Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tea for the Widow

This morning as I was making my morning coffee I was listening to the news on the kitchen radio. The story was about how some companies want to cut out retiree health insurance. The company is in bankruptcy and in order to cut costs they are asking the judge if they can stop paying benefits to all their retirees. They were saying that back when our parents and grandparents got a job the company took care of us "from cradle to grave". Times are different now....

I remembered a story that a coworker told me when I worked at NuVision. She was several years older than I and her father had been the butler for the Edsel and Eleanor Ford household many years ago. This is the mansion that I had taken both of my daughters to visit. The home is beautiful and well-preserved and open for tours. She told me stories about how her older sisters remembered the Hollywood stars attending the big parties at the mansion and how she used to stand at the end of the sidewalk and wait for her father, the butler to come home for lunch each day. She remembered how they summered in Maine with the Ford Family, living in a little cottage on the property. She told me of lobster cooked on the beach and how much fun she had every summer.

The last summer she spent in Maine was the summer that her father, the butler died in that little beach cottage. They had to wait for the medical examiner to pronounce her father dead after his heart attack. Mrs. Ford came into the cottage and made tea for the butler's mother and sat with the family until the medical examiner arrived to do his job. My friend talked so respecfully of Eleanor Ford and appreciated that act of kindness so many years ago. And so did her mother.

Many years had gone by. Eleanor and Edsel Ford had both passed away. The butler's widow was in her 90's living in a mobile home park in Florida. The Ford family had been paying her a widow's pension for many years. She needed to go into a nursing home as she wasn't able to live alone anymore. The Ford family paid for the nursing home. They took care of their employees "cradle to grave".

8 comments:

Jan said...

OK now I put a lot of effort to get this link to work. This crap isn't easy for me so I hope you click on it just to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

K said...

Time sure are changing.

I promise to click on the link.

b&g girl said...

thanks for visiting my blog Jan. I thought my life would be different too.
its a fend for yourself era, which is sad, there seems to be less interest in taking care of each other. its great to find thoughtful people like you out there though!

T said...

LOL Jan, I clicked on the link this time, and found the info very interesting.

Times have changed haven't they, such a shame too. It is an "all about me era", and to heck with anyone else:(

Loved this post.

Jeanne said...

I clicked the link! And I love visiting places like this (like the Biltmore House, and the James J. Hill House and the Piatt Castles, and on and on). Maybe I can get Old Dog to do a mini vacation and go see it. Is it close to where you live?

Vodka Mom said...

that was a touching story. And NOW, I am GOING to the links!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I did check the link, it is a beautiful mansion!
Things are not like they used to be, times change and not for the better either:(

Andrea said...

Great post Jan..left a little lump in my throat. It's sad to see the "fend for yourself" mentality that has become the norm in so many companies. And I clicked the link!!! :)