We must be getting "old" with
all the postings related to Jule's "Funeral Homes" (Funeral
Homes by Newark Talk Collective). As Jule indicated initially people
were laid out at home.
How many remember when a person was viewed (laid out) at home?
A wreath of flowers was placed on the front door of the house? The
wake lasted three days. Food and much alcohol were present to anoint
the living. I assume the three days were related to the time frame
of the Crucifixion to the Ascension of our Lord. Today it is usually
only one day.
As I have mentioned many times in the past the groups with the
most humor are the Irish, Jews and Blacks. I guess this humor was
a defense against prejudice and ridicule.
The Irish wakes (of old people) that I was exposed to were something
else. There was no crying and wailing. But there was a lot of drinking.
I remember once that somebody said that poor Pat (the corpse) looked
cold. A couple of guys lifted him up and put a coat on him. Someone
always sat by the casket for 24/3 out of respect. Some people if
they came a distance would also sleep at the house of the wake.
I remember this family story of a wake. Many people came to a
relative's wake in Newark from Pennsylvania. As usual there was
a lot drinking. Sleeping accommodations were made for the travelers
with the limited facilities available. People slept where ever they
could find a spot. A glass of water was given to most to soak their
dentures. During the night someone's Irish humor kicked in. That
person switched everyone's glass that contained a denture. In the
morning the gagging, spitting, choking and yelling of the guests
God bless Irish humor even at wakes.