I Never Saw Dead People

I ran across a new blog and it jogged a childhood memory of dead people. The blogger’s little brother had a chance to appear with a celebrity (of West Tennessee) Cousin Tuny.

My little brother was one of those lucky kiddos who had the opportunity to be on the Cousin Tuny Show. As she made the rounds of the kids sitting around her on stage, she came to him and asked, “What is your name, young man?”


“And how old are you, David?”


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“An undertaker.”

Cousin Tuny had a great laugh at his expense. David went on to have a happy and fulfilling life as a forklift operator and retired.

Soon after he retired, he called me one day to say he had a new job. I asked him why he didn’t just kick back and enjoy the fruits of his long years of work, at least for a little while. He said it was a job that suited him just fine, that the hours were good, working only occasionally, not a full-time job. The pay was not that great, but he got to work with people and had a lot of flexibility.

He was working for a funeral home. Good for David.

My best friend growing up lived in a funeral home. And I do mean lived in the funeral home his father owned and operated.  When there was a funeral, about weekly in the small town I grew up in, they would clear out the front room and set up chairs, floral stands and folding chairs.

His dad was scary. He was gruff, didn’t smile much, and when he did it was kind of an evil grin. He had a pointed nose and no lips.  Of course, he was always in a black suit. His mother was intense, being married to a man like that.  I guess they were nice people, my Mother seemed to like them OK.

We didn’t play much at his house. Just walking through the same room with a casket gave me the crawling heebie jeebies.

Bob turned out OK too as far as I know. He was a nurse with a nice family the last time I had contact with him. I wonder if when he retires he’ll go from curing them to planting them?

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I Never Saw Dead People — 4 Comments

  1. If you read my past posts, you know I PLAYED in a funeral home with my friends. Never got the heebee jeebees. The only rule was we couldn’t go into the “prep” room when there was a body (although sometimes we would peek). It was just like a big theater with lots of props, curtains, music, directors, actors and a place for the audience. Perhaps that’s why I’m so cynical of funeral productions now.

  2. I can’t think of anything creepier than having part of your house be a funeral home. YIKES…no thank you. Funerals, death and corpses are scary enough without having them under the same roof on a daily basis. No surprise that Bob didn’t have many friends over to hang out. Just thinking about it ‘ooges’ me out.

  3. @Winston: Welcome

    @Prairie: I had forgotten, or I would have given “your side” of the story.

    @Joy: If you’re raised in a funeral home, it still has to give you the creeps – kids being kids and all that