Aunt Josephine and Snookie

I just had to share this. Aunt Josephine, actually my great aunt, was the youngest of 4 sisters. I loved it when they all got together. They seemed to have such a rich history, immigrating to the USA, Poppyseed Bread, Halupki and they way they spoke to us kids  in slavak when we got in the way or into trouble. Carrie (born in Checkloslovakia), Helen (my Grandmother and 1st born in the U.S.), Anna (who had so much faith) and Josephine. She was always ready with a laugh and seemed to enjoy life so much.

Aunt Josephine*She Opened Her Heart to Pets (One in Particular)*By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 11, 2008;
Josephine Bensack Czapp, 89, who died of kidney failure April 6, grew up on a farm in Manassas and raised many kinds of pets, including horses and goats. In recent years, she became so close to her parakeet, Snookie, that she wanted to spend eternity with him.Her request was to be buried with Snookie. If the bird went first, she
wanted him stored in the freezer until she died. She appreciated the
family comeback that if Snookie outlived her, a relative would buy a
large freezer in which to keep her.Snookie died in September after having served as Czapp’s winged
companion for about 10 years.

Czapp had formed a strong attachment to Snookie, often refusing to do

anything without him perched on her finger. They ran errands together
and visited her relatives. They exchanged confidences and traded pecks.
Czapp did not like to leave her feathered friend alone.Snookie the Parakeet

She asked him, “Who’s grandma’s baby?”

The family joked that they would have her committed if he replied.

Snookie had entered her life in 1993, after the death of her husband,
Michael J. Czapp. The couple had been married 56 years. The Czapps grew
up near each other in Manassas, and they began dating after meeting at a
dance. She spent much of her life as a homemaker; Michael worked as a

Although Josephine Czapp had a passion for polka, pets were the love of
her life. Her menagerie included horses, goats, dogs and a lizard. She
had raised parakeets when she was younger, but Snookie, a handsome male
with white, blue and gray feathers, captivated her like no other.

“After her husband died, she was on her own, and we bought her a
parakeet cage for Christmas,” said Cheryl Czapp, Josephine’s
daughter-in-law. “She balked at that, but somewhere along the line my
sister-in-law took her to the store and they bought a parakeet.”


For a time, he competed for Czapp’s affections with Pickle, a parakeet
that had belonged to a grandson. But Snookie became the enduring favorite.

The family placed a sign in her bedroom that said, “This place is for
the birds.”

It was “very traumatic” the day he died in September, Cheryl Czapp said.

Josephine Czapp called her son Robert about midday. Alas, he couldn’t
leave work for several more hours. When he did, Robert Czapp found his
mother with the bird still cupped in her hands. He had to pry it away
from her.

After Snookie’s death, Josephine Czapp was inconsolable. Crippled with
arthritis, she prayed nightly that she might die soon, Cheryl Czapp
said. She was no longer the spry lady who, into her late 50s, would camp
out with her grandsons in the wilderness or in the tree house behind her
brick rambler in Manassas.

Cheryl Czapp alerted family and friends to her mother-in-law’s death by
an e-mail. Shunning a sappy tone, the subject line read: “It’s time to
defrost Snookie.”

Celi Clark, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin-based National Funeral
Directors Association, said she knew of no state or federal regulations
about animals being buried with owners.

Such arrangements, Clark said, are usually made at the discretion of the
cemetery owner.

She said the issue “doesn’t come up a lot,” and that trinkets, letters
and other non-organic possessions are more commonly buried with people.
When someone wants to be interred with an animal, pet remains are
usually cremated and placed in an urn inside the coffin, she said.

Josephine Czapp was buried April 12 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the
church started by her parents with other Slovak farmer immigrants near

Snookie, reposing in a tin box, was placed by her side. Cheryl Czapp
wrote in an e-mail, “We put his small coffin under her rosaried hands
for their mutual final resting place.”

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