Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What her obituary didn't tell us

Miss Nina Fredrickson's obituary, it seems to me, is notable for what it doesn't tell us about her.

Her name is mentioned in the story about aspiring aviatrix Rose Lynch (Class of 1944), that I recently posted on the Madison Central High School history blog. Miss Frederickson was one of the three faculty members who were supervising Lynch's "preflight course."

Mention of Miss Fredrickson generated an email from one of the usual suspects, who noted that Fredrickson had still been on the Central faculty in 1965.

I'd recently located Nina Fredrickson's obituary, but hadn't had time to post it. The email prompted me to do so: there's a link to it in the column on the right under the heading "Teacher and Principal Obituaries - A Work in Progress." I've also added a link to the Rose Lynch article.

Perhaps it's because I've been reading a book about obituaries ("The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries" by Marilyn Johnson), but while transcribing Miss Fredrickson's obituary (and the follow-up memorial service notice), I was keenly aware of all the things it didn't say: for instance, When was she born? What were her parents' names? When did she retire from Central? Who was Roger Burkhahn and what was her connection to him? Where is she buried?

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) had her date of birth, but the other questions remain unanswered. I don't know if we'll be able to find answers to all those questions, but I do hope that some people who read the obituary will share some memories or add some more information. As more people discover this blog (and its relatives), some are beginning to leave comments that help us learn more about some of our fellow alumni.

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