The Pious Infant tells the story of Little Henry Clump, the boy who was too good to live long. At the end of this wonderful tale by Edward Gorey, "Henry Clump's little body turned to dust in the grave, but his soul went up to God."
In 1979, I met my partner Bill while attending my first year of college at The Philadelphia College of Art (PCA). As most colleges do, PCA held a Halloween Dance on October 31st. As we were both completely enamored with the work of Edward Gorey, Bill decided to go to the festivities dressed as an "Edward Gorey Person". He wore pale make-up, acquired a straw hat and an old dark suit from the local thrift stores and walked with a cane. To complete the costume, he decided to impale "Little Henry Clump" at the end of his cane! Of course, he had to have a "Little Henry Clump", so he got busy sewing.
We still have Bill's Henry Clump hand-made doll who, despite being impaled on his cane and spending the evening on the floor, and with a few restorations, survived remarkably well. Bill removed him from the tip of the cane and tucked him away safely. Unbeknownst to me, Henry came with us the following year when we moved to Minneapolis to complete our educations at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, but Bill wasn't finished with him yet!
As a surprise gift to me, Bill decided that Henry missed his final resting place and made a coffin for him to reside in. I am quite sure that many of our friends and family thought we were crazy, but our "Gorey Friends" understood! The wooden coffin is lined in white satin, has a comfortable satin pillow and in the tradition of the coffins of yesterday, it has a viewing window. For several years, Henry in his coffin was our "coffin table", and he still comes out as part of our Halloween decor each October.