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More weird deaths…

Following my last post of quirky death possibilities, here are a few I’ve known about myself.

ISADORA DUNCAN, MOTHER OF MODERN DANCE

American dancer Isadora Duncan, (1927-1977) known as the mother of modern dance, was strangled by her own long scarf which got tangled in the rear hubcaps of her open car while driving in France. (She was right to avoid ballet. Feet are destroyed by dancing on your toes.) Duncan had, herself suffered a terrible loss. Both her children and their nanny drowned when their car rolled into the Seine.

I paid my respects at her grave while visiting the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

THE FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD SIGN
ACTRESS PEG ENTERWHISTLE

I lived for awhile in the Hollywood Hills of L.A and passed the famous sign every night driving home from work. I couldn’t help but think of actress Peg Entwistle, who leapt to her death from that high sign. Peg (1908-1932) was only 24. In her suicide note, she started by saying ‘I am afraid, I am a coward, I am sorry for everything… Peg was distressed because roles didn’t come her way. I believe I once read an offer of a role reached her father a few days after her death.

I once had a neighbour who was a compulsive hoarder. We worried about fire from all the papers and magazines. We also worried about the woman having to manoeuvre around and over all the stacked stuff. Her bed was piled high and couldn’t be slept in. (She apparently slept with her sister nearby.) We were required to clear out her apartment.

MY BROTHER’S KEEPER, BY MARCIA DAVENPORT

THE COLLYER BROTHERS, COMPULSIVE HOARDERS

Our manager suggested I read ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ by Marcia Davenport. I did — and will never forget it. It is a true story about Langley and Homer Collyer, who lived in a 5th Avenue Manhattan Mansion they inherited from their mother. They never married. They never worked. Money was not a problem. They also never threw anything out. At their deaths in 1947, they’d accumulated more than 140 tons of dilapidated stuff.

HOMER’S CHAIR

The brothers feared intruders and set up traps. Langley, himself, was caught in one and crushed to death by trash falling from above. He was on his way to bring brother Homer some food. Homer, who was paralyzed and confined to an old, rotting chair, died about 12 days later from starvation.

ABOUT 140 TONS OF HOARDED STUFF WAS REMOVED AFTER THEIR DEATHS

Interesting book. Read it if you can. It IS fascinating.

Sorry fellas, I’m still here…

photo by Chandra

In July 2007, I received a letter from an insurance company with whom I have a small annuity. They pay me about $230 a year around my birthday, which is in July.


The letter, addressed to ‘Estate of (me)’ says:

‘Dear Sir/Madam:

We have recently been advised of the death of (me). On behalf of (them) please accept my deepest sympathy on your loss.

In order to determine our requirements we require the following:

1) Date of death

2) Name and address of the person handling the Estate

Upon receipt of this information, I will write you regarding this policy.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely, etc.’

My death was a total surprise to me

My death at the time was a total surprise to me, and since I did have a concern, I called the guy who signed the letter and asked how come I hadn’t been advised of my death and he had.

I also asked who told him I died. He personally didn’t know because he’s only the guy who writes the letters.

I was deeply saddened to learn of my demise.


I was deeply saddened to learn of my demise as you can imagine. I still had some mischief in mind.

Was I really dead? Was I a ghost? I tried walking through my bedroom wall, it wasn’t a good idea. All I got for my effort was a bruised nose. Oh, well — I was obviously still here.

Was I a ghost?

Concerned about losing the $200 they’d already mailed me, they had immediately put a stop payment on the cheque I’d just received, signed and deposited at my bank. It had to be replaced later so they at least got to hold on to my two hundred bucks longer. I hope that made up for the disappointment of my not being dead.

Well fellas, I’m still here…


Well, here it is 2020, and while looking for something else, I found their old letter. How can anyone throw away a gem like that? When was the last time you were notified of your death?


Well, sorry fellas, I’m still here and have no plans of checking out soon. I intend to stick around and make trouble for as long as I can. I’m not quite done with this adventure yet.

Pedestrians vs. Motorists.

screaming

Left your patience at home?

What’s going on? There seems to be a senseless battle in my town between pedestrians and motorists, and you’d think we who are older and supposedly wiser wouldn’t participate in the madness, but it ain’t necessarily so. Where has our common sense gone? Lives are destroyed and ended in a crazy game of ‘I dare you!’

pedongroung

Real lives are destroyed

 

 

 

I’m no longer driving which makes me a pedestrian. My opinion, however, hasn’t changed. My active imagination always saw my car as a possible killing machine bigger than you and capable of doing major damage, so I didn’t like driving and was extra careful.

 

letmecross

C’mon, let me cross

It was thus a surprise to learn the adversaries in this combat include my contemporaries. Over lunch, a driving friend told me, during an angry diatribe against all pedestrians, that she never, ever stops for pedestrians if they are not at a corner or in a crosswalk.

‘I don’t care,’ she declared, ‘They’re breaking the law.’ What? Is this what we’ve become?

Another driver recently called pedestrians ‘pestrians’ in my presence. I nearly choked on my coffee.

Meanwhile, non-driving friends complain about drivers who whiz by and don’t stop for them when they absolutely should. No one wins in this crap game.

freecemetary

No one wins…

cellphone

pack some patience, but leave your phone at home

C’mon everyone. Let’s leave home a few minutes earlier and pack some patience in the car — stay away from your cellphone and look out for those stupid pedestrians who cross the street looking at theirs.

Graveyards, worth a visit…

Muriel2017It’s been a busy time, so haven’t had time to write earlier. However going through my bookshelves, I found a small book ‘Comic Epitaphs: from the very best old graveyards’ published by Peter Pauper Press. Daughter Susan, who knows I enjoy old graveyards, bought it for me and some of the epitaphs in it are hilarious.

When Susan and I first visited Victoria together, we wandered through their old cemetery looking for Artist Emily Carr’s grave — in the rain. Much to my regret, we never found it.

I’ve wandered through many old graveyards on trips to Europe,

PereLachaise2

Pere Lachaise

but my very favorite is the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Once I spent a whole day there (except for a lunch break), following my carefully-marked map on which I’d circled all the composers, authors, and other special famous people who deserved special attention.

OscarWildePereLachaise

Oscar Wilde’s grave at Pere Lachaise

 

As I made my rounds along the ancient paths at Pere Lachaise, I noticed a moss-covered old crypt with my own family’s surname on it, but by that time was too tired to inquire at the office to try to learn more about them.

 

Here are a few epitaphs from the book Susan gave me. I hope you get as much of a kick out of them as I do.

Here lies Ann Mann

She lived an old maid

But died an old Mann
(Manchester)crossescolor

 

 

 

 

 

 

grim reaper

Here lies Pecos Bill

He always lied

And always will

He once lied loud

He now lies still
(Grand Forks)

 

 

 

Sacred to the memoryskelitons
Of Anthony Drake
Who died for peace
And dear quietness’ sake.
His wife was forever
Scoldin’ and scoffin’
So he sought repose
In a $12 coffin
(Marietta)

 

 

oldjewishcemetBudapest

Old Jewish Cemetery I visited in Budapest

 

Jonathan Grober
Died dead sober
Lord thy wonders
Never cease
(Clinkerton)

 

 

 

Owen Moore
Gone away
Owin’ more
Than he could pay
(Battersea)

Angel

 

Here lies a father of 29
There would have been more
But he didn’t have time
(Moultrie)

 

 

[On an infant]

Since I have been so
Quickly done for,
I wonder what I was
Begun for
Hammondport)

Here lies my wife
A slattern and shrew
If I said I missed her
I should lie here too!
(Selby)