Death Benefits

My brother alerted me that our father had a death benefit payable to his survivors. It is a one time burial benefit, but had our mother lived, she would have received monthly payments. He needed my mailing information to have the paperwork sent to me. I always use the university address for things like this for fear the postman may get playful with my mail. We had to pay for his funeral, so this will only partially repay us for his cashing in all of his life insurance to spend on strangers, mostly in Jamaica. You know those “My dear beloved, I hate to trouble you with my problems, but…”

I have to give the Hungarian postal system some credit. The university name has o’s with two dots on them and other letters with accents, which American computer systems never get right. Sometimes when I get mail, I am amazed it ever reached me after the address has been bastardized to the nth degree. I certainly would not be able to deliver it. 

Yesterday was State Exams where students defend their theses. I had to go in as an examiner. In my mailbox was the paperwork the death benefit I had been waiting for. It was addressed to 
Ryan J. French
Amer Stud
Eutovoas Lorund Univ
Rakoczi 5
10888 Budapest, Hungary

Just from the label, I was not even sure it was for me if it had not been the return address. Three simple pages of forms, just one to sign, had my name been Ryan J. French. Up until 1976, my name was Richard James French Jr. Not only did I hate any and all forms of Richard, but the ch-ch sound was reminiscent of the train engines on the railroad where my father worked. In 1976, I legally became Ryan James, no middle name, thank you very much.

Apparently, no one told the Railroad Retirement Board, so in addition to the simple forms they sent me, I had to send copies of my birth certificate and the court order stating I had changed my name. This is all nicely sealed and enveloped waiting for the Ron Pony Express to deliver it to a US Post Office for further action. 

Now they will send me a check, hopefully, I will have to sign it and send it back to California to be deposited, but the Pony Express will have already left and returned by that time. Oh well!

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