...the poor horses were also worn out because of the many trips to the cemeteries...
My dad was an undertaker with a funeral chapel on Central Park Avenue near 27th Street on the West side of Chicago. That was the neighborhood where many Western Electric employees lived, so he soon started getting calls to attend to many of the victims. I remember people coming to talk to my dad about picking up someone who had died and arranging for the funeral.
We had horses and carriages at that time. My dad had to make many trips to the large Shenandoah Garage on Jackson or Washington Boulevard near Damen Avenue. Many of the bodies, if not all, were brought to the garage and held there for pickup. We had so many bodies at the funeral chapel that we did not have enough room for them. The driveway was enclosed and it too was just filled with bodies. My dad took down the large roll-a-way doors from the room where the carriages were washed and used them to hold the bodies. He set the doors on the ground with a box under one end so the body would have the head higher.
My dad did all of the embalming and my mother did the make-up and hair dressing. They worked continuously and were just worn out...it was day and night work for several days. I remember that the poor horses were also worn out because of the many trips to the cemeteries. It took many trips to the Shenandoah Garage to pickup the bodies and then all the trips to the cemeteries which were up to fourteen miles away. My dad would return from the cemetery, embalm and prepare another body for burial. It was just too much work for both my dad and my mother, but they did their best.
I remember that Western Electric Company paid most of all the funeral bills for all that were lost.
(Recollection by Jerry Muchna.)
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