The Directors

You thought this was going to be about Spielberg, Scorcese and Cecil B. DeMille, didn’t ya?

Nope, it’s about a group of funky funeral directors I know.

I lived across from the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home for almost 4 decades, befriending many of its workers.     Unknown-4.jpeg

For the record, Campbell is the last stop for the rich and famous including Judy Garland, for whom their chapel is named for.

Anyone well known, even if it’s just for packaging, like John Lennon and Kate Spade who were both cremated, their last stop is Campbell.

This morning, a funeral was about to commence at St. Ignatius Loyola, New York’s  second, next to St. Patrick’s, biggest, most esteemed Catholic Church. It’s where Jackie Kennedy, Lena Horne, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Aaliyah and Oscar de la Renta all had their funeral masses.

I stood watching this group of men in their black best, hands serenely folded behind their backs, wait like solemn soldiers for the hearse to pull up with the current guest-of-honor.

They saw me spying, smiling slyly but never breaking stance, all guys I’ve sat with snacking on chips while hearing stories on a slow day.

Rumor has it, before they launched the show, 6 Feet Under, the writers grilled a director who shall remain nameless, they should have handsomely paid as a consultant.

How does one decide to become an undertaker anyway? One guy said, it was in his blood, since his dad and granddad were one.

Another claimed, he always had a fascination for the dead that led to Embalming School.

One of their more resident screwballs told me...like hey, it’s a business that never grows cold, I mean, you know what I mean, right? wink wink.

Yeah, sure I do…will you excuse me?

I can’t imagine dating someone who chronically smells like formaldehyde and frozen gladiolas, yet they’re all married with families, nice cars and high-end homes.

When the hearse finally pulls up like a black, shiny chariot, 6 pallbearers that could have been members of the Gambino family, hop out, opening the back, easing out their charge.

The casket was one of their Rolls Royce models that could easily feed Somalia, a shame really, when you think about it, but then again, when you have big bucks, all bets are off, and I mean off, when you’re going Unknown-5.jpeg for that last ride.   Unknown-2.jpeg

SB

 

 

 

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About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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44 Responses to The Directors

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    The Gambinos? … It seems you never know who you will see.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dale says:

    Love this, Susannah. And I dunno that I could date one with that particular cologne, either.
    I used to love watching Six Feet Under and can understand your fascination with their biz.
    Enjoyable read. I do love the way you write.

    Like

  3. Eilene Lyon says:

    Interesting observations. Some people really just are fascinated by death and corpses. I’ve met a few.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating. I gave thought to becoming a funeral director as my second choice for careers. Interesting, I thought, still do. Probably the big reason for the marriages is that, if in my town, the director brings in say $3,000 of the $10-15,000 average, he would may around $150,000 year which is probably right and that’s a small town.
    Or there’s lots of showers, I suppose.
    Scott

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know a student at the university who is studying to be a mortician. She loves to talk about it. It’s just a calling for some people and I’m glad they can make good money at it since I would never want to do that sort of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like referring it as a calling. Yes. It would have to be. I read a book once by a woman who actually worked at Campbell called…Good Mourning. It was very interesting. Well like they say, someone has to do it. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. robprice59 says:

    I’d opt for a bin bag on the council tip, if it was allowed. Funerals are a rip-off. Also, it will be the ultimate irony, when they start molly-coddling my body, after I’ve abused it for sixty plus years. Why do folk get so wound up about a lump of dead meat?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. skinnyuz2b says:

    Interesting neighbors, Susannah. I’m sure they have many tales to tell.
    My first steady beau was an assistant mortician. My youngest step-brother is half owner of a funeral home, where one of his sisters also works. They show such empathy and care for the deceased. I admit I couldn’t work there.
    I’m remembering a movie from the ’80s, Night Shift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s certainly a very special profession. I did love watching 6 Feet Under. How Claire drove a hearse to school. I know I’m not a big wake goer after being forced so often as a kid. It’s so Italian. My mother scanned the obits daily my dad referred to as, The Italian Racing Form 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I can never imagine where you will next find inspiration. Maybe this was a dead beat.

    In any case, I’m still laughing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Vasca says:

    One of our sons worked evenings and nights for a local funeral business; he had lots of tales to tell, some were funny and many were downright hair raising. His shift was usually dead so he spent lots of hours playing the organ to amuse his sleeping audience…no complaints ever! I doubt the man he worked for had a calling unless it was the cash call. Well, someone must do the transformation thing; I’m thankful it isn’t me. That perfume doesn’t remotely appeal to this girl. Good writing.

    Like

  10. Sorryless says:

    I wanted a Viking funeral, but it seems the authorities frown on such ceremonies. I swear, taking every last bit of my happiness, even from the other side . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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