Thoughts at a Cemetery

Rose Garden

Yesterday on Facebook I asked if anyone wanted to go graveyard hopping. I know, how very goth of me. Blah blah blah.

Well instead of graveyard hopping, I just went to one: the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. Yes, it’s the one with Marilyn Monroe, John Cassavetes, Billy Wilder, Farrah Fawcett, Don Knotts, Mel Torme, Mr. Howell and his real live Lovie, etc etc etc. And yes that is one of the main reasons I went. And no I wasn’t wearing a stitch of black.

Skyscrapers in WestwoodAs I walked through looking at the headstones surrounded by the skyscrapers of Westwood, I couldn’t help but notice the old headstones. The oldest graves I found here dated back to 1906. I don’t know whether they were buried somewhere else then moved to this cemetery at a later date, but I doubt that. There were also quite a few undated headstones.

These people lived through the Civil War, Spanish-American War, the Gilded Age, Reconstruction. These people died before WWI. They might have never owned a car. What’s a telephone to them? Freeway? F. Scott Fitzgerald?

I kept walking around looking at these old headstones. And as I tried to reconstruct their histories, what they might have seen it got me thinking what exactly were their stories. Which side of the Civil War were they on? Did they come out west to get in on the gold?

It’s easy to know the histories of Eva Gabor, Eve Arden, Rodney Dangerfield and Minnie Riperton. But what of Emily Ball? Eunice Wetherel? Frank L. Smith? Did they have a lot of kids? How bad was the smog in those days?

Eunice Wetherel

Mellissa Gilliland

Emily Ball

Frank SmithBeing a megalomaniac (after all I do maintain a personal blog), I wondered about what happens to my own story when I die. Will I have annoying megalomaniacal assholes walking six feet above of my decayed body in a box wondering how I survived the Reagan and both Bush eras?

I know, it’s not terribly profound. It’s nothing like the where-do-people-go-after-they-die sort of tripe you expect from New Age-y cunts or ignorant religious asswipes. Being a devout atheist, I really don’t care about an afterlife.

But what is a life if not a narrative? And without a narrative what is a life?

This is getting very close to being a bunch of solipsistic mess.

Anyhow that’s what was coming to my mind as waves upon waves of tourists descended into the cemetery looking for Marilyn and Janis.

Unknown GraveI just hope my final resting place won’t look like this forgotten grave. Then again, they just ran the sprinklers so that’s why it looks like a mess. But still.

Then again I’m dead so gives a fuck?

One other thing I noticed that was less self-serving: Persians really treat their dead well. Those were some of the gaudiest gravestones I have ever seen. I could hear the funerals for each of them.

Another more self-serving thought: There are a lot of people my age who have died in the last five years. Aren’t I supposed to the feeling of an impending scythe when I’m 70 and not when I’m 32?

By the way, the rose garden at the very beginning of this post is where the great Edith Massey resides.