About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funeral

The death of a loved one is perhaps the most traumatic event during a lifetime, particularly if it is the death of a parent in a close-knit family.

Solomon Wykoff was living in Rhode Island when his father passed away in Florida. Sol detested flying.  A dutiful son, he drove to Florida in his long silver Mercedes to claim the body that had been prepared for burial in Rhode Island.  He would be his father's guardian.

Sol was an attorney, so he knew what had to be done.  Body transport is governed on the state level, and a few states boast independent licensed body transportation, such as Virginia and Florida.  Sol wasn't going to trust his father's body to a transport company.  He was going to drive his father himself.

Embalming is almost never required, but in Florida, a body must be embalmed or refrigerated if disposition does not occur within twenty-four hours.  Obviously driving from Florida to Rhode Island would take more than twenty-four hours.  Refrigeration or dry ice can usually preserve a body for a short time.

A death certificate with the local registrar must be filed within five days of the death before final disposition. The deceased's doctor or medical examiner must supply the date, time, and cause of death.  Sol received the original certificate and copies within the allotted time and it was filed with the State (Florida now uses electronic as well as paper registrations).  Sol was good to go.

Or was he?  The county chief deputy registrar had to issue a burial-transit permit allowing Sol to move the body for purposes of burial or cremation.  This had to be obtained within five days after death.

And he needed a container to transport his father that would "prevent the seepage of fluids and escape of offensive odors" (Florida law).  Knowing that it would be less expensive to drive his father rather than to have the body flown north, Sol checked with all the states that he needed to cross so that he could learn what each state required to transport the body.  Sol was an attorney - he'd done his homework.

He carefully put his father's body bag in the trunk of his black Mercedes and started north. The first night he stopped just over the border of North Carolina to get a quick six hours of sleep.

In the morning the Mercedes was gone.  The car and the body were recovered in New Jersey, but Sol had to fly home.


This is a true story.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.