Listeners can now subscribe to the remastered version of my free audiobook Nobody's Property: Living on the Remains of a Life in California on Podiobooks.com. I am working on scanning pictures and other ephemera from Jenny/Rose's trunk and on providing a free PDF of each chapter. Find the pictures and chapters on my living on the remains page.
A few years ago, my father told me the story of how my Aunt Jenny's remains were shipped back to be put into different ground. Dad called me from Oklahoma to describe how my grandmother Edith stood by while workers dug up the urn from under the small brass marker that barely wrinkled the surface of the grass in Oak Park Cemetery. They opened the urn; Edith looked inside. I could see her standing there, in a tasteful suit and stockings and pumps, her light hair neatly and stiffly styled, bowing her head to see. “There were actually quite large bone fragments mixed with the ashes," Dad said. The urn was too heavy for Edith to take on the plane from California to Oklahoma. So she shipped it U.P.S. Ground.
Three o’clock in the afternoon, and Shirley, of Shawnee Memorials, just across Harrison Avenue from Fairview Cemetery, was not taking any shit off my dad.
We had come here at my urging; Dad had mentioned that he still needed to order a stone to mark the plot where Jenny’s and Edith’s remains were buried together. I could see that if I didn’t push a little, it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. And the grass in the Rose family plot, though a bit dry and thatched in patches, covered their grave so smoothly that no one would ever know they were there.