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".