Thursday, April 14, 2011


Note:  This entry marks the first of a two-part series entitled "The only two certainties in this world" - you can probably guess what tomorrow's post will be about!  :D

I couldn't have picked a more perfect day to write this post.  Here in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin it is currently 35 degrees Fahrenheit and sleeting.  On April 14.  What better time to talk about such a morose subject.

But is it, really?  I live in a part of the country where huge families are commonplace.  Because I've lived in this town long enough, I am starting to go to funerals of my friend's relatives (or sadly, my friends themselves).  Most people in this area have a pretty practical view of death; you're not going to catch a lot of wailing and carrying-on at funerals here, unless it was an unspeakable tragedy.  Even though there are 40,000 people here in "Fondy", it is still a very small town where everyone seemingly knows everyone else.  Especially with the older folks, their funeral is a celebration of their life and a way for the living to reconnect with old friends and family members - which, in my opinion, is the way to do it.

Every now and then I receive some death or funeral-related ephemera (see above) in my giant one-pound packs that I get from places like The Paper Flea Market and Manto Fev.  It's always fascinating to me to see how much the cost of funerals has gone up and the way things were handled back then.

One of the most interesting death-related items I own is this postcard, dated November 30, 1924 - when I got it in the package (that came to my old workplace), my friend Jess and I couldn't believe anyone would ever have the chutzpah to write something so cold:  (if you can't read the handwriting, it says, "Sorry to hear of bereavment (sic) But we all will eventually meet our maker.  From Ann.")  YIKES!!!  I'm all for being practical and embracing the inevitable, but how about some compassion, "Ann"?!  Were these words really meant to bring comfort?  Here is a case where I'd LOVE to know the back story of this card!

Some of you may wonder why I would choose to write a post about death.  You may be thinking to yourselves, "Wow, Mel's usually a pretty positive person - why would she bum us out today?"  Well, I'll tell you - part of my job at The Reporter was to measure the obits and call the funeral homes with the prices.  It was my favorite part of the day, because most of the funeral directors and office workers I dealt with were the friendliest, happiest and funniest people with whom I interacted.  How is that possible?  Because they know something we may not:  when you finally come to terms with the fact that we have such a short time here, then you can get down to the business of living that time to the fullest.  And it's 100% true. Like it or not we will eventually all "meet our maker" (or whatever you believe),  so why not enjoy the time we have left?  THAT'S the secret to my good mood every day - I'm alive.  :D

I've only ever done one piece of artwork that's even remotely "death" related, but I like it 'cause it's purdy.  :D

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