Family Skeletons

I unearthed an interesting fact while organizing my important papers.

In my funeral file, I came across the deed to the family plot where my paternal grandparents, my parents, and my baby brother, who died shortly after birth, are buried. My sister and I discovered the yellow, tattered document as we settled our parents’ estate sixteen years ago. She kept a copy, and I took the original. We wanted to retain the option of using the remaining space in the plot until we solidified our plans.

I also found a business card for the general manager of the cemetery. My first cousin had pressed it into my hand at her sister’s funeral in 2014.

“When we were arranging for Marion’s burial, this guy told us he is anxious to talk to someone about the other Bostwick plot. I suggest you call him right away.”

I filed the card and put it out of my mind. We had the deed to the plot. What was there to discuss?

The other day, to cover all my bases, I phoned the number on the card to say I was leaving instructions to bury my ashes alongside my infant brother.

“I’m glad you called. Someone by the name of R.W. Bostwick bought that plot in 1943, and his name is still on the deed. He was buried there in 1946 and his wife later. We also have a headstone for your parents and an infant, but I am not sure who gave permission for them to use that plot. When your father died back in 2000, the funeral home told me his body was coming so we dug a grave. The laws around cemeteries have tightened up. I doubt if I could get away with that now.”

“R. W. Bostwick was my grandfather, Robert William. My mother told me ages ago that they didn’t have a plot when the baby died, so my grandmother sold the four remaining spaces to my father.”

“Oh, that makes sense. But a new deed was never issued in his name. And now the plot has been passed on to you and your sister.”

For a fifty dollar administration fee and the old deed, he will issue a new one in our names. We are getting right on it.

The next time someone urges me to follow up on something, I think I’ll be more inclined to listen.


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