Monday, June 25, 2012

what I learned at a funeral

I attended a funeral this morning, a Catholic funeral. It was for ... let's see how I fit in here ... my brother-in-law's mother-in-law, that's it. I've been to these before, but not without B; she went to the pre-funeral stuff last night, and is at work today, so I went representing both of us.

Mrs. C. was 90, and I learned from the handout at the funeral and the photo display at the reception a lot about her life before and outside the family gatherings at which I'd known her over the last 25 years. One thing I had not known was that she was working at my high school at the time I was attending it. She was the health nurse, her daughter told me. I don't recall ever having to go to the nurse in high school, but I must have met her at some point. I pulled out my old yearbook when I got home, and yep, there her picture is on the staff page. Whaddaya know.

Aside from that, the first time I met her was when B. took me to a Christmas party at Mr. & Mrs. C.'s house on an early date. They presided with placidity over a lot of 5-year-old grandchildren running around. (All now adults, and at the funeral, of course.)

She grew up in the Mission District before WW2. (It must have been a very different place then.) She worked as a secretary for the military during the war, and later for a famous economist. She met her husband at a dance. (I met B. at a dance.) They raised seven children. (The six still living were the pallbearers.) It was a good life, and she knew it, and we celebrated it.

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