Cheerleader Shares Stories of Funeral Home Life

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Emily Adams: Explain why you lived next to a funeral home growing up.

Alice F.: "I lived right down the street, less than a quarter of a mile. It was within walking distance and I would walk there a lot. It was my great-grandfather who started it, then my grandfather took over, then my dad from there. My grandfather's house is right across the street from the funeral home — about 100 feet. It's where my dad grew up and my uncle. It's just been our entire family. My whole family works there. My mom does the flowers for the funeral home. A whole family business."

EA: What was it like?

AF:"Since I grew up with it from such a young age, I didn't understand why other people thought it was so strange. I thought of it as normal life. When I was younger, I would wake up, go to school. Most of the time I'd walk back to the funeral home because my school was right next to the funeral home and I'd go see my dad and hang out there. Then I'd walk back home. Me and my friends would hang out in the funeral home and pretend we were in a band. We would go into the chapel and turn on the mic and sing songs. We didn't even think about how people were having funerals in there and constantly having dead bodies all around. I just didn't really think about it. It was normal life."

EA: When did you get to the age when you realized it was different?

AF:"It was in high school. People started asking me about it. 'Is that weird? Your dad is the one that owns the funeral home, right?' 'Yeah,' I'd say. 'That's so crazy.' It was kind of that punk and Goth phase when people thought they were really cool and they wore black all the time. My friends thought it was funny and went to Hot Topic and got a shirt that said, 'I put the FUN in Funeral.' Which is funny because it turned out my mom got shirts made for us and we wore them as a joke on Halloween."

EA: What was the creepiest thing that ever happened?

AF::"There are stories. It was my great-grandfather that died in the funeral home. There is an apartment in the funeral home. He died in the shower. There are all these stories that say that people haunt the funeral home. We own the house next door, which is my great-uncle's, and we think that my great-uncle haunts that place. But he's a good ghost. We talk about it all the time. We go there and we'll open the shutters, then they'll be closed. Plants will be moved. Things will be out of place. But they are good ghosts."

EA: Do you think anyone who has gone through the funeral home haunts it?

AF:"Probably. We get along with the most of our families. I don't think they'd do anything bad to us. They'd probably just play some jokes on us which is normal."

EA: Were you ever around any of the dead people?

AF:"Definitely. I helped my dad. I worked there throughout the summers in high school and college. I was officially on payroll, and still am when I go home."

EA: What is that like?

AF:"It doesn't really bother me unless it's a bad situation. I've helped my dad and I think he is an artist now. He can transform someone into looking like their old self. It's really cool to see, especially when the family is really upset. They'll give us a picture of the person and how they want to remember them. I've watched my dad make this person look healthy again, like their old self. It's amazing to see. I think that's really been an inspiration to me. The fact that we can do this for people and it's the last thing they see, it's cool."

EA: Was it a little spookier around Halloween?

AF:"We made it spooky. We would dress up and watch scary movies in the chapel; we'd pull down the screen. I didn't know my dad had all this planned, and he asked, 'Oh, do you guys want to go on a tour?' I was like, 'Sure.' Me and a bunch of my friends went on a tour. I didn't know he had my uncle lying in a casket. He was like, 'Oh, I'm sorry, there's a body in here. We'll just walk through really quickly.' Then he was like, 'Oh, hang on just a second, his tie's messed up. Let me fix it.' He was fixing my uncle's tie, then walks away. My uncle popped up and said, 'Thank you,' and then went back down in the casket. My friends literally screamed to death and ran out of the funeral home."

EA: Did you ever play pranks on people throughout the year? Around Halloween?

AF:"Oh yeah, all the time. We like to scare people. My dad keeps this animal down in the bottom of the funeral home called the Mongoose. He likes to scare people with it. He'll bring it out and it'll pop out. People will scream and run away. That's a classic. I always like to tell how my aunt and uncle live in the funeral home. They like to scare all my friends."

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