Personal Narrative - My Parents' Funeral

Personal Narrative - My Parents' Funeral

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Narrative- My Parents' Funeral

Celery sticks served as slugger bats; olives substituted for baseballs to be smashed across the kitchen. Cousins Sonny and Guido were pitcher and catcher, and my sister Dorrie was a combination of infield and outfield. I came up to bat for the first time just as Gramps called for us to come into the living room.

A policeman stood in the doorway. Nonnie and Aunt Sandy were crying. All morning we had been told to stop touching the Thanksgiving dinner or we would be punished. Who expected to go to jail because of olives!

Gramps pulled Dorrie and me onto his lap and hugged us close. "Your momma and daddy were going to get Uncle Vince and a truck hit their car. God took them to heaven." He started to cry. I wished he would let us down. His prickly sweater smelled of tobacco, and his mouth was purple from wine.

Dorrie and I went home with Aunt Sandy. My stomach was hurting and making tiger noises, but everybody was crying so I was afraid to say I was hungry.

In the morning we went to a dark room where Mother and Daddy were lying in coffins. It smelled so sweet in that room, and the red-glassed candles burning everywhere made it sticky hot. Mother wore a lacy pink dress. A pink satin blanket covered her feet. Daddy looked so white, as if he wore makeup like Mother. Folded newspapers were hidden inside his trouser legs.

At night we all knelt down on the blue carpet and prayed a long, long time with Father Minnorra from Our Lady of the Angels Church. My knees were sore and I shifted my weight from one leg to the other. Aunt Sandy touched my shoulder and said, "Marie, stop that rocking. Kneel up."

The morning of the funeral was very bright. The curtains were opened in the coffin room. Aunt Sandy held my hand. She wore a black hat with a big black feather. Her eyes had big red circles around them, and her mouth was bright red. She reminded me of the clown in my circus coloring book.

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Aunt Sandy kissed Daddy and lifted me to do the same. I touched his cheek. His skin was stiff. I kissed his forehead. We moved to Mother. Aunt Sandy lifted me again. I kissed Mother, then stood on the kneeler. I moved down and lifted the pink satin cover. Mother's shoes were pink. I moved back toward her head. Touching, touching as I went. Her hair was soft. Her lips were not soft. I pressed her mouth. It was tight. I pushed my fingers into her mouth. I saw and felt cotton. Aunt Sandy pulled me away.

A man in striped pants pulled down the backs of the coffins. Nonnie was crying. Gramps was blowing his nose. Someone took Dorrie and me to a big car. We sat on two little pull-down seats behind the driver.

At the cemetery everyone was crying and praying. Aunt Sandy fainted when the two men with ropes lowered the coffins into the graves. Father Minnorra gave Dorrie and me each a white flower. Mine was turning brown and its petals were falling. I gave the flower to Gramps so I could put my cold hands in my coat pockets.
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