Friday, August 29, 2014

Prattville, Alabama

Defined by Our Helmets:  He never got a chance to carry the pigskin or roll with the Tide. He never got a chance to put on that football helmet and be a star. He lived but nine days, his family's dreams dashed. The dreams they had for their precious angel are now but granite memories of events that will never be. Memory Gardens Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Defined by Our Helmets: One imagines that the person buried here not only enjoyed football, but also played it actively when he was young. It is the one symbol that he, or his two children, decided to put on his headstone. Do you agree with William Wordsworth: "The child is father of the man"? Pineview Cemetery. [2012]

Monday, August 25, 2014

Greeley, Colorado

Defined by Our Helmets: On this grave stone, two symbols evoke images of an active life. This football helmet is empty, but the insinuation is clear: here lies someone who took the game seriously and let his dreams of being a star (see it?) play out on the gridiron. What do you communicate to others by what you wear on your head? Linn Grove Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, August 22, 2014

Zanesville, Ohio

Defined by Our Hats:  The principle is the same. Hats tell us something about the lives we lived. But, that's not the big story here. Look at the faces of these two brothers and the dates they died. Tragedy is the only possibility. Loosing a child must be every parent's worst nightmare, but loosing two at once? Unbearable. Are those headstones shaped like teardrops? Mt. Olive Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tampa, Florida

Defined by Our Hats:  What a sad commentary on society! He died young, only 20 years old. Study the headstone and look for the crutches. Then, read the hat. There's a special place for this one in heaven, a place where there is no hate, no rude remarks, and no crutches. Orange Hill Cemetery. [2014]

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sulphur Springs, Texas

Defined by Our Hats:  Some people are known by what they wear on their heads. Hats reveal personality and regional identity. All over the world, a cowboy hat just screams 'Texas' (apologies to the remainder of the western states). What else do you see here that just screams 'Texas'? Sulphur Springs City Cemetery. [2012]

Friday, August 15, 2014

Havana, Cuba

Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón: Here is the most popular grave in Colón Cemetery. Buried here is Amelia Goyri, who died during childbirth in 1903. When the remains were to be exhumed, the bodies were found to be perfectly preserved and 'La Milagrosa' was holding her baby in her arms. Women from all over the world visit, pray, and perform the prescribed ritual at the grave site. They are then able to conceive. Thank you notes on marble slabs are displayed near the tomb. [2014]

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Havana, Cuba

Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón: Colón Cemetery looks very European. Not an inch of space is wasted. Most vaults are above ground with covering slabs that can be lifted off. Do you see the rectangular rings that enable opening and closing? A body would be laid to rest in the tomb and allowed to decompose for at least three years. Then, the tomb would be opened and the bones removed to the small vault at the head of the grave, permitting another body to be buried. That's one way of maximizing use of cemetery space. [2014]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Havana, Cuba

Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón:  Arabs may be buried here, but they are not Muslims. Lebanese and Syrian Christians dispersed all over the world in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The ethnic neighborhoods they formed in host cities became the ethnic neighborhoods of city cemeteries. See any sign of assimilation?[2014]

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Havana, Cuba

Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón:  It looks familiar, doesn't it? That bat. It's on the firefighter's memorial in Colón ceemetery. Who helped sponsor the memorial?  The Bacardi clan. You know them for their rum, which was an outgrowth of the Cuban sugar industry. What happened to all the wealth generated by sugar cane in pre-Castro Cuba? Some of it was invested in memorializing the dead. [2014]

Monday, August 11, 2014

Havana, Cuba

Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón: Maybe not every cemetery deserves the appellation necropolis, but Colón Cemetery most assuredly does. With over 100,000 people buried here since 1878, it is truly a 'city of the dead' and one of Havana's crown jewels. [2014]

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ashland, Virginia

Pastor(s) Buried Here:  A clergy couple side by side: in death as in life. They presided over the Gwathmey Baptist Church on the Old Richmond Road. What did they decide to commemorate on their headstone? (a) their titles, (b)  a church generic, (c) praying hands, and (d) a passage from the Gospels. Are you curious enough to look up Matthew 16:24? Woodland Cemetery. [2014]

Gwalthny Baptist Church

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Texarkana, Texas

Pastor Buried Here:  America's French underbelly stretches along the Gulf Coast. It's an anomaly on the cultural map: It's Roman Catholicism contrasts sharply with the Protestant Christianity that overwhelms the South. Here is evidence that this Roman Catholic region looked overseas for leadership.  Rev. Father Barbin was born in France. Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery. [2012]

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Pastor Buried Here:  The pyramid (in this case, a truncated pyramid) has forever been associated with nobility. On the American frontier, pastors were probably the closest things there were to nobles. In this case, Rev. Dr. Worcester was a noble of the Congregational Church: he served on the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He died on the frontier, far from his native Massachusetts. Brainerd Mission Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, August 1, 2014

London, Ontario

Professor Buried Here: Here lies one of the world's experts on the biology of sand dunes (what's on his headstone?). The irony is that he taught at the University of Western Ontario (how far is that from the coast?). His magnum opus was published in 2009 (when did he die?). Something on his memorial ties him to his ancestral roots (what's encrypted above his name?) Mount Pleasant Cemetery. [2013]

Cover for 
The Biology of Coastal Sand Dunes