Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Ford.

In Grand Rapids, we love the Fords. They are our claim to fame; Gerald and Betty put us on the map. Gerald and Betty were both products of our public schools. My Grandfather was a detective in the town of Holland, and several times, he worked on security detail for Gerald Ford, and in his scrapbook, wherever it is now, he had a handwritten thank-you note signed by "Jerry Ford." Gerald and Betty Ford were also married at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, which is just a few blocks from our house, and which is the church where Frances was baptized, and where Frances and her mothers are members. (I was also a member of that church for seven years, but no longer am. THAT, however, is another story for another time.) As you know, Gerald Ford died on the day after Christmas, 2006, and was buried out of Grace Episcopal during the first part of January, 2007. And Betty is also scheduled to be buried out of Grace Episcopal, the day after tomorrow.

Now when Gerald Ford died, Suzanne and I went with my Aunt Marilyn and her sister, and stood on line with over a hundred thousand other people, and waited for seven hours, to walk past his flag-draped casket, the night before the funeral. We got into the museum at midnight, and were there to watch the changing of the guard. (The bad Michigan weather miraculously held off, there was no snow to speak of, and the temperatures were cold but not bitterly so, for the entire week following Ford's death. I think this may have been the winter where Gun Lake completely melted) On the day of the funeral, I stood in my front yard and could hear the military band playing "Faith of our Fathers" as the casket was loaded into the hearse for its final ride through the city, to the Ford Museum where he was to be interred.

I wanted Frances to be able to say she participated in a piece of Grand Rapids' History, so this morning I brought her to the Ford Museum, and I signed the condolence book. There were no huge lines at the museum this time (when we waited to file past Gerald, the line stretched out of the museum, across the bridge, back and around past the Amway Grand Plaza, then across Pearl Street bridge by Grand Valley, and then back through downtown GR to the other side of the Michigan Street bridge) and there was just one person ahead of us. I signed our names in the book.


And we spent a bit of time looking at the fountain on the grounds of the museum.
Frances got hold of my camera and took this picture of me (below). I rather like it.

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