Music in the Funeral Home

Let me tell you how much life sucked for a music lover living in a funeral home. I mentioned my extensive ‘45’ record collection. I really started getting into music when I was about 10 years old and I would spend all my allowance money on ‘45s’ at JC Penney. The records were 88cents each.  Some of you might remember what a pain in the ass it was if you couldn’t find those little discs to put in the middle of the record so it would fit on to the spindle properly. If you didn’t have one, you would try to line the record up

the good ole' days

perfectly on the turntable, and as it started to rotate it would inevitably get off track and ruin the song. It’s nice to not have to deal with that anymore, but I still love the sound of vinyl. Now we have to deal with”technology”; downloading, uploading, ipods, itunes. A record player wasn’t considered technology, was it?

Anyway, we had one of those 1970’s stereos in our living room that was like a piece of furniture. It was the size of a coffee table and you had to lift the lid to put the record on. The speakers were pretty good in comparison to the dinky record player I had in my room that looked like it was bought from a garage sale in 1940. If no one was around I would play my records on the big stereo, but if the family was milling about or watching TV I’d go in my room and play them. And I would play a record I liked over and over until I almost got sick of it. Is that OCD? I’m still like that. I’ll download a song from Itunes and listen to it every day until I don’t want to hear it anymore.

Here’s what sucked; I would come home from JC Penney with my new record and couldn’t wait to get it home and play it obsessively. It never failed that when I had a new record and was getting ready to play it my father would yell upstairs “No music. I have a family coming!” That meant that for the next few HOURS I couldn’t play my record. We didn’t have headphones and fancy devices for private listening back then. It was the 70’s for Christ sake!  I had no choice but to wait it out and sometimes it would take a really long time if the family couldn’t decide what they wanted. I used to want to run downstairs and yell, “JUST PICK THE BRONZE, IT’S THE BEST CASKET YOU CAN GET, AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE SO I CAN LISTEN TO MY RECORD.” That probably wouldn’t

Bronze are great caskets...

be a nice thing to do to a family who just lost a loved one, but when you’re 10 and you have a new record to listen to, you don’t give a shit about them. It got to a point where I knew that if I bought a record, somebody was gonna die. It happened every time. Even when I moved my bedroom up to the attic I wasn’t allowed to play records when there were funeral arrangements going on. A kid living in a funeral home today would have it so much easier. She’d have her little computer and her little Itunes and her little Ipod to keep her happy. So if there are any kids living in funeral homes today, you are lucky little bitches!

The same thing happened when I started playing the flute. I had to work my practice time around dead people. Of course, there were times when I didn’t get the message that my dad was making funeral arrangements and would start practicing or blasting a record. Holy Shit! It was like my parents would appear out of nowhere. My dad would come running up the steps and my mom would come running in from the kitchen, most likely with a cigarette in her hand, and scare the shit out of me.  Talk about a buzz kill! I wonder what the families thought.  My dad thought he’d get sued for mental distress. C’mon! A little Bee Gees isn’t gonna stress anybody out. Oh, but it did. I have a future story about me singing the song “Tragedy” by the Bee Gees at a very inappropriate time. One of my mom’s favorite stories….

Happy Friday!

Let’s get buzzed after work…or before?

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About Death To Hollywood

My name is Celeste Donohue and I am a writer/comedian who started this blog to tell stories about my life growing up in a funeral home and my adult life which I have spent in Hollywood, California – hence the name, “Death To Hollywood”. Hopefully, you like to read those kinds of stories. If not, go read something serious and boring.....
This entry was posted in death, funerals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Music in the Funeral Home

  1. Margaret Steadman says:

    OMG..all I remember is having your folks play their John Denver and Jesus Christ Superstar records in the family room at #205 and later I learned all the Grease songs there since my mom would not let me actually see Grease..still pissed off about that!

  2. Kris says:

    WOW……I remember that HUGE stereo in our living room so well. The sound of it was great….too bad we could rarely turn it up and rock out……Perhaps that’s why now I love to listen to my music loud

  3. Kris says:

    OMG…..I still love Jesus Christ Superstar, John Denver and Grease……thanks for reminding me about those, Margaret……sorry we subjected you to all of that:)

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