Monday, October 31, 2011

Undertaker's Daughter



It's Halloween. Boo! Today I am sharing a musing with you. You tell me if it's a trick or treat. Have a wonderful, fun, spooky day and night of fun. Leave a comment to win my scary novella, Sunshine Boulevard. Then hop over to the other amazing horror writer blogs. Find the list at the coffin hop blog.

Undertaker’s Daughter
By
J Q Rose

I always thought of horror writers as rather eccentric, peculiar people. But my perception changed when a horror story sprang from my own mind. You can imagine my surprise when my mystery/horror tale Sunshine Boulevard was accepted and published by Muse It Up Publishing this year. That made ME a published author of horror stories.

Right away, I must tell you I am NOT an eccentric, peculiar person. I am just a regular woman who is a wife, mother, grandmother. But, perhaps some would think my childhood was different. You see, my father was an embalmer and funeral director. I was reared in a funeral home.

It was not unusual to have a dead body laid out in a casket in our living room several days in a row. In fact, sometime we’d have more than one in our home. The embalming room was in the back of the house, and yes, I wore lots of perfume and soap to cover the pungent odor of formaldehyde on my clothes and hair.

We had knee caps for ashtrays in the private area of our home…not in the public area because that may upset some folks. But Dad was a heavy smoker, so he appreciated having the convenience of an ashtray nearby at all times.

It wasn’t unusual to have boxes of ashes of the departed sitting in the pantry shelves next to the canned green beans and corn. Some families squabbled over who was going to pay for the funeral expenses for their dearly departed, so they never showed up to claim the ashes for fear of being left with the debt.  In one case the family of Ida Mayberry, their sweet aunt, never claimed her. So Aunt Ida took up residence in the cupboard next to the pork and beans.

Life as an undertaker’s daughter did not seem to be any big deal. My friends, well, most of them, were happy to come over and play hide and seek in the casket room or to swipe flowers out of the funeral arrangements to put in our hair for dress up.

My girlfriends did get upset when one of the spirits who regularly hung out in the funeral home flew by. The whoosh of air was the only indicator of their presence. Yes, I lost a couple of friends that way because they were scared to death…well, not literally. They just were creeped out especially when one of the spirits would knock over the Barbie doll house or send the family of Barbies swirling around the room.

Needless to say, I enjoyed going to my friend’s house. It was a treat to open their pantry door to get a can of pineapple and not see the boxed ashes of poor Aunt Ida. I could never shake the sadness I felt for her because noone cared enough to bury her ashes or at least sprinkle them on their garden.

So, yes, some may believe it was an unusual childhood compared to the experiences of others. But I felt loved, secure, and safe at all times. And that’s what counts for a kid.

The growing up years certainly shape the adult one becomes. I don’t know if this is the reason I can write a horror story or not, but I can assure you I am a normal, well-rounded person, not eccentric or peculiar at all. In fact I got rid of the knee cap ash trays just last week, but I do have Aunt Ida in the cupboard. Her family never claimed her and I have grown attached to her company.

Thanks for stopping in today at Brynna’s blog. Thank you to my hostess, Brynna, for inviting me to be her guest and let folks know about Sunshine Boulevard, a perfect scary story for October.

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