slyvermont: (ritaskeeter)
[personal profile] slyvermont
On Wednesday, I covered my second funeral for The Times Argus. Here it is.

I realized as I sat in the pews that covering funerals is not something I learned in journalism school. What is appropriate? Do I wear black? Do I interview people? Do I sit up front, or toward the back?

This particularly troubled me when I went to the reception afterwards. I mean, do I interview people – or just write about the memorial service?

The couple that died – what a sad story. They died last week. Their house caught on fire, they were in the basement, and couldn’t get out. The stairs were burning. There was no outside door.

The guy I had met a few times – we both took a Hebrew class through the synagogue. It turns out that he was a really interesting person. He was the state auditor of accounts in the early 60s, the first Jew to win a statewide office in Vermont. He was also a Democrat who won, which was very rare in Vermont back in those days. He served on a ton of statewide organizations, and was a professor at a local college.

In the end, I did interview people at the reception. I stuck to either people I knew, or people I was introduced to by people I knew. And politicians – I knew that former Vermont Gov. Phil Hoff would talk. (There were 2 governors at the funeral). But I didn’t interview any family members.

The rabbi left a message on my voice mail this morning saying my story was good, and well-received by the family. Whew.

In other article news, here’s another story I wrote recently, a book review and interview with Julia Alvarez. I loved this book, so if you’re looking for a fun read, consider it.

And I am not, repeat, not, looking forward to the nor’easter coming on Sunday and the 10 to 20 inches of snow it will bring.

Date: 2007-12-14 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] knitress.livejournal.com
I think you did the right thing, and it obviously was a comfort to the family. And I've added the Julia Alvarez to my reading list.

I think we're just going to get rain and slosh from this storm. I'll hope you're at the low end and not the high end of the range, because 20 inches just sucks.

Date: 2007-12-15 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosiewook.livejournal.com
It sounds like you handled it well. It's probably best to start with acquaintances and let them navigate you around. And it's a lovely thing for the family to read things like that.

Good luck with the storm!

Date: 2007-12-16 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jedihealer.livejournal.com
Beautifully written Susan. They sound like they were wonderful people.

How tragic to die in that manner.

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