Off the Wall, April 27, 2017

I realize we all have expectations in life. Most of the time we assume things will go as planned, but don’t count on it. I should have put that in capital letters, because there are going to be moments that one might say to him or herself, “Why didn’t anybody tell me,” or simply, “What the hay,” to put it politely.

What I’m leading up to is the disappointment fact concerning the loss of an acquaintance by a friend and myself. Now, I don’t have to state that people die every day, but the news gets around fast normally. In my opinion, the actions of people who were close or associates who lived nearby Charles Bizich should have told my best friend, in particular.

Stan Gordon, “Charlie” as we all called him, and I were all fishing buddies. Even though we could see our good friend going down hill, Stan was fantabulous with him. He took care of all his transportation, doctor trips and other necessities.

I had known Charlie ever since we met at Lefty’s, a little restaurant that used to exist where Camrates Auto Services is now. A matter of fact, I contracted him to put in the fence that surrounds my property, presently. That was a long time ago.

Actually, it was touch how Stan took care of Charlie. He was always ‘Johnny on the spot’ being gentle, but encouraging wherever we went. At different times I, too, would telephone him relating that he to keep pressing forward, because of nothing else, there was a bound there.

One day while at work, Stan was informed by a customer, Charlie had died. That in itself was a shock, but the thing that ‘iced the cake,’ we weren’t informed until after some two weeks.

If one thinks I was floored, Stan was numb. “Even after I got home from work I was dazed.” And why shouldn’t he be? There were a lot of people who knew Stan took care of Charlie faithfully, and yet, no one told him immediately after his death. How thoughtless…

I remember sometime back when I had a customer come into my store. His favorite product was Gummie Worms. At first he bought them from me. Then he tried to talk me into discounting the price.

After a period of time, six months to be exact, someone came into the store and said, “Hey, did you know Billy died? That wasn’t his name, but it suffices for the point I’m trying to make.

I’m sure Charlie told others about Stan. To me, that goes without saying. As far as I see it, I don’t think he told them anything about me. As for Billy, I wouldn’t have expected the same to occur.

Here’s the question that often bugged me. If I don’t see an obituary in the newspaper that a certain individual succumbed what happened to him or her? Where did either go?

I decided to call Westmoreland County Courthouse and talk to the coroner’s office. A representative told me that if the family doesn’t make arrangements to transfer the body, the county would take the deceased to the morgue and spend a lengthy time trying to locate relatives. If still no one is found who has blood ties to the individual, then the person will be cremated. I heard Billy was incinerated.

I believe obituaries are a wonderful way to communicate with the public. When one gets to be my age, in particular, monthly I read about the deceased who I met along my travels and have since departed.

It’s true, the family has to pay a stipend to advertise in a newspaper(s) in order to let others know that a person has ‘moved on,’ but again, in my opinion, it’s money well spent.

If Charlie, would have been one of the few ‘featured’ on the obituary page days after his death, we may have been disheartened and sad, to say the least, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, the reading of his death would have been a little more comforting, if that’s the right word to use.

Even the mention of a memorial service in the future is a lot easier to take, because the obituary notice relates the fact that the death just occurred, and a celebration of his life will be in the near future.

Here’s the bottom line. Most relatives know of a close friend. If someone in the family dies, please contact him. Don’t be thoughtless.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-1951.