Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home
When her beloved Aunt Mary passed away, 15-year-old Sheri Booker sought solace in an unusual summer job — at the Albert P. Wylie Funeral Home in the heart of Baltimore.
Booker’s new memoir, Nine Years Under, describes the job that became a nine-year career and lifelong fascination with the business of burials.
“After Aunt Mary died, I felt like I needed closure,” Booker explains. “I wanted answers. I wanted to make sure that she was in good hands, so I found a way into the funeral home, and it was only supposed to be a summer, but it ended up being nine years!”
Sheri Booker is a writer, educator and spoken-word artist living in Baltimore.
The job gave Booker a unique view of inner-city Baltimore at a time when drugs and gang violence terrorized the neighborhoods. Young men she knew from high school routinely ended up on display in the Wylie Funeral home. As these young homicide victims came to the funeral home, sometimes the violence followed them there.
“We actually had a shootout at the funeral home one day when I was there,” Booker says. “All of a sudden, you just heard all this chaos, and people were running up the stairs and just banging, and come to find out there was a drive-by right outside the funeral home, someone was trying to shoot this young man’s brother.”
Eventually, Booker reached her ceiling at the funeral home and decided to leave the co-workers she had come to think of as family. But, she says, she hasn’t thrown in the towel completely.
“My ultimate goal is to own my own funeral home one day,” Booker says. And while she hopes to make her establishment a family-run business, she wouldn’t want her own daughter employed in one.
“You know, I was ready to face death at that point in my life, and I can’t say that the next American or the next person would be able to handle something as great as that and the responsibility that it has.”
Photo: Alvin Gray/Courtesy Gotham Books
DISRUPT Media is a full-service creative agency built for the now. We partner with death care companies to drive deep-rooted brand loyalty and measurable leads through social media.
More Fans. More Conversations. More Leads.
Ryan is also the founder of ConnectingDirectors.com. ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com Ryan has created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
Latest posts by Ryan Thogmartin (see all)
- What Happens When Arlington Cemetery Runs Out of Space? - June 5, 2018
- The Biggest Problem In Your Funeral Home Isn’t What You Think - May 8, 2018
- Walmart Takes One More Step Into The Funeral Industry With Funeral Potatoes - April 26, 2018
You may be interested
10 Visionary Death Care Entrepreneurs Revolutionizing How We DieJustin Crowe - June 20, 2018
Looking at the business that these 10 death care entrepreneurs have created, there is an overwhelming sense of certainty that…
Mean Internet Comments – Funeral EditionCDFuneralNews - June 20, 2018
We shine a light on some of the harsh words posted on social media towards DISRUPT Media's CEO, Ryan Thogmartin.…
FTC Releases Results of Undercover Funeral Rule Investigation… 4 Regions BombedJustin Crowe - June 18, 2018
The FTC has released its report detailing the results of its undercover Funeral Rule investigation for 2017. Last year, the…