The Pencil Sharpener

 One thing I really don’t understand and that there was never an explanation for was the fact that the only good pencil sharpener in the house was in the morgue. Doing your math homework usually included a trip down the basement to sharpen your pencil, and of course, if there was a funeral going on, we had to use dull pencils. For someone who valued education so much (dad), you think he would’ve sprung for a couple of extra pencil sharpeners. Sure, we had the little hand ones that are only good for sharpening eye liner because with real pencils, they usually sharpen them so much that the tip breaks off and you have to start all over again. We spent more time trying to sharpen our pencils than doing our homework.

So, because the good pencil sharpener was down the basement, we had to go down two flights of stairs and many times there would be a dead person or two within close proximity.  It was fun for me and my siblings to wait until one of us went down there alone, and then we’d shut the light off and close the basement door and hold it shut.  It’s not that we were really scared, but it’s always a creepy feeling to get locked in a basement with no light on, dead bodies or not.

My brother loves to scare people, so usually if I was the one being locked in the basement he would go hide somewhere and whoever was holding the basement door shut would quickly run upstairs. When I would finally burst through the door on my way upstairs my brother would jump out from behind a door or something and scare the shit out of me. This is what we went through just to sharpen our pencils.

Like most siblings, we tortured each other. When my oldest sister was going on a date, while she was in her bedroom getting ready, my other sister and I would dig out her elementary school pictures. We would choose the ugliest pictures we could find of her, with a big gap in her teeth and bad hair, and tape them to the wall so her date would see them when he came to pick her up.

This is me, but this is the kind of picture we'd hang of my sister. Nice teeth, nice hair!

She usually would see them before the date arrived and would be frantically ripping the pictures down while Kris and I sat there giggling. We also tortured each other when we were in the bathroom. For example, when we were teenagers, no matter who was in the shower, one of us would pound on the door and say “Stop masturbating.” I know it’s sick. Did you discourage your siblings from masturbating?

A few years ago I reminded my dad of how we used to torture each other while trying to sharpen our pencils and asked him why he didn’t put a good one upstairs. I said, “You bought Mom a fur coat and you couldn’t get us a decent pencil sharpener on the second floor?” He laughed and said, “I wanted you to learn how to whittle.”

Look what I have now!!







BONUS PICTURES: I found some better pictures of the funeral home yesterday when I was looking for a picture of one of our dead dogs.

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

7 Responses to The Pencil Sharpener

  1. klpeach says:

    i love the sound of old school pencil sharpeners. but, this thing called “modernism” happened and i made the switch to mechanical pencils. i feel however that the mechanical pencil will always remain inferior to the wood pencil in the same way a mechanical bull is to, well, a real bull.

    happy tues, short week!

  2. You are hysterical anhd always make my day! I hope someone in Hollywood is reading this because this totally could be a sitcom. On the subject of pencil sharpeners….it is a well documented fact that Upper Darby is full of basement pencil sharpeners….I would point out this particular “feature” when showing homes to buyers but rarely were they impressed! My theory was that they put them down there so the pencil shaving could just accumulate on the floor and no one would care…very scientific!
    Great pics of the house! I did a FB post a few weeks ago that Saint Alice is celebrating their 90th Anniversary this year starting in October and there will be various events throughout the year. I will post them as I hear about them. Not sure if that is something your mom would enjoy. Since my dad still lives on Copley Road, I would be happy to get you some recent shots of the old homestead..let me know!

    • I can’t believe people weren’t impressed with basement pencil sharpeners…apparently they’re the only good ones. Definitely keep me posted on the St. Alice stuff and if you ever think to get pics while in the hood, I’d love to see the house now.

  3. mothersgrace says:

    Okay, looking at the picture of your new pencil sharpener, all I can say is, “What would Freud say??!!”

    Ha, ha, ha!

  4. Kris says:

    I can still feel the creepy feeling when the basement light went off and the door shut!! That pencil shapener was a good one…. Just don’t make them like that anymore:) love the picture, Cee….oh those teeth!! Whittle….only dad would come up with that… it!

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