Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey on March 22, 1970 · Page 21
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Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 21

Asbury Park, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 22, 1970
Page 21
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WOMEN'S NEWS Pago 1R-9B LET'S VISIT Puge 3B Section B HARDENING Page 10B TRAVEL Puge 111 Asbury Park Sunday Press ASBURY PARK, N.J., SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 1970 Being an Undertaker's Wife Not Always a Bed of Roses u IF TOElfes OKE I MATE Tjfe THE "UNDETWeER. ; J " By ELAINE JENNINGS Press Staff Writer "I always said I'd never marry an undertaker," said Mrs. Walter Johnson, whose husband operates Johnson Funeral Home, Rte. 38, Wall Township. f Now she's his assistant. "I wouldn't say our lives are much different from those , of non-morticians," she continued. "We may be more tied to our jobs, but we do get to go out." "Friends are very curious at first. When they ask if I'm afraid to live above the funeral home, I tell them you never have to fear the dead. It's the live ones who could walk in your back door that you have to worry about." . She said home life for the family, including a daughter, 13, is only slightly modified. "We can't be throwing parties or being boisterous upstairs when there's a funeral going on downstairs." . MRSL HUGH B. MEEHAN, Spring Lake, "If there's one thing I hate it's the undertaker joke. You know, you get with a group of people and somebody's got to say 'Uh-oh, he's measuring me.' They have a couple of drinks and they say, 'Here comes Digger O'Dell.' It gets tiring." . ; As mother of 10 children, Mrs. Meehan doesn't do much more, than answer the telephone once in a while for her husband. "You get a bizarre reaction when they get the wrong number," she noted. "Our number is something like Jack Sullivan's (the restaurant). "When I answer and say 'Meehan Funeral Home,' they kind of gasp. I tell them 'You'll have more fun there than you will with us.' " She likes the "absolutely no routine" about the business, but not the confinement. "Since you just can't plan when somebody's going to die, you've got to be around all the time and you can't go on vacation." Mrs. Meehan, who has only been to a funeral once in her life that of her father-in-law added "Anyone we know well enough we bury," and she quipped "Anybody that goes anywhere else we're mad at." DOES THE JOB HINDER her? "I'd like to be a little less dignified," she said. ''I'd like to let my hair down." She related Mr. Meehan's decision to become a mortician: "It was my mother's idea. We had been married about two or three years. We were sitting on the front porch one Sunday afternoon and he was reading out loud about some new undertaker buying a new Cadillac. "My mother said, 'Gee, Hughie, you wanted to be a doctor. Why don't you try this? Next day he got on a train and entered embalming school. "He was in law school at the time," she added, "but even in the Navy, all his aptitude tests said be an undertaker." She remarked that the day they were married he arrived ; at the church an hour and a half early, and sat through two funerals before the wedding. AS FOR ATTRIBUTES of the profession, Mrs. Meehan noted, "You see a lot of your husband. He has time to spend with the children. And he has a trade he can pass on to them." One ' wife who didn't want to be quoted said, "It's a very confidential business. You can't say you like it and you can't say you don't like it. It has a lot of in's and out's." Mrs. Wallace Polhemus grew up in the business, and her husband is associated with Anderson and Campbell Funeral Home, Toms River. "When people ask 'How cah you take it?' I tell them you get used to it after a while. The life is much like that of a nurse or doctor. "THE LIFE can be very hectic. Hours can run from 7 in .-n- v m li ft fr ir 1 ri u 1 - . " THERE'S UO ABOUT PftOVJJLKR. the morning to 10 or 11 at night. Meals and plans are often delayed. You learn to go out alone when plans fall through." She added, "Our children (they have six) are very aware of the emotional context of the business. They understand that it sometimes takes their father a while to get back into order again if he's worked with someone he knew or a child." The Polhemus family doesn't live in the funeral home, but Mrs. Polhemus did as a child. "Viewings were held in our living room," she recalled, "even beside the Christmas tree and I grew to accept this." She said it was a bit difficult at times explaining to childhood friends why they couldn't come in and play. "But friends accepted it," she said. "They realized death is part of life." ON A BRIGHTER NOTE, She added, "Some people expect you to have a morbid outlook on life, as if you weren't supposed to laugh or feel joy. My husband has been told 'For a funeral director, you're no dead-head.' " She believes her children are more aware of life's realities death, accidents, sickness than the average child. She said it's not unusual for friends of her youngest children to be extremely curious about the business. Mrs. Marion Damiano, of Irvington, formerly of Long Branch, is a licensed mortician and the widow of a mortician. Her uncle, Ralph