When he was a kid living on Waugh Street in the Acre, a neighbor passed away. This must have been about 1925 when he was 7 or 8. His mother took him by the hand to attend the deceased woman's wake. He remembered seeing a wreath hanging on the door with a black crepe ribbon to announce to passers-by that the family was in mourning. He had never been to a wake before and had no idea what to expect. They walked into what would be called today the family room. The deceased was laid out in a casket, of course provided by O'Donnell's. The house was mobbed with family and friends. He remembered the gnarled hands of the deceased neighbor with the rosary beads intertwined. Candles burned at both ends of the coffin. His mother and he took a seat. There was no hope of escaping. The table before him had glasses stuffed with cigarettes and a bowl with clay pipes and tobacco. These were meant as tokens of remembrance from the family. The room where the deceased was laid out was quiet and reverent with mostly women whispering and nodding and holding lace handkerchiefs in their hands.
Back at the wake, the mourners carried on until the priest arrived and then all the women got on their
knees for the rosary. The sound from the kitchen of the glasses being filled and refilled mixed in with the Hail Marys. This same routine would be carried on for 2 more nights. His mother walked him back home only to turn around and return to the wake. It was her job to "keep watch" the whole night with a few of the other women. They would spend the entire night with the deceased telling stories of her life and struggles and then begin the rosary again. "...... now and at the hour of our death. Amen"