On Dying

imageI admit I thought about dying when I was laying in the hospital bed at Penn last September.  But that’s fairly normal, we’re all working our way to death.  My grandfather and father lived passed 90 so I thought I had a shot at another 20 years.  I think I still have that expectation.  But on my retirement “to do” list was to rewrite the will, and make the final plans.

Several days ago, Diane and I drove to Solebury Friends Meeting cemetery on Sugan Road.  For years we’d driven past Carversville Christian Church a few miles away and commented that it  looked like a peaceful place to be buried.  The church has an annual oyster dinner that has caught our attention but we always miss going.  Several months ago we stopped at Solebury Friends cemetery — our friend Rodney Hamilton was buried there in the 1980s.  I have quiet memories of his burial, and  I thought how lucky he was to find such a perfect place. Diane and I commented,  “Maybe we should buy a plot here.”

I thought that we would use Wade’s funeral home in Bristol.  So I contacted Mark, making sure they could drive to Solebury.  John, the cemetery contact sent me some information.  A standard plot was $1,000; $500 for meeting members; $350 for cremation.  I plan on cremation; Diane maybe not.  What we learned today was that one plot would be good for one standard casket burial and up to 4 cremations.

John showed us some open lots.  We chose one. Not too complicated.  Just mail in the check.  As we left we noticed Jim Farley and his wife were in the row behind us.  Rodney is in an older section of the original cemetery.  A small glitch is that the traditional burial must happen before  cremated ashes can be buried.  If I go first, cremated, someone needs to hold the ashes for burial after Diane is gone.  Maybe several tablespoons could be sprinkled in the Delaware River.

Assuming that our funerals are at Wade’s  in Bristol, on our way to Solebury, we will pass through Yardley, no reason not to tip hats at 121 N Delaware Ave. A footnote: Wade’s (Murphy’s when I was young) is the Irish funeral home.  Galzerano’s several blocks away is the Italian home.  My immediate family went to Wade’s since Catholic tradition dictated following the mother’s church (Irish mother, St. Mark’s parish, Murphy (Wade) funeral home). Maybe even bagpipes.

If the funeral procession uses GPS, it will turn off River Road  onto Sugan  Road just past Bowman’s Hill. It will pass the Nakashima compound, then the old mill where Jim Hamilton and his wife raised his family (Lambertville’s Hamilton’s Grill).  Around the corner on Old York Road is where we lived with John and Barbara Paglione for 4 years.  The funeral cars can slow down again; another place to tip hats.  It’s only 15 minutes up Sugan Road to the cemetery.


This week after  the cemetery visit, we drove a few minutes to lunch at the Carversville Inn.  We hadn’t been there in years but have great memories.  In the 1970s, from our perspective,  Carversville was the perfect Bucks County village — historic houses, an Inn and several other commercial properties. Today across the street from the Inn is an upscale Gereral Store (Hansen’s). A block way, during  the 1970s, a hip mother and her daughter brought NY musicians to their old mill for small concerts.  The venu was their living quarters on the second floor, wine and cheese before the music, homemade desserts and coffee after.  Very exclusive.  If you missed one performance,  your name was removed from the mailing list.

In the 1970s, with Paglione’s we looked for at a house to buy in Carversville.   I even brought my cousin Bill Mignoni to see the property.  Bill asked, “Why would anyone want to live out here?”  But it was beyond our pockets, no sale.  Months later Carversville became a national historic site.  Property values spiked.

Although we only lived in New Hope-Solebury for a few years, we feel we have some roots in the area. And now we can afford a small place.



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