Charlie GillRecently we received our two new MasterCard credit cards in the mail to replace our two that were to expire 9/09.

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“Cardinal Charlie” Gill: Give them credit for making you work for your card

Published 10:18am Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It said to call an 800 number from your home phone, which I did to activate the new cards, then peel off the sticker and the new cards would be activated.

But wait just a minute!

I was then asked for the last four numbers of my Social Security card, which I did.

Thinking this was all that was needed, no, I should have known better.
I was next asked for my mother’s maiden name.

Me not being too sharp at my 79-year-old age, I said it was Taplin. She told me no, that is not what she had.

After a moment of thinking, I said how about LaPorte?

Bingo! She said you hit it.

My mother’s mother, Cora, who was married to Johnie LaPorte, died two weeks after my mother was born in 1891.

Mother was adopted two weeks after her mother died by Wilbur and Ollie Taplin, who was Cora’s sister.

I still have the adoption papers with the Cass County seal dated 1891. I thought I was finished, but, oh, no, the nice lady now requested the 16 numbers of my credit card I was looking at and when it would expire.

It was a good thing that was the last question the lady required, as I was going to take my wife’s shears and cut up those two cards and send them back to MasterCard.

I don’t know how she knew my mother’s maiden name was LaPorte unless it was when I applied for the card many moons ago. I guess I’m just outdated and much too old to handle these modernistic ways of life in which I now live.
Oh, I just remembered when I first got a credit card.

It was called Town and Country and I think it was from First National Bank in Dowagiac.

I had to pay a yearly fee.

I was reading an article in the Benton Harbor paper about beans that were grown by a Dowagiac organic farmer, Cindy Grewett.

I asked my wife if she remembered when I grew some long string beans on the south side of our house years ago.

I had strings from the roof down to the ground for the vines to climb and, boy, did we have some nice, long green beans.

They were called Kentucky Wonder if I’m not mistaken.

I also asked her if she recalled those big, ugly green tomato worms that used to eat our tomato plants.

I had a surprise a year ago when I went to a yard sale and ran into Tom Belton, a 1947 DHS student I hadn’t seen in 62 years.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City.
E-mail him at

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