Posted on Oct 9, 2020

McKenzie Mortuary Services

An apprentice learns the trade of embalming and funeral directing much like a “residency” for a physician. The apprenticeship period I feel has become easier than when I served in 1986-1988. One area is the technology of faster communication.

If you can imagine having a pager, when the pager goes off you would drop everything no matter if at home or on a date or driving. You would locate a pay phone, call in, and hope you had something near you that you could write on to jot down the name and address of the deceased's location. Most of us pass at our deepest sleep so being called between 12-5 am is our normal. Once we had a name and location you would haul out the “Thomas guide “ And make your way through the darkness of night. Once near the location the next task is now finding the correct house ( no equipment existed that said “your destination is on the right”). Many homes did not and still do not have the address painted on the home itself but instead we learned to depend on the city’s curb painted address markers (many times covered up by parked cars).

Only once did I knock on the wrong door at 3 am during my apprenticeship and woke a family announcing “I was from the Mortuary”. Oh the glare I got and hearing the words
”Ya got the wrong house kid!”
That night still haunts me.
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