Thanks to the two writing teachers blog team for creating this wonderful space for educators and other writers to hang out, read, write, respond, and learn. Always, there are so many new formats and ideas to explore! #SOL18 provides us with a unique opportunity to grow as writers and establish friendships that last beyond the month of March!
Thursday morning after rush hour was over, my husband and I made the trek into Philadelphia to find the place where I could resolve the issue of my father’s parking tickets. The City of Philadelphia was granting amnesty until April 30th for tickets issued before 2013, or something like that. Three tickets had been issued to my father in the late eighties – probably because my father had given his car (a used car – I don’t remember which one) to a “friend” to use.
We made our way down Ogontz Avenue, passing the corner of the 6900 block where my dad once had an insurance and real estate office, left on Stenton Avenue and right on Broad Street before getting to Park Avenue, the street where Mom and Dad had their first home. I waved as we passed my alma mater, Philadelphia High School for Girls, and a nod to Einstein Hospital, where I was born. A real trip down “Memory Lane”.
We turned left onto Vine and right on 10th Street. Chinatown! Oh, when was the last time we ate at a really good Chinese restaurant? Then I remembered….CinCin. Sophisticated Chinese cuisine in Chestnut Hill, about twenty minutes from our house. Maybe by the end of March it will warm up and we will walk “the Hill” and eat at CinCin. Definitely something to look forward to, and I shared my thoughts with Ralph. “Let’s do it!” he replied.
Filbert – a left turn here onto a narrow street under construction. Looking on the left with scaffolding for safety due to construction on the right – where is this place? And then I spied it – the sign about parking tickets and amnesty. “Stop the car, Ralph!” I ordered while unbuckling my seat belt and swinging the shoulder strap of my pocketbook over my head and under my arm. I jumped out of the Rav, clutching a blue folder filled with papers. “I will call or text,” I waved him on.
There was a line as soon as I entered the building. Each time, I heard a city employee say to a person ahead of me in the line, “Take this form and fill it out in there,* (pointing to an already-crowded room with rows of metal chairs. “It will be a two-hour wait.” My heart sank. I looked at my watch…. eleven o’ clock. No way was I waiting for two hours about twenty-year-old parking tickets belonging to my dad!
My turn. “I am here with a death certificate. This form was sent to me, Martin’s daughter. Dad passed away 21 years ago.” The man nodded and told the woman next to him to handle it. She looked at the certificate and the form, then motioned to a woman who had just walked out of an inner office. “Take this one,” she said. I followed the lady into her office.
“The form says Martin M. Dorfman,” she said. “What is your father’s middle name?”
“Norman. His middle name was Norman. Someone typing the form did so incorrectly.”
“(Looking it up on the computer) But the records say M. for a middle initial.”
“(Trying to be patient) The forms are incorrect. My father’s middle name was Norman. Look at the death certificate.”
She motions to a man passing in the hallway. “Can you come in here a minute?” The whole story is repeated. And then…”When did he pass away?” the gentleman queries.
“November, 1997,” I promptly answer.
“I didn’t ask you.” He asks the woman again who is scrutinizing my father’s death certificate. Five minutes pass. She confirms that my response is correct. “She’ll need to take the death certificate and make a copy for us.” I know the law forbids you to make a copy of a death certificate, so I say to both of them, “Please keep this one. It’s an original.” He asks me if I am sure. I nod. He says they will mail it back to me. I nod. As I’m walking out the door into the Philadelphia sunshine I mutter to myself, “I won’t hold my breath!”