Moving into the 1930s Valente Marini Perata Funeral Home journals, a new information category appears on the page: Occupation. Men have occupations, none of which are in the professional class as we know it. And, in their late 50s and older, they shift to “retired.” After entering hundreds of female deaths, the only occupation so far has been h.w. for housewife. No women get to be retired.
With this woman, Maria Holdner, she not only is not a housewife; she is a milker. Imagine that. And where would she be doing the milking in San Francisco in1936? The other interesting fact about this entry is the cost of the funeral. Funerals, on average, $250 to $325. This one is $418; far above the norm. How does a milker who is single ever save enough money to pay that amount.
Then we have the cause of death: “Specimen to pathologist.” Not a good sign. I don’t think the pathologist would be involved if the cow had something to do with her death.
The only clue is who paid for the funeral: William Crosby of Burlingame (of Crosby-N. Gray & Co Funeral Home).
You are invited to submit possible scenarios for this conundrum.
By Jean Ann Carroll