We lived across the street from a Catholic church, St. Alice (the grade school was behind the church). The nice thing about living across the street from a church is all the weirdos it attracts. Some real nuts mixed in with a lot of blue collar, hard-working Catholics were the people that made up our neighborhood, which I’ll expand on later. Two blocks up from our house was the Kelly Funeral Home, one of the major competitors.
It was strange, but there were a lot of funeral homes in my area, probably about 5 in a three mile radius, and I have no explanation for that. The Kelly’s had a bigger funeral home and every Halloween when we went to their house for candy, they would make you do a trick for it, like a little monkey. No trick, no treat. They took that shit seriously. I would do a cartwheel every year on their green carpeting , and every year I would think how much nicer the red carpeting was in our funeral home. I also remember when this girl died in our neighborhood and the family chose the Kelly funeral home instead of ours. She was 18 and very pretty and I think she died in a car accident. I went to the funeral and remember thinking how bad her makeup looked. That may seem strange, but you notice stuff like that when you grow up watching your dad put makeup on dead people. My dad was great at makeup, and most of the time, my mother would style the dead ladies hair. My mother was also an emergency room nurse and I doubt when she got married that she thought she’d end up being a hair stylist to the dead. But my dad was the manicurist. I remember him painting the dead ladies nails, and years later, after he was retired, I was looking at my nails and mentioned how much I needed a manicure and my dad said, “Lie down, I’ll give you one.”
I always wanted my dad to go all out on Halloween and turn our house into a fun and scary place to go. He could have done so much with the caskets and made it really spooky, but he was serious when it came to the business and so we never got to do that. And dressing up wasn’t great either. I never knew what to be for Halloween and my parents weren’t the type that went out and got us store-bought costumes. Their attitude was more like, if you want candy, figure out a costume and go get it. But because putting together a “homeless person” costume didn’t take much effort on their part, they would help. I’d wear man clothes that were too big and I’ll be honest, the clothes were spare items that my dad had in the basement. I don’t’ know whose clothes they were. Maybe they were his old clothes, I don’t know, but they came from the basement. Mom would burn the end of a cork so it would look like I had dirt on my face, and I’d carry an old pillowcase for candy. When I went to the neighbor’s houses and they asked me what I was, I said “a bum.” This was in the days before political correctness and we referred to homeless people as bums. Is that wrong?
My sister Kris and brother John were bums too. The Donohue Kids, what a bunch of bums!
Sadly, I couldn’t find any pictures online of the Kelly Funeral home or St. Alice Church, but I did find this picture as I was scrolling through and wondered if you think it’s a man or a woman. If it’s a woman, she could really use a new hairdo, some lipstick and definitely some tweezers.
Since it’s Monday, we should probably start drinking now. Have a nice day!