Friday, April 29, 2016

Baltimore, Maryland

Focus on Oak Lawn Cemetery:  Is this a memorial to those here interred or to the S.S. Carla-C? Somehow, all three lives were intertwined. The Carla-C was one of those ocean liners that led the European cruise industry out of the World War II era. From 1952-1994, she showed a new generation the shores of the Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean. This couple was part of that new generation, but they died so young! [2014]

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Baltimore, Maryland

Focus on Oak Lawn Cemetery:  History is buried here: Baltimore's Methodist history. On the far eastern edge of the city, Francis Asbury, first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, consecrated the Old Methodist "Burying Ground." In 1935, to make room for an expansion of Philadelphia Road, now US Highway 40, bodies were removed and re-interred here at Oak Lawn. No grave markers accompanied them. A single stone does the job of  memorializing all 2,777 departed souls. [2014]

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Baltimore, Maryland

Focus on Oak Lawn Cemetery:  "We remember you . . . in the rising of the sun . . . in the blowing of the wind . . . in the opening of buds . . . in the rustling of leaves . . . You are a part of us as we remember you." Here is a poem that must have been written when the matriarch of the family died; she was the first to go.  Her loved ones' hearts were full of memories and they wept. Now, the granite hearts are weeping too. [2014]

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Baltimore, Maryland

Focus on Oak Lawn Cemetery:  He came of age in the 1950s and was probably swept up in the Elvis movement. Maybe his talent was inspired by The King himself. And, it looks like he maintained his infatuation with strumming for the rest of his life. Otherwise, half a century later, why would he have taken it to the grave with him? [2014]

Monday, April 25, 2016

Baltimore, Maryland

Focus on Oak Lawn Cemetery:  'Reflecting Absence' was chosen as the theme for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. That phrase seems like a perfect encapsulement of this memorial as well. Instead of human images on this marker, there are voids: two empty silhouettes that nothing can fill. In fact, the two voids seem to be merging into one. [2014]

Friday, April 22, 2016

Athens, Ohio

Patriotism at the State Scale: Ohio was her home, but much of her life must have been spent at sea. both of those loves show up on her memorial. A marker on the back of the headstone shows that she was in the Navy, but the ship is Carnival Cruise Line's Imagination. Does the coded message on the license plate, 777IWIN, have anything to do with a job she held on board? West Union Street Cemetery. [2014]

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Patriotism at the State Scale:  Here's someone who fell in love with Michigan. Maybe he was born there, but for sure he lived there and died there. And to the grave, he took his beloved, or be-licensed, Detroit Tigers. St. Hedwig Cemetery. [2008]

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Patriotism at the State Scale: Or should this be called tribalism at the state scale? The bucking bronco has been a persistent symbol of Wyoming identity for decades (and probably longer). Perhaps its role in the cemetery is to proclaim the value of those who helped to tame the American frontier. What do you make of the numerical symbolism? Lakeview Cemetery. [2013

Friday, April 15, 2016

San Marcos, Texas

Coming for to Carry Me Home:  "Our Baby Angel" lived a day, and maybe not even that. He was born and died as pure as the white lilies that someone is still bringing to the grave 54 years after someone's precious newborn was called home. Hays County Cemetery. [2012]

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beaumont, California

Coming for to Carry Me Home:  "for the Lord shall give His angels charge over thee." That's while we are alive, and these two still are. They were born the same year: Want to bet they fell in love in high school? Want to bet their choice of color was deliberately selected to rhyme with her name? Want to bet the blank will be filled in with at least half a century of marriage? Mountain View Cemetery. [2015]

Monday, April 11, 2016

Barnstable, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Coming for to Carry Me Home:  "God's Highest Angel," with an angelic name, is here interred. Addressed to a beloved son and brother, the trophy says: "You are now in the hands of angels." They came to carry him home. West Barnstable Cemetery. [2010]

Friday, April 8, 2016

Gordonsville, Virginia

A Band of Angels Coming After Me:  The Biblical text is clear. Angels are males. Here is a male who has come to the father through faith in the Christ. In the process, he seems to have morphed into an angel. Is this a case of reincarnation? Are human beings incarnated as angels in the next life? Maplewood Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Prattville, Alabama

A Band of Angels Coming After Me:  Who's coming for to carry her home? The alpha angels: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. They are the messengers of god, which is what 'angel' means. What syllable do the proper names share with the word angel? El, which is one of the oldest names for God, as in El Shaddai. El Shaddai is usually translated God Almighty. Here's the riddle: If El is the name of God, where did the name Yahweh come from? Memory Gardens. [2013]

Monday, April 4, 2016

Durango, Colorado

A Band of Angels Coming After Me:  "Swing low sweet chariot. Coming for to carry me home. A band of angels coming after me. Coming for to carry me home." These are perhaps the most well-known lyrics of all the spirituals written by slaves in the pre-Civil War era. Today, they capture the hope of everlasting life in the great beyond, a place that will be so much sweeter than the home we know on Earth. Greenmount Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, April 1, 2016

Frederick, Maryland

Just for Fun:  Meet two icons of American humor: Laurel and Hardy. Somebody must have wanted to put a smile on the faces of all who came to visit. "He died of a Tuesday." That was the answer Laurel gave to Lola in the film Way Out West when she asked what her "dear Daddy" had died of. The film was made in 1937 and this fan died sixty years later, in 1997. Lake dear Daddy, he, too, died of a Tuesday. Such foolishness! Mt. Olivet Cemetery. [2014]