Recall, gentle reader, last year I introduced you, in words at least, to Old Rich White People Cemetery where we almost got locked in. Well, it took a year to finally illustrate for you the eerie beauty of ORWPC, but I got you pictures this time before my camera went on it’s once a month vacation to the pawn shop. Consider us both duly blessed.
It was last Saturday after all my adventures downtown (still got more to that story to tell, but the interesting parts were already told). I wanted to take flower pictures at the cemetery before they all wilted away. The graves themselves, however, are something to be seen. We’re going on a journey again. This time without the pizza that looked as though it needed buriel rather than ingestion.
And we’re riding in the magic Ford Taurus. Kind of reminds you of that Emily Dickenson poem, that went something like, “Because I could not stop for death, it kindly stopped for me….”
To get to ORWPC, one must pass through a not-so-garden district, but the bad neighborhood changes abruptly to an affluent one. When one is riding through the not-so-gardeny district, you pass by a brick garbage can. It’s been said before that “death be not proud”and it certainly wasn’t for the young man who got shot there (I think that’s where a guy got shot a year ago, but it could be I’m mistaken) as evidenced by a roadside memorial sitting between the garbage can and the curb. Poor man, I hope he is in a better place now.
With my luck I’ll probably die in a firey autocrash right by the sewage treatment plant.
But anyway, we’re still going on a journey. Make sure you look out the window because we are officially inside the pearly gates of Old Rich White People Cemetery.
I love pink, don’t you? Combining my mother driving by and my superior photography skills, this azalea looks very Claude Monet, nes pas?
I include this picture simply because azaleas + dogwoods =pretty.
The graves here go all the way back to the 1850s (actually before then, because this was The Place to bury your dead relations and bodies were exhumed from other graveyards to plant here). There is even a new section where you can be buried if it’s on your to-do list today. This grave, however, isn’t that old. These sort of headstones were popular in the 1940s if your young child died. This was a baby who was either stillborn or died the same day she was born. Someone is still putting flowers at her grave.
See the grave that looks like a sideways wooden cross? That’s the young girl who got sick at sea. Her father put her in a keg of ale to preserve her and she was buried in the keg. If that keg is still intact down there, which I doubt, she probably looks the same as the day she died. That’s a creepy visual to me. I bet the look of chopped wood on her grave signifies that she was ‘cut down’ early in life, but the cross means she remains alive in heaven or will be resurrected. Victorians were big on symbolism.
Of all the graves in the cemetery, I think I like this one the most. Overdone with adornments, it screams Victorian, and I love it. I did some research on this fellow. He died of “consumption” in 1878. My great-grandfather on my grandmother’s side died of TB too.
The fellow in the grave was only 32 and had two children.
I bet these were cheery folks. Nothing like a mausoleum with a “county jail” appeal to it.
Don’t you know these people were rich if they could build something like that in 1932? I kinda doubt they were working for the WPA.
This is the Jewish section, also dating back to the mid 1800s.
Stairway to heaven?
Score for “different.” A grave that looks Greek and looks like a bird bath at the same time.
This is the Confederate Dead Soldiers Memorial from the 1870s.
I include this picture because I heart the tree.
Score for ingenuity here too. It’s like this married couple are sweethearts.
A unique grave augmented by a common car.
A woman, age 20. A boy, age 8. On top of his grave is “Charlie,” which really brings it home to me that that was once someone’s beloved little boy. I wish I knew what was killing children in the 1870s. The Yellow Fever outbreak had passed, thank God, because that was a really awful way to go. I read somewhere that the life expectancy in the 1870s was 45 and 2% percent of people made it to 65. We’re pretty lucky that we didn’t live back then, pretty graves and dresses aside.
These were probably Charlie’s siblings, a baby and a toddler. The flower in relief on the toddler’s grave looks to me like a gladiola. Wonder what that symbolizes? Does knowing your children may not live soften the sting since it was a day to day reality in the 19th century? Somehow I doubt Margaret Sanger would be too popular a woman in the 19th century.
This section of graves belong to one family, proving the motto: “You can’t take it with you when you go, but you can sure
show you had something here.”
Here are two brothers from the 1870s. One was 2 years-old and the other 11. Did they both die of illnesses or were some
children killed by misadventure?
This tree must have come up long after the grave was placed here. Was everyone’s caskets made of wood back in the day and would they disappear years later, just leaving the skeleton, non-biodegradable things placed in the casket, and metal? I know this is a tad macabre, but my mind always wonders what’s happening in the graves. I imagine this fellow’s bones are now cradled by this tree. You can thank me for that visual later.
Another set of siblings, 3 of them. I hope that family had more children and they made it to adulthood.
This is the red azalea that I waxed rhapsodic over last year.
This was the side gate from which we escaped after the graveyard closed last year.
Here is a close up of the red azalea. It’s darker in real life.
With this I bid you adieu until next time.