Joined March 2018 Message
  • Day8

    He's Back Home

    August 8, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    LONG day but pulled into my driveway at 7:30 PM. Dad complained a bit about the length of the trip so I tightened the seat belt. 😀

    Pretty tired so Sue and I are at one of our favorite restaurants and then I’ll hit the sack early.

    Rosie gave me a very nice welcome. Good to be home after a very memorable trip.

    Thanks again for everyone that followed the effort.

    Cheers and welcome home Dad.
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  • Day7

    Yes Dad, It's Still the GD Law!!

    August 7, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    We were in Italy (1963-1966) when the laws started requiring seatbelts. Retrofit solutions were available. He put them in, reluctantly, but frankly, I really don’t recall ever seeing him wear one; ever.

    I do recall he always had it buckled, behind him, so it “looked” like it was being worn.

    So he hated seatbelts. Oh well, laws have changed and I’m in charge now 😃
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  • Day7

    Great News • It's Done

    August 7, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Yesterday, we thought it would be Friday before Dad’s remains would be ready. That was difficult as I have nothing else to do and it’s just Wednesday.

    I’ve just been been advised that Dad’s remains are ready for pickup (Wednesday 11:30 AM). (Thanks Heath). Located about an hour from Greenfield, I’ll leave right away to get him so I can head home tomorrow. It’s a great thing as I had originally expected to leave tomorrow and the RV park had no room to extend my stay past tonight.

    I also got all the paperwork done and new headstone ordered from the same company that made what’s there now. I think the replacement will work well for family members that have deeper roots to Greenfield. That’s next on the “to do” list.

    So now heading to Milford, Ohio for pickup then back to Chillicothe to pack and prepare for the trip home.

    4:30 PM Update: Got Dad’s remains. I thought there would be a minimal amount but his remains weigh a lot more that Mom’s. I am advised it’s due to bone weight as everything else is water based and is lost in the process.

    And a very nice finding: A ring was discovered after the cremation. It’s his wedding ring (on their 68th wedding anniversary amazingly enough!!!). I actually recall that at the funeral home after the ceremony (I think in Greenfield), Mom was asked if she wanted his ring and she asked that he wear it. I can still recall them putting it on his finger and closing the casket for the last time. Now, it’ll be included with Mom’s in the mausoleum., almost 45 years later

    So, I’m pretty sure Dad is pleased with what Deb and I are doing with his remains. I drove an hour to get him and just before I got to the crematory, I passed a White Castle 😃. Then, after picking him up and heading to the White Castle, I found a boutique liquor store that had a full case of Bourbon I’ve been searching for and isn’t available in Virginia... 🤪

    Yep... he’s pleased. So am I.

    Heading home tomorrow.

    Oh, found a flag case to transport his remains that just seemed appropriate. At least until he’s added in with Mom.

    Thanks to all that have been following this journey. It couldn’t have worked out much better.
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  • Day6

    Another Good Reason Rosie Isn't Here

    August 6, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Every night, about 8:30: these three characters move from the small lake on the park across the street to a larger lake. In the morning, they return close to 12 hours later. Crossing a 55mph road each way, I hear there’s generally always three, but sometimes less. 😭. However, apparently a third Musketeer shows up eventually.

    Rosie would be ballistic.

    And as I am advised, they ALWAYS go between my spot and the next one.
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  • Day6

    Dad's On The Way To The Next Step

    August 6, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Excavation was very respectfully handled. No one knew what would be found after all this time so many options were discussed.

    Greenfields crew actually did the lions share of the work...removing about 18” of topsoil, then 12”-18” around all the sides. These guys were great.

    All-in-all, it couldn’t have been much better.

    The soil was dry if not hard (we worried about ground water). It appeared that if any water ever got to the vault, it didn’t rise very high.

    The vault, once exposed, was an “air vault” consisting of a concrete base and a concrete top. So after the grave was initially dug, a concrete base (leveled, reinforced rectangular ring and four (4) floor panels were laid into ring), the size being about 4” wider than the casket. The opening is then covered for the funeral. After the gravesite gathering, the casket is lowered onto the leveled base. The concrete top (like a box with no bottom) is lowered onto the concrete base, which fits just around the casket. There is no seal between the base and the top as the theory is that it traps air inside the box which helps keep out water. It appears it worked very well.

    So we tried lifting the entire assembly (bottom, top and casket) out as one unit. However, the bottom was deteriorated and began failing putting the casket at risk. We immediately stopped and lowered it all back down to discuss options. Compression attachments were then placed on the vault top and it was easily raised off the base in tact and placed to the side.

    Once exposed, It was clear that the casket was in relatively good shape, rusted with age but given its age, very, very good shape. The handles were rusted off and no longer usable. A wood base was then slid under the casket and muscled out of the grave by the group. (Their muscles). Then onto a truck bed and transferred to an on-site shed for investigation.

