Friday, January 1, 2016

Just a Cemetery

Tony planned the walk to loop through a residential area and through the middle of a cemetery.

I love cemeteries.

Such history,
Such surprise,
Such reverence and respect.

History: The oldest birthdate we find, among all the interred is 1868. Most of the graves are simple--memorialized with a simple in-ground plaque. But in the short distance, we see a large granite, above ground memorial of epic proportions--at least for this cemetery. As we near, I see the name Moolah etched into the stone above the three different tombs, each one marked with a portrait of a one-time world champion lady wrestler.. One of the women is the world champion among lady midget wrestlers. I'm somewhat mesmerized--today's find of these three unusual women, who chose and excelled in lady's wrestling as early as the 1940's.

Surprise: In the corner of the cemetery is a large pond with a fountain. We are drawn to the water and the benches that serve as grave markers, to enjoy the peace-bringing water. We sit on Dianna's and Robert's bench.

In the distance, I see an itty bitty green head popping out of the water.

"Is it a frog?" I ask Tony.

"A turtle."

In the beginning, it is just one--then four and six, and we laugh as a whole pond of turtles migrate toward us. There could be 30 or more. Ahhhh, these must be well trained, biscuit loving turtles. The biggest turtle lurches out of the water to take a bite from my finger. We return later that day with a half loaf of bread and, yes, the turtles again swim from the ends of their earth to take bread crumbs from our fingers.

Reverence and Respect: A feeling of peace. Life is sacred, death is sacred. When we return to feed the turtles, we bring our son-in-law and his niece and nephews. He informs us that his abuela is interned in the mausoleum corridor. He remembers the area but not the exact spot. A search ensues. When we find Abuela, the woman who helped raise him, death connects to life amidst the unknown deceased.

Above Abuela is Abuelo--the grandpa who died years before his birth. MD comes after Abuelo's name.

"He was a doctor?" I ask.

"A dermatologist, and Abuela was an attorney."

In a split second thought, it seems that all that is left of their well-lived lives is a square piece of marble with cut out letters and numbers proving their existence, but I turn to their grandson, and I see these people live on in him.

"I used to have to go on walks with Abuela and all her old lady friend's."


"She used to care for me and when she went on walks with her friends, she made me come along. I was about ten and I'd walk behind them. She wouldn't leave me alone at home."

Her grandson, my son-in-law regrets his second language was Japanese and not Spanish-- as Abuela neared death, though she spoke English well, she reverted back to her native Spanish, and he couldn't speak with her. His voice is soft and sweet.

I feel a connection to Abuela and Abuelo, people I will never know, and when I express this feeling to Tony, he reminds me they will be the great grandparents of our someday grandchildren. Those grandchildren too, will carry the thread of life from Abuela and Abuelo.

The Fabulous Moolah