My beloved Aunt Esther married John Summers in 1951. He died of a heart attack on April 15, 1984. His funeral was 34 years ago today.
His pallbearers were all people I remember from my childhood. The faces are cloudy now, and all of these men are also long gone, but their names and their influence were part of my first 18 years or so.
Amongst the things I inherited from Aunt Esther was a box with the guest book from Uncle John’s funeral, and copies of the obituary and funeral home card, and all of the notecards from the many sprays of flowers that bedecked the church that day.
As I look through these cards, I see that Aunt Esther was as meticulous with these as she was in all areas of her life. She wrote on the back of each card the kind of flowers in the spray, and in a vase also the shape and color of the vase. She made note of having sent a thank-you note, and on many cards wrote in pencil the address to which her own thanks should be posted. Notice on this card her own notation of “sent” and that she indicates that she wrote one thank-you note to all of the names on the card. She also crossed out Moberly and wrote in the town and ZIP code. And the word “all” indicates that she sent one thank-you note for the whole group.
Also in this minor trove of family memories was an acrostic my own father wrote a few days later. As we cleaned out his office four months ago, we found dozens if not hundreds of these acrostics, written for family, for funerals, for weddings, for sermons, for published columns. I found notepads on which he worked out the details and crossed out word choices and crafted these little ditties.