J. Damiano, operates a funeral home in Long Branch. She learned the business from her father, the late S. Charles Damiano, of Newark. "WHEN THE BEREAVED find that a woman will be dealing with them, the reaction is very favorable," she said. -"Because I am a woman there is immediately no barrier between the family and me in understanding grief." She said her three children understand the business as "a matter of helping others" and the funeral process as an expression of "one who lived and has been remembered." Mrs. Damiano, immediate past president of the state Funeral Directors Association, said children are concerned with the beauty of flowers when they visit the deceased, and they are impressed with the fact the person is wearing clothes and doesn't look sick. She pointed out that demands of time and energy deter many people from entering the profession, although more morticians are definitely needed. The trade is usually picked up by each generation because "a helping hand is always needed" by a member of the family in the business. "WE HAVE TO KEEP ourselves more composed than , the average person," said Mrs. Charles Riggs, Ship Bottom. . ' "I think v. e learn lo cooe with iliings more realistically than the average person does." Mrs. Riggs assists her husband by doing hair and applying cosmetics. She said she hopes their two sons, who are fascinated with the operation will continue in the trade. In approaching their home, above the funeral home, Mrs. Rigg3 recalled friends saying, " 'Ooooo, I'm afraid to come in.' We just tell them there's nothing in here that's going to harm you. You. can be afraid of the living, but not of the dead." . '.. . . ."' She said the personal contact they have with people produces many friends. "WE REALLY DON'T have to worry about locking our doors," quipped Mrs. George Wood, whose husband operates Wood Funeral Home, Tuckerton. "Prowlers wouldn't know which door to go through or what they'd find on the other side." She said that by living in and serving a small community, "You get to know everyone and you are closer to them at a time like this." Mrs. Wood helps her husband as receptionist, hairdresser, and cosmetician. "We lead a quiet life," she explained. "It helps if you're a homebody. "It's very difficult to get away at all because someone has to answer the telephone 24 hours a day." She added, -"The things we can do outside the business are very limited." ' . ' Because of the business she said, "I've learned to accept tilings more feadjjy without being too emotional." ' MRS. WOOD HOPES their son, now in college, will follow in his father's footsteps. She recalled the time he and a buddy began painting the hearse white "Because it would look a lot nicer," they said. ' Mrs. Wood was working in EatontoWn Post Office when she met her husband. "I thought twice when he told me he was a morUdari," she' said. J,; ; ; ; v : ': ; ' "It's a good . family business," slie said, "but ' ou have to , like it." v - ' Built-in Backlash Chokes Liberation Before It Starts By MARY WIEGER5 Times-Post Service (First In a Series) WASHINGTON - To those who have had their fill of radical movements, the reawakening of a strident women's rights movement, is about as welcome as finding out that coffee causes cancer. But reawakening it is. And the mass media have seized upon it with a vengeance. Despite the current barrage of publicity, it's difficult to find people of either sex who understand what women's liberation is really all about. Mainly, this is because it's one movement that has a built-in backlash before it even gets started. For instance, David Susskind can usually be expected to listen with sympathy to any expounder of liberal causes on his TV talk show. But when it comes to women's liberation, he can hardly conceal his annoyance and puts it down with sarcasm and ridicule. He's not alone. The response from almost any male whether liberal, radical or conservative in viewpoint ranges from amusement to intense hostility. It rarely includes the openess with which they might discuss any other issue. Men Minimize Issue TO MANY MEN, the issue is either one which they cannot take seriously (because they have been trained since birth about women's proper place, and any further discussion of the question is frivilous), or it is an affront to their masculinity perpetrated by a small number of uppity women. A woman's reaction tends to be a bit different, but often no less hostile. Those who consider themselves "feminine" and have prospered by being so, feel superior and scornful of "feminists." Their attitude is: "I've made it by accommodating men and working my wiles upon them, and the fact that these women are complaining proves they are lacking in charm a,nd feminine instincts." And many quite honestly feel that the present position of women is the natural one. They feel secure, happy and protected in their present roles of wife and-or mother, and they resent the belittling of their position and the attempt to tear it down. Many more feel some ambivalence, They recognize and empathise with many of the points women's Lib makes. But the movement's tactics and some of its conclusions turn them off. Even those wlto support or are Jn women's liberation have an emotional problem with it. One of the