    The top was rusted shut so a saw was used to cut the latch. Without me viewing (my choice) the top was opened. I am told the contents were in relatively good shape. Dads uniform was still visible, and the blankets were still in place and not water invaded. Hearing that, I decided to leave him in the casket, as is, and sent him to the crematory that way after a cardboard cover was placed over it.

    At the crematory, they will remove the top and whole thing will go thru the crematory. The steel casket won’t burn so once cremated, they will remove the remains from inside the steel shell and that’s what I’ll bring home, properly tagged and certified.

    The vault and casket will then all be properly disposed.

    The process will take 24-36 hours so I prob can’t pick up the remains until mid-Friday meaning I won’t leave the RV park until Sat morning.

    I’m actually very comfortable knowing the remains I’ll bring home will be my Dad and frankly happy that I didn’t have to see the open casket. I was prepared to (and actually signed legal waivers in order to do so). Hell, I never wanted to see the open casket in the two funerals we went thru in 1975; being more comfortable with the memories of what he looked like BEFORE.

    Glad it’s winding down. Tomorrow, I’ll deal with the headstone people and finish up all the remaining paperwork and costs.
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  • Day6

    43 Years , 8 Months, 1 Day Ago

    August 6, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We held two (2) funerals after Dad died in late November of 1975. The first for his friends in Virginia Beach and then we flew his casket to Ohio for the second. That was in the first week of December. It was pretty difficult for everyone to have to go thru that twice.

    Today won’t be an enjoyable experience but one that needs to be done, from a number of standpoints. Once completed, Grandma Donna will be next to her daughter(s), son-in-law and there will be two other spaces for other relatives that have their roots in Greenfield.

    It’s 8 AM and I’m awaiting the first crew. Greenfield is in charge of maintenance of the grass down to and around the concrete vault. Then a vault company arrives to handle lifting up the vault, which is transported to a private location. After the vault is out, Greenfield’s crew reappears to fill in the plot and make it safe for others.

    While all this is happening, I’ll meet with the headstone people to discuss removal of the old one and installation of the new.

    9:23 AM: Good news. Soil appears to be all dry. We were worried about ground water contaminating the vault making it difficult to get casket and remains out. It appears casket “should” be in dry conditions making remains much easier and much more respectful to cremate.
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  • Day5

    Judge Approves

    August 5, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Heading to Greenfield. Met with funeral home director (Heath Fettro) and delivered the County’s “Order to Disinter Remains” This was the same funeral home that handled the 1975 burial.

    Exhumation process begins early tomorrow morning.

    Paperwork has been a bit voluminous. I signed agreements to:

    Dispose of Casket
    Viewing of Disinterment

    I’m following what I consider to be a hard “chain of custody” so that when I bring Dad home, I know for a fact it’s Dad’s remains. Much of the process would be considered by some to be disturbing (I’ve never really done this before) but I feel strongly about the importance (to me) that his remains are truly “his remains”.

    I have no strong feelings that what I’ll see tomorrow is my Dad anyway, so I’m at peace with the process.

    However, when I return to add him to Mom’s mausoleum, I’ll sleep well knowing they’re remains are truly back together.
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  • Day5

    Hillsboro Probate Court

    August 5, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Got here early so I knew where to go. Pretty small town. Took three (3) requests to find someone who said I was in right place but had to be “escorted” to Court Room. As I’m pretty early, “go have lunch and come back”. Best option is Bob Evans (nearest White Castle is 30 miles away).... 🤔

    Guess “sight-seeing” is in my future for a little while.
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  • Day3

    Eric's Last Night

    August 3, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    After the “Greenfield Dry Run”, we headed into Chillicothe for a nice dinner. Looking for an “off the path-locals” place, we stumbled onto “R Kitchen”, in the old town area.

    Food was incredible, good bourbon selection and wines, and one of the best banana puddings we’ve had.

    Unfortunately, the state fair starts Monday and they close all week for the fair. So while I’m here by myself I’ll have to find another watering hole.

    So I dropped Eric off in Columbus today (8/4) before noon for his flight home.

    Am also finding Weller Select bourbon so I’m collecting as much as I can find. It’s unavailable at home.
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  • Day3

    Greenfield for a Dry Run

    August 3, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Eric and I “toured” Greenfield. It’s been a few years since I was there.

    However, found my way around pretty well. Found many relatives homes:

    Grand Aunts/Uncles
    Great Grandfather/Mother

    Funny how small it all appears.

    I’ll post pictures (mostly for my memories) next week.

    Also stopped by Dad’s burial site. Had forgotten his mom (Grandma Donna) was directly behind him and uses the same headstone. Therefore, we’ll have to get s new headstone for Grandma after Dad’s removal.
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