When I was young it was customary when someone died for the mortician to come to the home and prepare the body for burial. Very few people died in hospitals simply because there were very few hospitals. (Grandpa Loren Ferrin died in a hospital in Wichita in 1921, but that was because he died from complications from bladder surgery and a weakened heart condidtion.)
The mortician would prepare the body and put it in the casket and it would remain in the home for the funeral. The family always asked outsiders to come and sit up all night with the body. There were usually two people but sometimes three or even four.
They quit the practice before I was old enough to be considered (for the task), but I remember Dad and Mom sitting many times. The last that I can remember for sure was that Mom sat with Clifton Wood's body in 1945.
When Grandma Ferrin died in 1955, her body was laid out in the front room of her home in her casket, but I can't recall if it was for overnight or if anyone sat with her.
-- by Wendel Gene Ferrin, 28 September 1990.
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