February 22, 2005

Back when I was doing this job, I developed friendships with a number of my coworkers, including Y.T. Y.T. was a cheerful woman from some place in the midwest whose open face and sprightly demeanor allowed her to make viciously cruel jokes about our bosses to their faces without their realizing it. Almost all of our bosses deserved to have viciously cruel jokes about them to their faces, and she spared the ones who didn’t, so that was all right.

One day, as we were talking about our respective childhoods, she said that her house had been filled with flowers while she had been growing up.

“But I thought you said you grew up dirt poor,” I said, confused. “How could you afford to buy flowers all the time?”

“Oh, we didn’t,” she replied. “My mother would take me to local cemeteries where funerals were happening, and we’d hide behind nearby gravestones until they were over. When the mourners had all gone, we’d come out from behind the gravestones and steal the flowers and take them home.” She paused. “Not all of them. Just the ones we thought were pretty.”

I thought it was cool when my mother let me skip school and took me to see The Empire Strikes Back, but this woman was in another league entirely.

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8 Responses to Back when I was doing

  1. anapestic says:

    What I like about this story is that they hid behind the gravestones during the funeral, as if they had to get a jump on all the other people who were out to take the flowers. Tough town, I reckon.

    Reply
  2. adrienne says:

    I can’t decide if that’s either the most amusing or horrifying story I’ve ever heard.

    Reply
  3. David says:

    My mother let me skip school and took me to see Return of the Jedi. I suppose she was a little late on the bandwagon.

    Reply
  4. Brian says:

    This was, of course, until they were old enough to do some heavy lifting. Then they exhumed the bodies to make off with any jewelry buried with the deceased.

    Reply
  5. Todd says:

    My mom once let me skip school to meet Cyndi Lauper, following her debut release “She’s So Unusual”.

    God, I’m old.

    Reply
  6. Vikram says:

    In Bombay, where I’m writing this from, there are guys who sell flowers at traffic signals who get many of their flowers from funeral and other bouquets. Once in the monsoon I saw one of them by the roadside carefully picking long pink worms out of a bouquet of lovely deep red roses. It’s nice to think of that everytime Valentine’s Day comes around.

    Reply
  7. Monica says:

    As far as grave-robbing goes, this picture is my favorite:
    link to literaryneworleans.com
    This picture was taken by my friend Beverly–every year on the Day of the Dead, the two of us go to the pauper’s cemetary here and pay our respects (ie, we bring flowers). There’s one grave that has a can of beer embedded in the cement of the headstone–I guess New Orleans people have learned not to take any chances!

    Reply
  8. clayton springer says:

    i hate to break it to ya, but i think she was feeding you a line. just like she did to those bosses she made fun of…

    Reply

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