I’m back home after spending the last few days writing an obit for my father, searching through dozens of albums for photos for the memorial slide show, looking for phone numbers of people my mother needs to notify, visiting the mortuary . . . Well, the photos were fun. There’s a photo of my father in his Army uniform looking a lot like Cary Grant, a picture of him taking a hula lesson on the honeymoon. Of course, like a typical Dad, he usually was the one taking the photos so we had to hunt for travel and family pictures with him in the frame.
We’ve already been turned down for an LA Times obit. He wasn’t enough of a “newsmaker” according to the form letter. He built an Omaha ad agency into a big national agency — but it was bought out after he retired and is now part of a giant conglomerate. He was involved in the Jewish humanist movement, the Philharmonic Society, United Way and UC Irvine’s Humanities Program. He even served on a board with an LA Times honcho — but she’s retired.
Well, newspapers don’t run many free obits these days. And they make a fortune from paid obits.
We’re doing the memorial service in two weeks so we can get the word out and old friends can come. It was weird looking for a site for the service. A few months ago, I was running around with John looking for a site for the wedding reception. This time, we don’t need a dance floor.
We’re going ahead with our plans for a small ceremony at my parents’ house on July 29. A number of people have said in the comments that my father will be there in spirit. I think that’s true. Actually, he’ll be with me in spirit always and everywhere.
My mother had a lot of strawberries in the house. Maybe someone sent them. I can’t see a bowl of strawberries without hearing my father say, “Comes the revolution we’ll all eat strawberries and cream!” Then, he’d make sure to tell us that the Russian revolution hadn’t raised living standards; it had taken strawberries and cream from the rich without benefitting the poor.
If we complained, he’d say, “You’re a regular Christian martyr!” It cut down on complaining.
If we offered a half-hearted apology, he’d say, “Bruno Hauptman was sorry!” My mother would say, “No, he wasn’t. He never confessed (to kidnapping and murdering the Lindbergh baby), so how could he be sorry?” Then my father would say, in a louder voice, “Bruno Hauptman was sorry!” My mother would say, “No, he wasn’t!” And my father would say, still louder, “BRUNO HAUPTMAN WAS SORRY!” I guess it was good preparation for the blogosphere.
Anyhow, thank you to all of you who sent your condolences. It does help. I’ll get back to blogging tomorrow.