A few weeks ago, I had met with some of my Erdman relatives. While I never knew this while I as residing in the Dayton, Ohio area, they were always living just a few files from me down I675 in a nearby suburb. It was a wonderful lunch. My sister came over with me on the drive to Dayton and we met cousins we never knew before and had a lovely afternoon! How cool can that be?
The conversation at one point turned to funeral cards, and someone had brought a number of cards along. One of these cards was for my grandmother, Anastasia Plenzler. I’ve always found this to be a rather sweet tradition. I’m not sure if this is a particularly Catholic tradition or if it is practiced in other religions, but it seems Poles always made sure there were plenty of these cards available at the visitation or memorial service. I always thought of it as a sweet tradition because not only did these cards provide the name and basic information about the deceased, they also provided as special or poignant prayer for the dead. Some may find this a morbid tradition but to me it is a nice reminder of the deceased. Usually for my family, these were provided by the funeral home although I understand these can be done individually or through other means. I am unsure if this is a tradition begun in the 20th century after it was common to view the deceased in a funeral parlor or if this was a tradition started prior to that–if the family had these cards made even during times that the deceased was “laid out” at home or a the home of a close relative. Their purpose seemed to be to provide a small reminder of the deceased and a prayer.
This discussion led me to remember my mom had her own collection of these cards. Here are a few of these that I’ve scanned:
- Anastasia Plenzler (my grandmother, my mother’s mother)
- Edward B. Mierzejewski (my father)
- David J. Plenzler (my cousin through Florence Plenzler)
- Celia Starzynski (my aunt, my dad’s sister)