Saturday, September 11, 2010
Joe Varsalone died yesterday. He was only 91, but had been in the hospital for the last two weeks. He had leukemia, and had been getting a transfusion every four weeks for the last two years. Murray Smith called with the news, talking pretty fast. Murray is a contemporary of Joe, and Murray keeps telling people that he is going to live to be 100, so I think he might be a little worried. I just tell them Iím probably good for another twenty years. That way, I donít have a fixed date to die, which takes the pressure off.
Anyhow, I used to wait tables at the Country Breakfasts with Joe, and he was an old time Kiwanian who used to do the 50-50 every week until he got too feeble to make it to the meetings. The viewing is today from 4 to 6, and the service is at six. I donít like funerals much, but Iím going to this one for Joeís family.
When I was at Case, I lived in a funeral home one year with two other guys. We had the third floor to ourselves, which was like a big apartment except for the missing kitchen. All we had to do was to be sure one of us was there from 6 PM until 6 AM every day and to answer the phone Ė correctly.
One of the funerals had a rich woman laid out for three days, and there was only one visitor. She had been 94. I learned that from the visitor, who had been her maid. When I asked her why there werenít any other visitors, she said that all of the family and friends were dead. It reminded me of the old Classical Greek ideal Ė to die immediately after you crowning achievement. That always bothered me because I didnít know when I had hit my peak, and I donít mind retirement anyhow.
The bottom line is this; Joe needs to have some mourners to make his family feel like he is missed.