Tag Archives: Odds and Ends

The madam of Birmingham

The madam of Birmingham

In 1873, Louise Wooster was a well paid lady of the evening (don’t you just love this term?) when a deadly cholera epidemic swept through Birmingham, Alabama. Several thousand people fled the city, but Lou stayed to nurse the sick, feed the hungry, and prepare the dead for funerals.

After the epidemic, she moved to Montgomery, Alabama to open a brothel, but by 1880, Lou had returned to Birmingham operating multiple brothels near City Hall where she could attract the wealthiest patrons. She made a fortune, donated heavily to charities and frequently came to the aid of fallen women.


Lou was also known as “the women of many lovers”, the last sweetheart of John Wilkes Booth, the actor, who killed Abraham Lincoln. She chronicled her exploits in a book called Autobiography of a Magdalene.

Want to know more? Check out this article: Early Birmingham madam who saved sick will have scrapbook in history center.




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The irony of funeral home names

Matchbook cover 4

Van Wormer needs a little thought (worms), but the Byrn Funeral Home definitely made me look twice.

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Filed under Humor, Odds and Ends, What's In a Name?

Going once…going twice…


…to the lady in the red hat!

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Arkansas Coffin Company

Matchbook cover.3

I must admit that using matchbooks as advertising (Gosh, real bad cough you got there. You a smoker? Here, have a matchbook.) seems a wee bit ghoulish.

Nonetheless, I still think the Chapel of the Palms sounds more like one of those quickie Las Vegas wedding places than a funeral home.

Thanks for sending this over, JoAnne!


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Old surfers never die…

Forever surfing

They just get board.

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Filed under Odds and Ends, Snapshot Stories

Individuality appears

Individuality appears

This little pocket of individuality in a sea of conforming military headstones, is located in San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio.

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Cemetery Traditions in Japan

Jizo statue

Many thanks to J. Matsumura for sending this excerpt my way. If you ever wondered about the reason behind the Jizo statues marking the graves of Japanese children, here’s an enlightening excerpt from the August 1, 1913 issue of the Enumclaw Herald:

“Among the Buddhists in Japan it is believed that the souls of children go farther after death to Sue-no-ha-wara (the stony river-bed) and there they remain until they reach maturity under the care of Jizobosatsu, who is represented as a priest with a long cane in one hand and ball in the other.

He is said to stand in the center of the Kawara, where he preaches to the children as they pile up stones, one for the salvation of their father, one for the mother, the third for brothers, the fourth for sisters and the fifth for their own salvation.

When night comes and the wind blows hard a gigantic evil spirit appears and with huge iron rod knocks down the heaps of stones which the children have made, and they are so frightened that they run to Jizo and hide themselves in the big sleeves of his Kimono, which have a miraculous way of increasing in size according to the number of children who seek refuge. Then the evil spirit disappears and the children begin again the work of heaping up the stones.

Passing these cemeteries in Japan, one sees tombs that have the image of Jizo carved upon them, as the parents take that way of going the special favor of Jizo for their children, and one will see little piles of stones built up by the parents and brothers and sisters of the children with the hope of helping in the tedious work of the little ones in the Kawara.”

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