Monday, March 30, 2015

Charleston, South Carolina

Singling Out Historical Cemeteries: Historical markers are used by state and local governments to single out cemeteries of cultural significance. Not only is Magnolia Cemetery old, it is also on the site of a Southern plantation that dates back to 1784. In fact, the plantation house now serves as the cemetery office. In addition to being marked by the State of South Carolina, Magnolia Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places. Magnolia Cemetery. [2012]

Friday, March 27, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Focus on De Nieuwe Ooster Cemetery:  In the United States, fresh flowers have given way to artificial flowers in cemeteries. That is not the case in Holland. Grave memorials seem to be designed to accommodate cut flowers and bulbs, maybe both.  As these roses wilt, for instance, the bulbs will be on their way to blooming. Buddha statues are also fairly common in Dutch cemeteries. Could be more 'new age' philosophy than religious conviction. [2015]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Focus on De Nieuwe Ooster Cemetery:  Life is all about telling stories. Maybe death should should be, too. What story will you have to tell about your life when you hear the final curtain call?  What masks will your survivors choose for your memorial? Here lies an actor to the end. Do you think he had a role in Phantom of the Opera? [2015]

Monday, March 23, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Focus on De Nieuwe Ooster Cemetery:  Amsterdam's New Eastern Cemetery is not so new anymore. In fact, it has been around so long, it's now the largest in the country in terms of number of graves. Perhaps that makes it a fitting place for the Dutch Funeral Museum. In one of the four exhibit halls are seven coffins which contain paraphernalia used in funerary rituals by different religions practiced in the Netherlands. The one shown is filled with Roman Catholic artifacts. Guess what religions the other coffins represent (and remember that until recently, the Dutch had a global empire). One of the other halls in the museum has models and pictures of hearses. Does anyone know of other museums like this? [2015]

Friday, March 20, 2015

Beckley, West Virginia

Irish Clover as Totem:  St. Patrick's Day 2015 has receded into the past, so it's time to abandon the three-leaf clover, a.k.a., shamrock, and see if we can find a four-leaf clover. It will bring good luck. Here, it must have worked just a little: He made it to his birthday, and passed away one day later. Since his family name is not of Irish origin, these four-leaf clovers may be simply good-luck totems. Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens. [2014]

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Laramie, Wyoming

Irish Clover as Totem:  St. Patrick's Day comes and goes, but shamrocks on rocks stay around forever. Here's a couple that would have so enjoyed all those parades last week-end. Can anyone identify the other stem on the headstone? Greenhill Cemetery. [2013]

Monday, March 16, 2015

Gouldtown, New Jersey

Irish Clover as Totem:  Here lies what appears to be a mother and daughter equally proud of their Irish heritage. Not only is there a three-leaf clover over each name, but there's just a wee bit of the Irish tongue there, too. "My soul friend" says one.  "Love forever" says the other. St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow! Gouldtown Memorial Park. [2013]

Friday, March 13, 2015

Delmar, Delaware

Borrowing from Philosopher Poets ~ James Dean:  Unattributed and slightly paraphrased, a quote from James Dean seems perfect for a princess who died so young (as did Dean):  "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." As for the monogram: Her initials spell CAT. St. Stephen's Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Borrowing from Philosopher Poets ~ Mark Twain:  Although unattributed on this headstone, Mark Twain's advice inspires us all:  "Sail away from the safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover." Even if Mark Twain didn't pen these words, the advice seems so perfect for a Canadian who must have known Lake Ontario well. Niagara Falls Cemetery. [2013[

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pelham, Ontario

Borrowing from Philosopher Poets ~ Robert Frost: Poetry shows up on many a headstone, sometimes without attribution. Although Robert Frost's name is not inscribed under his words, almost everyone would recognize this line from "The Road Not Taken":  ". . . and knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted I should ever come back". What do you make of the castle-and-moat emblem? Pleasantview Memorial Gardens. [2013]

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tampa, Florida

There's an App for That:  Here's a baseball app, a rabbit app, and a teddy bear app, plus two biographical apps. The links are dead, however, so the casual visitor may never know the full meaning of the rabbit. The challenge for the future: finding a way to keep our links alive even after we are gone. Myrtle Hill Cemetery. [2014]

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hillsboro, Texas

There's an App for That:  How many apps can you fit on a vertical slab of granite even if it is not rectilinear? Which ones will you upload for the polished stone that will summarize your life? Do an inventory of this Mom and Dad's life screen: music apps, sports apps, wardrobe faith apps, beauty apps, and a marriage app. We need to click on the marriage app because it hides a mystery. Why two dates? Why is the second date exactly one year after Mom departed the scene? Park Ridge Cemetery. [2012]

Monday, March 2, 2015

Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania

There's an App for That:  Here lies a couple who were far ahead of their times. Someone in the App clan must have been the first to utter this now-familiar advice: "There's an app for that." Now that we have so many 'screens' in our lives, a family name like this makes you wonder why our final screen is not shaped like all the other screens that have made us so happy. Our screens, in fact, make us bow our heads as if we took one Biblical imperative seriously: "Be constantly in prayer." It's the same posture we assume when we visit the ancestors, so a headstone in the form of a computer screen would be entirely appropriate. Evergreen Cemetery. [2013]