This is the latest in a series of essays titled “Man Has Premonition of Own Death”

A friend reports: “My first memory of death is having to kiss my dead grandfather’s forehead and thinking it was like a cold potato.”

My own first memory of death: My kindergarten teacher at P.S. 9 in Yonkers pointing to an empty desk in our classroom and telling us that the little girl who sat there had “gone to heaven.” I don’t remember the little girl’s name. This was more than forty years ago. But for some reason I have a memory of a somewhat chubby little girl with dark curly hair. And I remember hearing from my parents later, when I was older, that the little girl had died in a fire along with six other children and an invalid grandmother who was babysitting the brood when the blaze broke out. All of the children were buried together. I’ve seen their gravestone at a cemetery in Yonkers – seven little angels are carved upon the stone.


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