Smoking is Scary

I think it’s funny that my mom smoked cigarettes while she was pregnant with all four of us. It was so different back then. People smoked anytime, anyplace. They didn’t have commercials back then with some woman talking out of a hole in her neck to scare the shit out of you. I think my mom may have also boozed it up a bit while she was pregnant. I’m not sure about that but if smoking and drinking weren’t so frowned upon during pregnancy, maybe I’d be a little more motivated to have kids.

Speaking of a hole in the neck, one night my family was having dinner but my dad wasn’t there, he was out somewhere. We had the door to the funeral home open downstairs so that the florists could drop off the flowers for the upcoming funeral. Our front door was open a lot leaving an opportunity for any stranger on the street to walk in and kill us. One time when I was home alone, I got a little bit freaked out, not by the dead people, but by the thought of someone coming in and killing me.

There were these guys down the street that were bad news. It was rumored that they stole the money out of the “poor box” at church and supposedly robbed a few houses by getting in through the skylight in the bathroom.  We had a skylight in one of our bathrooms, so naturally I thought they were going to come in through it and stab me to death while I was naked in the shower, just like the movie “Psycho.” When my parents came home I told my dad that I got scared and he gave me words of wisdom; he said, “Hon, no one is gonna rob a funeral home, people hate dead bodies.” And all of the sudden it was like a light went off and I was never scared again when I was home alone.

Anyway, so we were sitting there having dinner and my seat at the kitchen table faced the door that connected to the hallway that led to the stairs that went down to the funeral home, so I was the first one to see this strange man come to our kitchen door.  My mom looked at me and I must have had a weird look on my face because she turned and looked and then my sisters and brother saw him. Just at the moment we all realized he was there  (dressed in black from head to toe, including a black fedora hat and trench coat like Father Maron in the Exorcist), he held up one of those things to a hole in his neck so he could talk, and a robotic voice that came out that was so scary and startling, I think all of us simultaneously shat our pants. (that’s the past tense of shit, right?)If you’ve ever heard someone talk through a hole in their neck with one of those gadgets, then you know how startling it is even when you’re prepared for it.  So you can probably imagine how freaking scary it was to see a man in our house, at our kitchen door, dressed in black, and when he starts to talk, a robot voice comes out.  My mom stood up and said something polite like “can I help you?” And he robotically answered that he was here for a funeral but he apparently had gotten the day mixed up. I don’t think most people would have a polite reaction to someone showing up in their kitchen unknown and unannounced, but that’s how you have to handle people who walk into your business, right? Definitely weird in retrospect.

This is one reason why my entire family is so private about our living space. For example, none of us are comfortable with people just stopping by. “I was in the neighborhood” crap isn’t cool with us. No one is allowed to ever just stop by and that’s because we had no privacy growing up. People were always in our house and we adjusted but it still sucked. One time my mother was coming out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her and there was a guy at the top of the steps holding a basket of flowers. Not for her, for the body downstairs.

Most women like getting flowers, but considering we had flowers in our house all the time, it’s not the type of thing my mom considered a romantic gesture. In the 46 years my parents were married, my dad never game my mom flowers, and she was fine with that.

Have a great Monday….if that’s possible.

Can I help you? We're eating dinner

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, funeral home, funerals, weird and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Smoking is Scary

  1. John Donohue says:

    Mom smoked and drank with only 3 of us. Mom didn’t smoke or drink when preggers with the eldest. I guess she figured; “that wasn’t too bad, give me a smoke and some of that whiskey you got there.”

  2. Jean lamb says:

    I was advised by my doctor to that if I had to smoke while pregnant that if possible to smoke pot and to make sure it was the good stuff! (it was 1970) Of course, I took his advise along with my glass of Blue Nun wine. I think my daughter turned out ok with no obvious side affects apart for her love of beer.

  3. Kris says:

    Mom did smoke during the pregnancies, but didn’t start tipping them back until she was in her 40’s….hmmm…where does our love for the booze come from? Oh right, Nana:)
    Thank goodness mom stopped smoking, can you imagine mom with a talking gadget?

  4. Pingback: Smoking is Scary | Death To Hollywood

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