By Yvette Venables
This can be the memoir of an East finish undertaker, Stan Cribb, who started his apprenticeship elderly simply fourteen, burying the sufferers of London's Blitz.
During the final century, East finish families had a different dating with their neighborhood undertakers as a result of huge households and excessive mortality premiums. considering that he can bear in mind, Stan Harris (more generally called Stan Cribb), spent his weekends captivated via the goings-on at his grandparents' funeral domestic. At fourteen, and lots more and plenty to the reluctance of his father, he dons his first swimsuit and joins the kin enterprise as an apprentice to his quick-tempered uncle.
Entering the occupation at a time while an undertaker's function uncovered them to the brutal realities of worldwide battle II, Stan spends his teenage years recuperating lifeless our bodies in the dead of night and status protect over funeral carriages in the course of air raids. After the struggle, with unfailing strong humour, Stan takes us on a trip via his nationwide provider, marriage and unpredictable existence as an East finish undertaker.
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Additional info for An East End Farewell: Memoirs of an Apprentice Undertaker during the Blitz and Beyond: The Life of Stan Cribb
To save money, I walked home. The dark, cracked pavement glittered in the heat. Back at my parents’ apartment, I’d tiptoe into the kitchen and make myself a Kahlúa and milk, then carry the clinking glass to my bedroom and sip it as I counted out my tips. I’d smooth each dollar bill lovingly, fanning them out on my bedspread. On a good night, I earned over seventy-five bucks; on a bad night, less than forty. My parents’ apartment overlooked rows of dilapidated brownstones, their backyards strewn with rusted baby carriages, disemboweled sofas, plastic pink flamingos bleached to the color of an infection.
The muscle in his jaw spasmed. He had a long patrician face and pewter-colored hair clipped close to his skull. He looked like a pained greyhound. Asia was a cesspool, he said loudly. Didn’t we know that? It was Third World, rice fields and shanties, filthy children, beggars in the streets. Of course, he’d only been to Tokyo, back in the seventies. But trust him. Oriental culture was perverse. Those men had schoolgirl fetishes. They read pornography openly on the subways, and nobody ever went jogging.
If a country had skyscrapers, refrigerators, and televisions, I figured it was pretty much the same as the United States. If it had houses, diets, or skirts made entirely of foliage, it wasn’t. My concepts of places were nothing less than bad poems: clichés lazily cobbled together. Hong Kong, to me, was simply an abstraction—the home of cheap novelty key rings, yo-yos, see-through pencil cases. I somehow imagined we’d be sleeping in a rice paddy. Yet when I showed our driver the address, he gunned the cab onto a wide concrete access ramp looping down into a tunnel, a serpentine of white tiles and sodium lights sucking us back and forth beneath the bay.
An East End Farewell: Memoirs of an Apprentice Undertaker during the Blitz and Beyond: The Life of Stan Cribb by Yvette Venables