Livin’ ‘Till the End

George Burns in his book How to Live to Be 100 – or More (1983) has a section titled “Stay Away from Funerals, Especially Yours.” He remarked that if you look in the obituary column in the morning and your name isn’t there, “go ahead and have breakfast.” He said that if he ever looks in the obituary column […]

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“Were My Obituaries Good?”

During the Cyprus coup of 1974, it was reported that Archbishop Makarios III (1913 – 1977) died. However, the news was proven to be false when the said Archbishop reappeared sometime later. When asked about his reaction on the news of his apparent death, he said, “You should have known it was not easy for […]

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Quotable #83: Life and Death

“The first breath is the beginning of death.” — Anon. “There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” — George Santayana “It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.” — Samuel Johnson, quoted […]

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Last Words

In 1934, Walter Dittman of Illinois was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by electric chair. Before his execution, he wrote this poem which he titled “The Chair of Death”. It also served as his last words: I see it grimly waiting patiently for me, To send me as its victim into eternity. Not […]

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Benjamin Franklin’s Epitaph and Its Potential Inspiration

Benjamin Franklin The following is the epitaph of Benjamin Franklin. It was written by himself several years before his death on April 17, 1790: THE BODY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PRINTER, (LIKE THE COVER OF AN OLD BOOK, ITS CONTENTS TORN OUT, AND STRIPT OF ITS LETTERING AND GILDING,) LIES HERE, FOOD FOR WORMS; YET THE […]

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A Dismal Epitaph

While browsing findagrave.com earlier, I came across one of the gloomiest epitaphs I have ever seen. The headstone belongs to Henry Beck (1842-1899). Beck was born in Germany and died in the United States. He was buried in Mayville Cemetery (originally called the IOOF Cemetery) located in Mayville, Oregon. Here is the epitaph: Poorly born,Poorly lived;Poorly […]

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Gleanings From The Past #66

We Regret the Error An Irish editor, apologizing for a rather serious blunder in his paper, said: “I never saw the manuscript till it was in print.” — The St Louis Republic [St. Louis, Missouri], April 28, 19011  The Will of a Virtuoso I, NICHOLAS GIMCRACK, being in sound health of mind, but in great weakness […]

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A Tombstone Reference

In New Orleans’ Metairie Cemetery, there’s a tombstone with a strange inscription. It wasn’t a witty verse or even an inspirational quote. Instead, it only contained this odd line, “See Louisiana Reports, 1905, Page 39.” The tomb belongs to a lady who was lost at sea, but the Louisiana Supreme Court instructed her will executors […]

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Parting Words

Above is the tombstone of John Laird McCaffery (1940-1995) which is found in Montreal’s Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges. There’s also an epitaph written there composed together by McCaffery’s wife and mistress: Free your body Unfold your powerful wings Climb up the highest mountains Kick your feet up in the air You may now live forever Or return to this […]

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Gleanings From The Past #23

Ingenuity of A Spider The following instance of ingenuity in a spider, which was witnessed by the writer of this article, will not be uninteresting: A web was observed to be tightly stretched across a garden path, about five feet in breadth, the reticulated portion occupying the centre, and one of the principal threads to […]

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