At the Fillmore Street flat in San Francisco, a full day of appointments awaited Inez Burns as well as deliveries of surgical equipment and “anaesthetic gases.”
“She was so much into her business–she was a workaholic who didn’t trust anyone else to perform the abortions,” said granddaughter Caroline Carlisle. “People say she would have been a wonderful physician.”
Always cautious in running her business, Inez developed a secret language, shared with intimates, including her granddaughter. The secret code included the odd phrase, “nee-dash,” which meant “shut up” when the police were nearby.
In Inez L. Burns’ language, the made-up word, “glanthon,” substituted for money, used to protect the location of cash hidden in the Guerrero Street home, especially the large, black safe kept in Inez’s room filled with her custom-made, large-brimmed hats.
Over a 30-year period, thousands of women visited Burns at her Fillmore Street flat.
She also arranged special “appointments,” necessitating travel to New York, Seattle and Los Angeles.
In her careful handwriting, Inez penciled in the names of patients in dime store notebooks colored red, black, green and yellow, keeping track of their case histories and the amount of fees paid. The figures she entered in the colorful notebooks did not tally with the much smaller amounts she deposited in an account at a nearby bank.
…To Be Continued…