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Crazy Cemetery Stories: Oh, Mother!

Updated on June 10, 2012

And now the fifth in my series based on my work at a large cemetery. Six years of working eight hours a day, sometimes six days a week, and on call nights and weekends, has left me with stories that would make your skin crawl just as much as make you laugh like never before. This little group of stories is all about dear old mom. I mean no disrespect to mothers, or their children. Nor do I take lightly the incredible loss that comes when a mother passes away. But sometimes laughter is the best medicine. And don’t you think mom would want you to be happy? So go ahead and laugh. You will be glad you did.

Step-Monster? How bad could she really be?
Step-Monster? How bad could she really be? | Source

The Step-Monster

Mr. Carlson passed away leaving behind a large group of adult children and a second wife, who they not so lovingly referred to as the step-monster. Exactly why, I am unsure. As far as I could tell the children were grown, or nearly so, before Mr. Carlson wed his second bride. So put all thoughts of childhood abuse or neglect out of your mind. Perhaps they did not approve of the union? This would certainly cause some tension. So might the fact that Mr. Carlson left everything to the step-monster in his will! I have a feeling they did gain a little piece of mind knowing that she at least did not get the burial plot. By law, ownership passed directly to the children. Second wives are out of luck. Step-monster can be buried in one of the available spaces, but she won’t be allowed to sell it out from under them like she did the house!

Some time passed and the children began inquiring if step-monster had bothered to mark the grave. She had not. Convinced that she was set on squandering her inheritance with no thought of her late husband’s memory, the children inquired about a grave marker. As owners of the plot, they are more than welcome to purchase and place something. Less than a week later, who called inquiring about placing a maker than the step-monster. As the one that made and paid for the funeral and burial services, she also has every right to memorialize her late husband. Now what? Will the gaggle of kids and the monster have to agree on how to mark the grave? I see a feud on the horizon with a poor undeserving memorial advisor caught in the middle.

Well, there was no feud. This particular cemetery allows two markers per grave - one at the head and one at the foot. So rather than his grave go unmarked while widow and children hash it out over emblems and inscriptions, Mr. Carlson is doubly memorialized. The advisor even went as far as to have the markers placed at the same time. She was not about to give those nuts one more thing to quibble over. I am not sure if anyone was really happy at the end. And that is no one’s fault but theirs. That woman must have done something right to steal away their inheritance. Or they did something awfully wrong to lose it. Regardless, if they cared so much about dear old dad, maybe they would have footed the funeral bill instead of leaving it for the step-monster.

Was her favorite color pink? Blue? Was it roses but no daisies, or the other way around? This should cover it!
Was her favorite color pink? Blue? Was it roses but no daisies, or the other way around? This should cover it! | Source

The Ugly Flowers

Norma Byrd’s daughter was a frequent visitor of the office. Her mother was entombed in one of the large mausoleums. On the very top row. Her crypt included a vase for flowers, but it was far too high for her daughter to reach. Periodically, Norma’s daughter would come to the office with a floral arrangement. Sometimes one of the guys was available right then and she would accompany him to the crypt as he placed the flowers for her. Other times there was no one available, or she was in a rush, and she left the flowers to be placed later. The guys were always very careful to place the flowers securely. The last thing they wanted was the headache of me getting on their case about missing flowers. I made it very clear to them that I did not enjoy being reamed out by family members that came back only to visit an empty grave that had just been decorated, and I would gladly pass that misery on to them.

So you can imagine my amazement when Norma’s daughter showed up one day telling me that her mother’s flowers had fallen out of the vase. We both found it odd considering it had never happened before. She had the flowers, they had not blown away or been picked up. The flowers were securely replaced that day. Not too long after, she came back again. With the flowers. And a third time. At this point it had become ridiculous. There was nothing about the bouquet that would cause it to fit any differently than the others, or to catch the breeze any more. So I offered her the only explanation I could come up with. Clearly, her mother did not like those flowers and was tossing them out of the vase. I reminded her of the stories she had told me over the years about odd noises in the house, open cabinet doors, and other oddities since her mother’s passing. If mom can open the kitchen cabinet, she can yank some flowers out of a vase. It was time for a new bouquet anyway. The offending flowers were retired and subsequent arrangements continued to stay put.

It might serve you children well to learn mom’s tastes while you have the chance. If you think she is difficult to shop for now, good luck getting it right once she has passed on to the other side!

Something tells me when they designed a fire pit in the center of this table, they didn't have cremation in mind!
Something tells me when they designed a fire pit in the center of this table, they didn't have cremation in mind! | Source

An Odd Sort of Family Picnic

Upon calling the State Division of Cemeteries I was put on hold. An unusual occurrence. I was eventually greeted by the representative, a very knowledgeable lady, who could not help but tell me the reason for her delay. She had just spent quite a bit of time explaining to a family that, under no circumstances, would it be permissible to cremate their mother in their back yard. Yes. You read that right. Their beliefs required that the recently departed be cremated. Not at all unusual amongst a variety of religions and cultures. They insisted that this be done via a funeral pyre in the back yard. Had this request been made somewhere such as India, it would not be that out of the ordinary. However, in the suburbs of Upstate New York, it is not an everyday request. And it was definitely not a request that would be granted for reasons of public health and safety. Had it been allowed I am sure it would have been quite an event. Can you imagine the neighbors surprise as he walked out into the yard to fire up the grill only to find a very different sort of fire next door!

