Source: Asheville Citizen Times
Written By: Emily Patrick
Carol Motley would stop at funeral homes and say she was dying. She was in her 20s then — about 20 years ago — and she was conducting market research for her cardboard coffin company. She wasn’t terminally ill, but the allusion to death gave her an in with the funeral directors. Still, she wasn’t lying, she explained. Everyone is dying — eventually.
“I just wanted to get a hang of it,” she said. “I visited so many. Y’all wouldn’t believe. Coffee at a funeral home? Blah.”
She started asking questions about the funeral industry when her grandmother died in 1996. Bondell Adams was something of a classic Southern grandma, living in Alabama, holding down traditions, teaching the younger generation to compost. She played chess while smoking a pipe, which Motley calls “typical Southern weirdness.” Apple cider vinegar was her cure-all when she felt sick, and she scrupulously saved objects that seemed useful — rubber bands, used tea bags, plastic tops, oatmeal containers. In a sepia-toned photo from the ’40s, she looks like Motley with short hair curling playfully around her ears.
But when she died, the process didn’t fit her personality.