most common W iilllii - BlfiW llllllSSllill: ;113ij!! -'t - Her Specialty Is Revolutionary Fingernails DR. MARGARET MEAD "We're on the brink of enormous change" complaints against the women's liberation type, is that she's so "unfeminine;" that she comes on sounding strident, harsh and fanatical; that she puts people off before they even hear what she has to say. . , It's a problem for women in the movement, too, causing a certain paranoia-schizophrenia. They're not sure how far they can go in asserting themselves without giving up all semblance of dignity. They're not sure how "separatist" they should be from men, or, on the other hand, how much they can associate with men without compromising their feminist principles. And, though they eschew the "myths" about what is feminine, they are sensitive to charges that they're not. Liberation Defined THEIR DILEMMA is partly a result of the larger question which the whole movement calls up, namely what is intrinsically female, and what is intrinsically masculine. Which feminine traits are the results of biology, and which are culturally enforced? "Women's liberation" is both a broad term covering the whole resurgent women's rights movement and a specific term for one group within that movement. Used in the specific sense, the term refers to the Women's Liberation Movement, whose member groups are located primarily in New York, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago- and San Francisco. Though they generally support one another, they operate largely independently. Used m the general sense, It refers to a gamut of organizations, from the work within the-systcm reformists like Betty Friedan's National Organization for Women (NOW) to the radical W.I.T.C.H. (Women's International Terrorist Conspir- acy from Hell.) It's Impossible to say how many belong to the movement. Anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 activists would be a good guess. See BUILT-IN BACKLASH Pace 6B OCEAN TOWNSHIP -Whether you're typing, gardening or housekeeping, the results of hard work show first in chipped, squat or broken fingernails. The late Juliet Marglin, California beauty consultant, who invented the Juliet style of growing natural fingernails was dedicated to correcting those unattractive conditions. She and her protege, Mrs. Grace Barnum trained 18 young women, in the method. Most of them are still in the Beverly Hills area. But Mrs. . Robert Sarcomo recently arrived in the Shore area and is enthusiastically bringing the message of long, eve.i, healthy nails to Monmouth County. "IT'S DONE with a protective coating of a ceramic glaze," Mrs. Sarcomo said, "allowing the nail to grow naturally in a protected situation while the outer covering keeps your hands looking well." Sharon, or Sherry as her clients call her, began her career as a manicurist working in Beverly Hills. She trained under Juliet's first pupil and is one of the 18 beauty operators who completed the personally tutored course. "You start with a thorough manicure," she said, "then we apply a cap of paper, a special glue-like substance and polish underneath and on top. This is kept on for three to five weeks depending on the original length of the nail. "You'll begin to see progress in three weeks. In six weeks they will have to be cut," Sherry Sarcomo continued. Never file nails, it only makes them thin. The operator will nip off ends at each treatment, removing the bad nail. It takes about nine months for the entire bad nail v to be replaced with the good nail grown under the protected covering. "IF A NAIL has been permanently damaged, it can be covered up to look like the ethers. "This is a personalized course," Mrs. Sarcomo said. "Colors can be mixed to suit lha indivdiual. I use an electric cuticle pusher never any cutting." Mrs. Sarcomo's appointment book was crowded in Beverly Hills where that fashion-conscious community sup-, plied her with steady customers. She and her family returned to her husband's home county (he is son of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Sarcomo, Monmouth Rd.) and she is now with Mr. Neil, hairstylists, Asbury Park. HER HUSBAND, who was a hairdresser in California, is now working in construction. "He's a wonderful hairdresser," his wife said. "But he likes working in construction suits his temperament better." Besides her husband and son, Tony, 9, to keep her busy, Sherry is an artist and a gourmet cook. "We didn't want to bring a lot of possessions East, so I sold several of my canvases," she said. But she still has several small ones in her apartment and is now busily . working on others. "I DO A LOT of baking," she said. "I enjoy doing it, and my husband and son love eating it." Others appreciate her cooking too, apparently, because she is going to have her poppysecd cake recipe included in Riverview Hospital's new fund-raising cookbook. And when Sherry isn't restoring nails, cooking or painting, she crochets. She's an enthusiast, and always manages to find an outlet for her creative talents. riiiiiiiw i Tp, Ifilltll iiiS V I 4. ' -A Ft 9" aU' . Mrs. Robert Sarcomo and ton Tony take time to relax at home. On the wall behind - them i one of Sherry's own paintings. (Presi Fhoto) r

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