Oddly enough, it would have been perfectly legal for the family to bury their mother in the yard as long as it was deemed permissible by the health department. Whatever eventually transpired, I sincerely hope the family found a solution that served their needs. We wouldn’t want dear old om to be slamming cabinets and tossing flowers now would we!

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    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Tina Truelove - Glad you found my stories amusing! It was just as fun to live through them, maybe not at th emoment but always lookin gback. I do have many to tell and I will be getting to as many as I can becuase I love to tell them... Happy to have you following me. See you around the hubs!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      sgbrown - thanks for taking the timeto comment. I love the term "step-monster" as well. Always makes me chuckle. I also heard people called much worse, and I will keep those names to myself :)

      Thank you for the votes. Hope to have more of these to publish soon!

    • profile image

      Tina Truelove 5 years ago

      Hilarious stories! I would imagine you do indeed have many to tell. I am happy to "follow" you and I look forward to reading more.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I love these stories of yours! I bet you have seen and heard so many unusual things. I love the "step-monster" term. I hope I'm not referred to in that way some day! The flowers falling out of the vase, that is a little scary, but cool! Voting up and more!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Daisy - MY GOODNESS! What a wonderful compliment! It is an honor coming from a great hubber like you. I guess my odd need to share with peolple is finally coming in handy!. Thank you for taking the time to comment, words like yours are what keeps me writing,.. I am glad you like this series. I have another issue in the works.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Dana,

      This is such a great series of articles, one of the best in all of HubDom.

      You're a natural storyteller, my friend. I'd love to read more of your creative writing...please keep writing your stories.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      shea duane - starng doesn't begin to describe some of what went on there!!! Many of the little snippets could be full hubs, but creative writing is not my strong suit. This is my practice. I also enjoy giving the audience just a little teaser and letting their minds take it from there.... gald you liked it! :)

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

      Boy Dana, that is a strange story... that deserves a hub of its own!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      The lady tossing the flowers is the only "ghost" except one other: There is a young man in a cemetery niche and the lettering kept falling off his niche. It was the only one. Just a few letters at a time. Friends and family would bring them to us and we would put them back. And then different ones would fall off. The young man committed suicide by jumping off an overpass. One of my co-workers said the letters were jumping like he did. That still totally creeps me out.... The cemetery is only about 70 years old. So no old-timey ghosts.

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

      Another interesting hub. Any ghosts?

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Jools99 - If you think it is funny reading this stuff, you woulda loved to have been there with us through it. Some days I didn't know if I was working at a cemetery, circus, kindergarten, mental hosptital, or what!

      I admit, the flower thing was a little freaky. That is one of a few stories I have that come close to ghost stories. At least she stopped tossing them once her daugther got her something new! :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Dana, I do love your cemetery stories. The one about the step-monster is very funny but the flowers falling out of the vase freaked me out a bit!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Rosemary50 - We used to get stuck in the middle of all kinds of family drama. Some funny, some not. When you add up death, grief, money, family, etc., all kinds of crazy things happen! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      KDuBarry03 - Yes. These are fun to write. Who ever would have thought such wacky things go on at cemeteries.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Hilarious in a macabre kind of way. It must be a nightmare sometimes being caught in the middle of family arguments. At least the headsones turned ou to be a good compromise. I can't believe he left his kids nothing.

      I had to laugh at the ugly flowers, can't you just see her tossing them out.

      Enjoyed the read.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      You definitely told this story well with a comical discerning narrator! Highly enjoyed this story; can't waint to read the rest! And yes, this is definitely a form of macabre; it is a fun thing to write with :)

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Bob - That is exactly what we used to say about people! Speakin gof macabre, there are some odd burial requests I got over the years. When I figure out how to write about them I will link that hub you wrote about the vultures. That was a great one.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Bill - Thanks for the encouragement! I enjoy writing this series. IT's fun to throw one of these out there in between trying to figure out how to write all that other stuff :)

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hilarious. Sort of macabre, I supose. If people would spend more time with the living, perhaps their guilt wouldn't overflow at burial.

      Bob

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I never get tired of this series. You are finding your voice and doing well in the process. Keep it up my friend!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
      Author

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Teaches - I still can't believe he had 4 or 5 kids and left everything to his wife! I saw a copyof the will. They got nothing!

      Those flowers are kind of neat.Tie-dye roses.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You certainly have some interesting stories to tell. I found the compromise on the gravestones hilarious! Yes, too bad they didn't help foot the bill. I kind of like those flower. Thanks for sharing.