Service of Loyalty

January 14th, 2016

Categories: Automobiles, Loyalty, Technology

Orchids for blog Jan 2016 002

Loyalty to my belongings has been a lifelong fault: You’d think I grew up during the 1929 Depression. What’s strange is that I’m fascinated by what’s new, love attending trade shows to be among the first to see the latest, adore to shop to enhance my wardrobe and buy gifts and I’m in awe of/admire innovation.

I realize that by taking loyalty to the next level, [jargon I despise], I’m being un-American because I’m not helping the economy. Here are examples:

I kept my first car 16 years even though at the end it broke down more than it ran. I remember a conversation with my father, the king of frugality. I’d called him to explain why I’d be late because the Dodge Dart had stopped running [again], this time on Park Avenue in the 30s. He said, “Maybe it’s time to give it up.” For him to say that was a shock!

The window of a basement laundry room of a co-op we once lived in was filled with orchids discarded by tenants once their flowers had finished blooming. [The plants were rescued from the trash by staff.] In our apartment our orchids bloomed on and off throughout the year. When we moved during a bitter winter in which they were exposed several times to frigid air and wind, the orchids suffered. Landing in a different place, with unfamiliar light and ridiculous amounts of heat, I didn’t hold out much hope for them. We never gave up and over the holidays, [see the photo above] they all burst into bloom!

Outdoor thermometerLast weekend I taped a thermometer’s suction cup to our bedroom window. Its ability to adhere had given out and yet it seemed a waste to toss it. When we wake up at the house, about the first thing we do in any season is to check the outside temperature. This stalwart gadget lived through quite a few winters, even last year’s blizzards and ice. It deserves another chance.

My brilliant IT man resuscitated my ancient Blackberry when it decided to stop showing emails. It does everything I need so why spend money and time to learn a new system when I already own a terrific device?

I worry every time I use our washer/dryer because Mr. Hobson, the crack repair man, is no longer in business. He also sold appliances and couldn’t compete with the big boxes. If the smallest glitch happens, we’ll be forced to toss and replace.

Do you know others like me? Are there antidotes?

Orchids for blog Jan 2016 004 flip sml

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11 Responses to “Service of Loyalty”

  1. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna wrote on Facebook: We’re “drive it ’til it drops” people–and restored the 1967 Pontiac Catalina that David’s parents bought NEW! (Most expensive car we’ll ever own….) Lovely to live with an engineer/fix-it person!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You have the answer: Marry an engineer/fix-it person! Why didn’t I do that? I wish I had talents in that direction and envy those who do. It’s essential with a keep it forever penchant like mine.

  3. David Reich Said:

    I am definitely a hoarder, even when it comes to things like cars. Twice, when our old car died, I insisted on keeping it in the driveway, in case I decided I wanted to try to fix it. (I’ve never done more than add oil to a car, and I’ve even messed that up, which is why one of those two cars ended up sitting in the driveway.)

    Roz says it’s a good thing I don’t like change and getting rid of things, citing that as a reason we’ve stayed married for 45 years.

  4. Lucrezia Said:

    Loyalty requires trust. Since a trustworthy person is the closest relative to the needle in a haystack, it’s wise to develop observation skills along with care when forming friendships and/or alliances.

    Same goes with products, but they are usually not programmed (with the exception of bombs/grenades) to kill! Adjusting ones tactics, it’s usually easy to develop a nose for quality vs. tackiness.

    In a nutshell: “Watch your back.”

  5. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna wrote on Facebook: I’m fairly handy with a screwdriver/wrench/power saw/soldering iron myself…. I don’t like chainsaws, though…paradoxical, since I grew up in a logging town!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m giggling! I also doubt that this is the reason! You are both very special people–great friends to each other and to others, interested in books and films and plays and beach visits and amazing parents/grandparents. According to the old saw, you’re keepers!

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Loyalty to things is easier than loyalty to people. If a car breaks down, a plant dies, a mobile phone fizzles or a thermometer stops working, it is relatively easy to adjust. It’s harder when a person disappoints.

  8. Mervyn Kaufman Said:

    When my daughter, Amy, purchased her first Brooklyn apartment, she dealt with
    Citi Bank and, I guess, developed an excellent rapport with them. She always
    submitted each mortgage payment well ahead of the stated deadline and, I guess, considered herself a premium client.

    Years later, after selling that apartment, she and her spouse found a larger
    Brooklyn space, and Amy insisted that they work through Citi Bank, because
    “they know me and I have an excellent track record with them.” Great.

    What happened was that the people processing her mortgage application
    were off in Kansas City and had absolutely nothing to do with whoever
    had been processing her monthly mortgage payments. They drove Amy (and
    Vic) pretty crazy, verifying this and insisting on obtaining more documentation on that. Yes, the girls completed the process with Citi Bank, but months later switched their account to another bank, feeling no loyalty to an organization that had made both their lives so difficult.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Oh goodness, Merv, I’ve made bad decisions for similar reasons! Loyalty like this can be terribly expensive. I trust the girls didn’t lose money–as I did–just tons of time creating stress and frustration. I’m glad they changed banks.

    We met a successful litigator years ago who had deep pockets and fat bank accounts and a flawless credit rating. He went to the bank that held his mortgage, with whom he had worked for years, to get a $20,000 loan on a $60,000 car. It was his accountant who suggested the loan for tax reasons—he could have paid cash for the whole thing in a trice. He was refused the loan! He was told he had access to too much credit. He eventually got the loan from a then one-horse upstate NY bank. He was blown away by the big city institution!

  10. hb Said:

    Over fifty household moves in my life, I counted them, have dimmed my loyalty to physical possessions. I value them far less today than I once did.

    Perforce, human frailty, environmental change and diminished capacity of all varieties have weakened my fervent loyalty to many of the pleasures of life, however, long gone Villa Pensa will always be my favorite New York restaurant; an aged, top growth Claret of a good year, my favorite wine; Tosca, even if no longer well sung and dismally staged, my favorite opera, and Mark Twain, Mark Twain.

    Death, age and adversity have dimmed my loyalty to friends and family, which time and societal changes have made, as a practical matter, irreplaceable, but the memory of them still glows softly in my head.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Some of my things remind me of those who have died which is why I treasure them. I have plants that belonged to my great aunt and my father. Dad died in 1985. They have no commercial value but I value them and dread when I must give them up. I enjoy looking at pictures and decorative pieces that remind me of family and friends.

    I miss a restaurant called Gascogne. It was for a while our birthday/anniversary meeting place. We’re lucky in NYC to have so many great places at all price ranges so I don’t dwell and am happy to search for others to take its place.

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