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Old 01-02-2008, 09:51 PM   #1

2003 25' Classic
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My Brother and I could never understand all the commotion whenever Mom was introduced. "Oh my, what a beautiful name. I don’t ever recall anyone with that name." "Is it a family tradition?" To us she was just
"Mom", Onalee was what the other people called her.

Born here in Buffalo and growing up during the Depression, one of the most important things to Onalee was her "best friend" Ellie. I can’t speak for
the rest of you, but the concept of a "best friendship" that has lasted over
eighty two years is almost beyond belief. There were the usual trials and
tribulations over the years, but the one that was the hardest for them to deal with was the constant family moves during the Depression years. Like so many during that time, as the financial situation worsened, one or the other’s family would be forced to move. The girls would say there tearful good-byes, thinking they would never see one another again, only to have one or the other of the families move into the same neighborhood. This leap-froging around Buffalo continued thru WWII and well into the 40’s. The last move was within two miles of one another here in the suburbs in 1952.
Well, when Ellie passed away in October 2007, Onalee insisted on going to the funeral. She would not be dissuaded, after all Marian was also a good friend, and she was still driving. "Don’t you worry, I’ve been taking care of myself ever since your Father died, we’ll be fine." So off they went on the appointed day, with yours truly following on the QT, a discrete distance behind.
All turned out well, and it was several weeks later that the pre-planning of her own funeral came up. We all agreed that it would be a real good idea, so the necessary appointments were made, and when the time came we were all off like a dirty shirt. Having no previous experience with anything like this we really didn’t know what to expect.
None of us like to be pre- judged, and we certainly would like to think that we have an open mind and would never stereotype anyone else, but a Funeral Director, this was really uncharted grounds for all of us! Stereotype?, maybe, but John was just what you might expect, very professional, polite, understanding and just a little too "formal".
"Hello John, my name is Bob, this is my wife Sandra, and my mother Onalee Crosse.
"Onalee, what a beautiful name, very unusual, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with that name." We continued on thoroughly discussing all aspects of the planning.
"Yes Mrs. Crosse, we can have the entire service here at this facility."
"No Mrs. Crosse, we are not allowed to serve refreshments in lieu of a Funeral Lunch."
"Yes Mrs. Crosse, we will faithfully follow all your requests made here today."
Well you get the idea, very proper indeed. Now it’s time to select the casket. Not an easy thing to do under the best of circumstances. But Onalee’s eyesight has been failing over the last few years, and explaining to her exactly what we were looking at was one of the areas I was worried about. She had long ago decided that a plain wooden casket was what she wanted.
So as she ran her hands over each offering, we tried our best to describe each one. She had picked the one that she liked, it had a very smooth finish, and she described the exterior color as, "just perfect."
"Yes Mom, the lining is the right color, it will go very well with what you have chosen to ware." "No it’s not too fancy, believe us, it is just perfect for
John, "Yes Mrs. Crosse, I think this one is a very good choice."
Mom, being thoroughly "old school" wanted to make sure.
"Can you open it up completely so I can check it all out?"
"Why yes certainly, Mrs. Crosse."
Mom "inspected" the inside of the casket, running her hands over everything, I could tell she was up to something. I just didn’t know what. Finally she looked up at John and said, "You know young man, I’m 93 years old, and I need to be comfortable when I’m laying down." Now to say that John was at a loss for the proper answer would be an understatement. He looked at me and I just shook my head and smiled, while my wife was rolling her eyes and looking toward the ceiling. John finally smiled himself and said…."Well Onalee I just know you’ll be extremely comfortable for a very long time." ….The ice was broken.

It was Onalee from then on.

She and Ellie are now re-united, John the Funeral Director got the oportunity
Meet a very SPECIAL person, and Sandra and I have many, many wonderful memories.

Not to mention….a new cat.

Onalee Crosse 1/30/1914--12/24/2007
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“We were young and knew we're old and everyone else knows everything.”

"It is more wiser to ponder all things with diligent suspicion, than follow with blind assumption."

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Old 01-02-2008, 10:07 PM   #2
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hi rc!

great story, thanks for sharing.


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Old 01-02-2008, 10:08 PM   #3
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Sounds like Onalee knew what she wanted. May she rest in peace. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Old 01-02-2008, 10:46 PM   #4
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great tribute

What a great way to give tribute to a wonderful lady! My condolences. I just lost my own dad on Dec. 10th too. He realized that he could not use his little Argosy anymore after his last hemorrhagic stroke, so he gave it to me. He loved that little Argosy. It was just his style.......he had been in WWII as a navigator on a B24 and I think that the shape was what really appealed to him! He had to have it! So we have had a somewhat somber holiday season, but I am looking at his passing as his last "flight/mission" on this earth and now he has flown off to a better place.
Thanks for sharing that story!
Lou (and Larry)
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Old 01-02-2008, 10:54 PM   #5
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Robert, what a great tribute to a very special lady. I'm truly sorry for your loss.
Thanks for sharing her with us,
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:10 AM   #6
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Our condolences in the loss of your Mom. I hope you will have many, many happy remembrances of her.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:21 AM   #7
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Oh Robert, that is priceless! My father took me on the same shopping trip seven years ago this week. Your story touches me deeply. I smile for the good times and am sure you do too. Thanks.

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:48 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing this with us Robert, it brought tears to my eyes. My mother turned 95 12/19/07 and I only get to visit her once a year.

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Old 01-03-2008, 09:03 AM   #9
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Sorry about your loss............
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:13 AM   #10
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Robert, I smiled all the way through reading your thread. It's great to have someone super special like your mom that will put a smile on your face each time you think about her final days.

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Old 01-03-2008, 10:14 AM   #11
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What a wonderful way to share with us a tiny piece of how wonderful a lady your mom is. Having lost both sets of our parents we still feel very much in touch with them through the memories we shared with them.

Mom's are very special and no matter what age they get too, they still are full of love, surprises, and a lot of spirit.

I've always felt that for the most part children are the reflection of their parents, and through them their parents spirit lives on.

It's comforting to know that with this "move" she and Ellie are back together again in the same "neighborhood".

I'm sure Onalee is very proud of her son right now.

Take care,

Barry & Donna
Life is short - so is the door on a '51 Flying Cloud (ouch)
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:59 PM   #12
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Bob, you have our condolences over the loss of your mother. From your post, she seemed like a special person.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:20 PM   #13
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Robert, what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it with us. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother, but she lives on in great memories like these.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:50 PM   #14
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Robert, I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. Thanks for sharing ~ how cool she was! Nearly 94 years old, vibrant, confident, and knew what she wanted. She must have been a really special lady.

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