By Steve Frenzl (Bus’70)
(Self-published, 263 pages; 2018)
Steve Frenzl’s (Bus’70) two-volume fictionalized memoir, titled “Coffee & Donuts with the Dearly Departed” tells the story of Steve’s adventures working as an apprentice at Boulder’s Howe Mortuary in the late 1960s.
If the needy young man looking for work to get through college in the late 1960s had known what he was getting into before accepting a job as a mortuary nightman, it’s safe to say there would be no book about it now. But he didn’t… thus began a two-year adventure that, for Steve, gave whole new meaning to “the dead of night” and produced a uniquely revealing account of life (and death) as a mortician’s apprentice.
Voiced in the vernacular of a callow farm kid (where decomposing cows and butchered chickens provided practical pre-people training), his memories and musings cover most aspects of the death-care profession, including jaw-dropping (actually, locking) details of the embalming process, oh-my-God coroner’s cases, and even some dab-your-eyes love stories. In fact, his experiences tease all the senses, plus take readers’ heads and hearts on a crazy roller coaster ride — all while tempering normally ghastly tales with humor. (Well… mostly.) And that’s thanks to the boss’s ever rosy reminders: “Don’t forget… the first three letters in ‘funeral’ are F-U-N.”
In addition to his book, Steve published the “Life-Alone Planner,” a free, digital workbook to help survivors prepare for life without their loved ones.