coworkers and find themselves alone and lonely. Depression can quickly set in, robbing them of the energy to find any joy in what was promised to be their 'golden years'! How sad!

I retired the first of June, 2000, and although our finances were in order,  I must say it was a shock to my system! I've always been an early riser, so after reading the paper and drinking my coffee, I was faced with many hours of trying to come up with something meaningful to fill my day. I'd clean, cook, shop, and read. The problem was that I'd done all of those things before AND managed to work a 10-12 hour day! I enrolled into a real estate course, took exercise classes, and scoured the internet searching for an outlet that would fulfill my needs and spark my mind. For almost three years feeling lost and without true purpose, I became depressed.

Fortunately after one of my aerobics sessions, I bumped into an old friend and as we talked, she invited me to a musical performance she and her group, 'The Harmony Singers' were putting on in a few weeks. That one chance encounter became the pivotal point that changed everything for me regarding retirement. Not only was the group phenomenal, but many of the participants were around my age. Once again being in contact with folks that shared experiences much like my own provided me a social circle I desperately needed. As an extra bonus, the singing, dancing, and acting lifted my spirits and within the next year, I became a certified member.

From then on a positive momentum was born. I became a first-time grammy, adopted a sweet puppy that remains attached to my hip at all times, started a second career as a children's book author, and began volunteering in church and community events. My outlook on life is now one of anticipation and excitement. Although I didn't relish the first years of retirement, perhaps they were indeed necessary in order for me to move forward. I won't lie, I would have rather avoided them altogether, but if that is what it took to get me to the joys of today, then that dark period was certainly worth it.

Oftentimes when I find there aren't enough hours in a day to do everything I had planned, I wonder how I ever managed to hold down a job, too. Funny how things change dramatically and yet somehow still stay the same.

Good luck to Father Len and all the new retirees! My hope is that this new phase in your lives will bring joy and challenge every single day. However, if you have a plan unlike myself, you're probably way ahead of the game! I wish you peace, joy, and love!