Friday, September 16, 2016

A Business Obituary - TearDrop Memories

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the closing of the best “mourning arts” retail store in the known galaxy. My friend Greg Cristiano is retiring and closing his New Hope, Pennsylvania store doors forever. I am reposting his self-penned obituary here on The Cemetery Traveler. Good luck Greg, feel better, and thank you for many years of enlightenment!- Ed Snyder

TearDrop Memory Post Mortem Gallery Shop Closing - A Business Obituary

TearDrop Memories NorthFork Pet Antiques, a long-time New Hope tradition is closing its Post Mortem Gallery on Mechanic Street. R.I.P.  A major tourist destination in town for more than a decade, owner Greg@TDM is closing down his one of a kind retail shop, due to major health issues. His museum-worthy treasures and historically-based traveling talks will remain available on his four websites (linked below).

Detail of Victorian mourning artwork (TDM collection)

A Business Obituary

Queen Victoria mourning pin (TDM collection)
TearDrop Memories has been a leading organizer of in-town events. It’s resume includes the Almost Art Show, Liberty Festival, High Heel Drag Race, Liberty Pole, Monroe Crossing, National Honey Bee Day, Coryells Ferry Militia, New Hope Meter Angels and Colonial Christmas. As advisor to the New Hope Chamber of Commerce, Greg fought hard for New Hope businesses and against the town’s repressive regulations. In the style of the Late Captain Bob Gerenser, Greg remained one of the town’s last curmudgeons, NRA and Tea Party Conservative.

Greg Cristiano holding court in Teardrop Memories
Many will miss Historian Greg’s cheeky greeting, “Can I be of any help or make up a story?” A line that while eliciting smiles, really exemplified the store’s main talent, storytelling. “I never wanted to be a cashier, as most of today’s wannabee antique stores are. I wanted my customers (friends) to feel the same passion for the past as I do,” said he. A shop crowded with everything from antique coffins, Victorian bird cages, real gothic Georgian mourning jewelry, ancient hair art memorials, early medical tools and antiquarian books, became a wealth of material for his epic tales. The shop’s motto “Nothing with a barcode or ‘Made in China’ label” was rarely equaled in Town. This unusual shop and his reenactments of both Revolutionary War Rebellion hero Capt. John Fries and a 19th century Victorian Undertaker, drew visitors to New Hope from around the world.

Post-mortem portrait (TDM collection)

Survived by his 4 websites and traveling talks, the B&M Post Mortem Gallery; TearDrop Memories will close in October [2016]. Gone but not forgotten, Memento Mori!

TearDrop Memories NorthFork Pet Antiques

(215) 862-3401
12 West Mechanic St. 1C
New Hope Pa. 18938
We Speak Antique You Tube 
Greater New Hope Chamber Of Commerce
U.S. Chamber Of Commerce

Sunday, September 11, 2016

So when you die ...

So when you die, will you waft gently to immortal life, or will it be like moving to a new house or apartment? I would assume the latter, and specifically, to an apartment. It takes you a few weeks to get used to the new layout (and months to get used to the new fridge). The door lock keys don’t work properly, of course, but who would you call to report that anyway? Nothing is where you think it should be. It’s like driving an American-made car all your life and then you rent a Subaru – all the same stuff is there, just in slightly wrong places.

I’m sure its disorienting to wake up dead. One moment you’re say, having sex, the next moment you’re dead (this actually happened to someone I know). Are you out of body watching the scene or does everything just go dark? And then, as Woody Allen said, “when you’re dead, it’s hard to find the light switch.


When you come to, do you know where you are? Are there signs? Writer Neil Gaiman wrote  (in his book, Coraline): "It is astonishing just how much of what we are can be tied to the beds we wake up in in the morning, and it is astonishing how fragile that can be."

I hope Neil continues writing cool stuff in his afterlife. Its awesome to think that only the dead will benefit from his genius from that time forward. Maybe that would be Heaven for his readers? I used to think that the only difference between Heaven and Hell is the type of music they play. Now, after recently moving from a house to an apartment, I think there may be more to it than that.

Wherever you land, you have no idea who your neighbors are. You say, “Hi. Just moved in.” You shake hands. I wonder if its politically correct to ask, “How long have you lived here?” Does time exist after you die? Is there night and day? Seasons? ATM machines? You can’t just Google this stuff anymore. Where do you get your hair cut now? I'm writing this mainly from a guy's perspective, but I realize the hair issue is much more complex for women. For all of you women out there, where will you get your hair colored, foiled, double-processed, or even just blown out? After life's fitful fever, she many not, actually, sleep so well.

Relative to your prior corporal address, trash collection is on a different day of the week - assuming there is such a thing as trash (and days, for that matter). Do we consume things in the afterlife? And what about grocery stores and a good auto mechanic? It’s always tough to start over with these things in a new locale. One thing is for certain, however - if there is a God, there will be no dentists in the afterlife. To my mind, this is the single greatest advantage to being dead – no more dealing with your teeth.


But once you get used to your new environs, many things fall into place. Some that do not fall into place are the coins from your pocket when you get into your car. There is no longer a need for money after you die, although you will indeed have a car. In Heaven, you may once again have your long-lost favorite, perhaps that green ’67 Mustang 289 with the rust around the quarter-panels. The rust will still be there, unfortunately. The afterlife is not a miracle-cure, people. In Hell, you’ll drive a Yugo.

Why are all the electrical sockets in your new digs so loose that the plugs just want to fall out? Tough to properly adjust this weird cranky tub faucet to get the right temperature water in the tub – man, you think they would have at least cleaned that after the last people left. And where did they go…? Maybe this is Purgatory, or Limbo? No, wait, the Catholic Church did away with them, right? Was that like a marriage “annulment,” where the Church doesn’t actually cancel something, they just say that it never existed in the first place? I wonder if I can put in a request to have certain people annulled.

So if this is Purgatory, the congested parking situation is only temporary. If I go to through the hassle of acquiring a residential parking permit (good for a year), I might be moved to the next place tomorrow!

And who do you call to order a pizza? HOW do you call? Dying idiot that you are, you forgot to bring the cord to charge your iPhone. Where could you buy a new one? Can’t just go down to the lobby or the gift shop. Or can you? After a couple months, you’re used to your surroundings and it just becomes your normal mode of existence. It’s the opposite of economist Adam Smith’s free market adage, “adapt or die” – here, you just die and adapt. See you there - I'll save you a parking space!