A Message Among the Obits
I started reading the obituaries 20 years ago, when I was pregnant, looking for names. The names for people who were born in the early 1900s were much different than the Michaels and Jennifers that were popular in the ’80s. I didn’t use any of the obit names but got lots of ideas. Dorothy was popular for girls — you don’t hear of many Dorothys today. George and Aubrey were popular for boys, and you don’t hear those too often among the Joshuas and Alexes of today.
Fifteen years later, after the death of my father at age 83, I found myself regularly reading the obits, comparing what other men had died of, consoling myself that he had outlived many by 10 or more years. One day my eye caught an obit of a William S. Frank (my father was Frank S. Williams), and it was pointing me to an obit next to it for Alfred Price, our life insurance agent. For several years, I had asked my father what had happened to Al Price, as he called each one of us on our birthday for many years. His calls had stopped several years before, and we wondered whether he had retired or died.
I am quite sure my dad was talking to me through the obits that particular day. Or maybe it was Al Price calling from beyond.
Frank S. Williams, father of Sallie Williams Reese.