Sunday, July 30, 2006

Taking Care of Estelle

In the early 80s, Bea traveled down to Florida to collect her father’s elderly sister, no longer able to live on her own. A hospital bed was set up for her here, while waiting for a room to become available at Cape End Manor. I remember Aunt Estelle had a little bell she would ring. I think Bea had to remove the bell because Estelle kept calling for help when what she really wanted was attention. Estelle was not Bea's favorite aunt, but Bea took care of her anyway.

Here is the letter she wrote after Estelle's passing:

“Dear Nieces and Nephews of Aunt Estelle,

This note is to tell you Aunt Estelle died quietly around 8 pm Oct. 23 at the Cape End Manor. Shortly before, the head nurse had called to say Aunt Estelle had been brought to the Intensive Care Unit and probably would not last the night. I was getting ready to go to her side when they phoned again to say she had died quietly with no pain.

I had already, several years ago, made tentative funeral arrangements so that the Nickerson Funeral Home in Orleans removed the body during the night. I had also made arrangements with the Hoboken Cemetery, grateful to Rose and Gilbert and Bill for having advised us of the existence of the family plot there. I am sure Aunt Estelle would have preferred this as her resting place. So Dorothy and Gilbert and I will try to sell the plot we bought next to Dad in the Lake Wales cemetery. I did not discuss with her the subject of her burial except to assure her recently that arrangements had all been made.

The plot is in Section D. Lot I Easterly, and registered under the name of Raymond and Chinnock. The manager said 11 Chinnocks are buried there and there is still room for one body and one person’s ashes. Aunt Estelle’s ashes will be buried there.

As my father last saw to the plot, I would like to reserve the last place for our branch of the family.

Aunt Estelle’s insurance of $1,110 will almost cover burial costs of $1,130 here and $72 at the Hoboken Cemetery. Balance, if any, will come from her small savings.

I loved her and miss her, but I am reassured she went to her rest, as she desired to do, and that I was here to arrange matters as I have done three and a half years since I went and brought her here from Florida.”

The letter is dated October 25, 1985. The photocopy was incorrectly placed on the Xerox machine, so Bea’s closing and signature are no longer visible.

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