I really don’t know why it is that I like cemeteries. Is it because I listened to too much of The Smiths as a teenager? or did I listen to The Smiths because I like cemeteries.
I really don’t know, and it’s not like I haven’t contemplated it. There is something wonderfully depressing and refreshing all at the same time.
There is something about all those past lives, somehow telling me to get on with mine.
But it’s not just that, it’s the stories.
There are graves that tell stories.
Like the one with a “mom, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, friend” who died at the age of 44 in 2001. Placed on top of the grave is a banner celebrating Halloween, a picture of Poo Bear and Christopher Robin, and a plastic palm tree.
This was obviously a loved woman, a family woman, she is still loved and missed enough after nine years to have someone return to place a Halloween decoration on the grave.
Who is doing this?
Is it the husband, the mother or the daughter?
I wonder at these stories.
Sometimes I like people just because of their gravestones.
Like Benjamin, who has gone fishing.
The Sierra Madre Pioneer Cemetery is in the town of Sierra Madre, at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. This town was once the gateway to the Mountains, but now it is a quiet pretty suburban town. A place with it’s own butcher shop and one little theatre on the main street.
The main street is Sierra Madre Blvd, and the cemetery is on this street, just east of downtown.
Is is a quiet little graveyard, with the occasional auto passing by, and a lady with her dog. Next door are a few houses, and other the other side is a park, with tennis and basketball courts.
The first was buried here in 1884, just as the town was beginning.
What I do when I am in cemeteries, in between contemplation, is take photographs, each with a story.
On the gravestone it says “mom, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, friend” and there is still a friend for her, to bring new Halloween decorations nine years after passing. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
A gnarled trees stands over a few of the graves in the Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
A man who died 32 years before his wife, but they still made it onto the same stone. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
This just seems funny more than anything else, an egg? A round stone? With your eternal family name engraved on the side. I guess incongruous seems to fit. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
There is always something sad about children’s toys sitting beside a gravestone, Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
There is a recent trend to put photographs on the grave stone. Most of the time they are of the person later in life. But here Tom and Betty are young and when they met. It is unendingly romantic. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
While James shows a different personality, that of a wanderer in the world, free of clothing and fetters that keep his hair down. And with a huge smile. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
There are, of course, all the little things that are brought to personalize a grave, most of the time it is flowers, but some deceased have people who do more than that. Like placing angels above the site. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
Or to sleep forever with their favorite cat, Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
Or a pair of puppies forever inquisitive on who has come to look at the grave. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
And there is Benjamin, who has gone fishing, forever. Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.
And finally, a last one, to tear at the heart. “Age 9 Months.” Sierra Madre Cemetery, California.