Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Checking Out a Book About Checking Out



For years I've been fascinated by the obituaries and the death notices and they are part of my daily reading (they and "For Better Or Worse" are the first things I find in The Philadelphia Inquirer in the mornings). Sometimes, she shamefully admits, those things are the extent of my newspaper reading for the day. When traveling, I always check the obits to see what interesting folks are signing off in those areas.
. . . .
This interest is something I used to be cautious about mentioning to others, but over time that caution doesn't seem so important. Turns out I'm not alone. Katherine, a wonderful woman from church, was an avid obituary reader for many years before her own was published. She and I would sometimes phone each other in the mornings to draw attention to ones of particular interest. Seems there are quite a few of us. My cousin Doris who winters in Florida finds absolute gems which she clips and sends to me to brighten my February. Janet, one of my colleagues, likes not only obits and death notices, but has quite a knowledge of Victorian burial customs and organizes tours of Philadelphia's famous Laurel Hill Cemetery.
. . . .
A few weeks ago while driving to work, I heard Marilyn Johnson being interviewed on the public radio station. I was so interested in what she had to say that I sat in my car after arriving at school, listening until she finished. Me, who is nearly phobic about being late to work. As soon as I got into school, I tracked down Janet and told her what I'd heard and within minutes was at Amazon ordering a pair of books for us. I started reading The Dead Beat a few nights ago and realized quickly that it is so good, so rich, that it must be parceled out one chapter at a time. I highly recommend it. And now it's time to log off and go read Chapter Five.

2 comments:

Ms. Jan said...

I've been a dedicated obit reader for years, so I'll be looking for this one!

Anonymous said...

Me, too! Although I am always sad to see one of the kiddos with cancer that I took care of in a previous life has died. Most nurses I know have a morbid fascination with obituaries.

Kathy B