Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Family Death Book

About 5 years ago my Aunt Sherry passed this book down to the next generation: me. I think she gave it to me due to difficulties with her own two kids and difficulties with her niece and nephew, my brother and sister, not to mention I believe out of all of them somehow I ended up the most stable in the family. Aunt Sherry has a gruff personality and says exactly how she feels regardless of how it may effect the people she is talking to. I remember once about 8 years ago my brother and I were helping her move. Aunt Sherry kept nit picking Alex about how to do stuff and where to put it and so on. Anyone that knows Alex knows that he's stubborn and doesn't listen to authority figures very well. It frustrates him. He was carrying this one particular box that was really heavy all by himself, really struggling, and Sherry said "you're gonna give yourself a hernia" with the Aunt Sherry tone and that set Alex off. He yelled something about lifting stuff that heavy all day long at work...he he. Anyway, that's an example of her rubbing someone the wrong way in a situation where most of us might recognize it might have been better to let Alex hurt himself.

Myself on the other hand over the last 15 years or so have somehow shown great patience and sympathy to Aunt Sherry, understanding that we all have issues and that she doesn't receive a lot of love in her life. What do I care? I hardly ever see her. If you give her a minute and can stand the cigarette smoke she's pretty cool to talk to. I think she really appreciates this and she tells Mom as much, which only reinforces my goodwill to her. In fact, the only other person I can think of that likes Aunt Sherry as much as Mom and I is my friend David. One night while partying at the coast he had one too many bottles of wine and tried to sneak in to her room! She was all "wrong room" and David slinked out! LOL! So about 5 years ago Aunt Sherry was going through a rough patch with her health and decided to give me the book. She is fine now but she was right, I have been taking very good care of it and I find it fascinating.
I believe the book's designed intent may be to capture special moments of life and not the dates of death as my Grandma Lee did with it. The are a few lines for imformation and a pouch to store any memorabilia from the events. The death book has many such clippings from newspapers as well as funeral pamphlets. Wow!

These pictures are a tad blurry but if you squint you can see what they say. As you can see from the photo above my Grandma had a niece named Brynn Beth Jamisson who died in a car wreck in 1969 at the age of four. She was born in Claremont California and was buried in Ontario California. Sad!

I remember the story well of Don Temple, my Mom's cousin she was very close to. Him and some friends went to Big Bear to party in a cabin New Year's Eve 1969. They put some wet clothes by a fire place and they caught on fire during the night. Several of the kids made it out but Don wasn't as lucky. Appearantly he was a really nice guy and everyone in the family loved him. His death was also sad because he was really good at baseball. He was playing at a college in LA and had some interest from some pro teams.

I believe that my Grandma outlived her brother

And here's the blank spot that I someday will occupy! I wonder what it will read?

1 comment:

Me said...

Wow!!! I was very curious when I saw the teaser for this. I kept wondering what a death book was. I thought maybe it was going to be some seth like joke where maybe you would photoshop a picture of a monster cocks being shoved in some ladies every orifice.

Obviously I was wrong, but I think that the book is real is so much more fascinating. Who the fuck has a death book? I mean besides you?

I really think American families should start up this type of tradition. I think it would be good for a family to have a keeper of the death book. And it would be an honor to be chosen to be the next carrier of the families death book.

Almost like a families own holy figure. Maybe at family gatherings you would get to eat first or something... who knows what kinds of special privileges beyond keeping the book, the death book keeper could have.