Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Favorite Grave Marker

Strange title, huh? Well my last post has been stuck in my head. In that post I spoke a little bit about the trip I made with Vanessa to the cemetery. There's so many more details to this story that need to be told. First of all there's the back story of why we went to the cemetery. My father grew up in the depression and he had 3 brothers and 4 sisters. They were a poor family with a lot of kids to feed and clothe. They had an aunt who had no children of her own and she often gave my father gifts that she could barely afford. Because she had no children after she passed away my grandfather tended to her grave and that duty was passed onto my father. So flash forward to the time my story took place. My father called me to ask if I could do a favor for him. He had MS and at this time he had it for many years and it had advanced so much that he had great difficulty walking and was using a wheelchair most of the time. It was a week or so before Christmas and it was time to put the grave cover on his aunt's grave. So he asked me to pick up a wreath which I did and when I got to his house we (me and Vanessa) were sitting around bs-ing with him. He told us that he had promised his father he would never let the grave go uncovered at Christmas and he was practically in tears because he thought it wasn't going to get done and there was no way he could do it himself. By the way my father was superstitious and would never break a promise he made to his father. It was cold out and there was snow on the ground (I hate the cold, I hate being out in the winter) and at some point my father asked if I would put the wreath on the grave. I told him I didn't know where the grave was (and was silently thinking that I really don't want to go out in the snow to the mall, forget about to the cemetery). But he said he could give me directions and I'd be able to find it, so how could I say no. First he told me which cemetery it was in and we had a discussion about that cemetery. My Aunt Maggie is buried there too and she's in the middle of a gypsy section. To this day I remember her funeral which was way back in 1974. I remember it because of the wild graves surrounding her plot. There were pictures on them of the deceased in their finery. Very cool looking, old, old pictures. We talked about the picnics the gypsies have in the cemetery and how they leave offerings of food and poor drinks on the ground. At some point my father started giving me directions and when he said you turn right at the Mercedes I knew exactly what he was talking about but Vanessa had no idea so that started another tangent. Everyone from around here knows about the Mercedes gravestone. It's a full size exact duplicate of the car. It cost about ten times as much as the actual car would cost. (If you want to read more about it click here.) It is a local attraction and most people I know have some friend or family member buried there so they've all seen it but Vanessa is from Long Island so at the time was unfamiliar with it. So she wanted to go along with me to see the Mercedes. So my father gave me the rest of the directions which were pretty much turn left, turn right sort of stuff and then go to the end and dead ahead is a big tree and the grave is right under it. So off we traipsed and Vanessa was wowed by the Mercedes as everyone is. The picture doesn't do it justice, really, you have to imagine that it is as big as a full size car and carved out of marble. It is incredible. So after gawking for a short while we returned to our mission and followed the directions and low and behold there are a couple really big trees at the end of the road. We get out of the nice warm car and start checking the names and they don't match. So we get back in the car an retrace our steps and end up at the same place so we decide to amble around a little and see if we can find it. Remember I mentioned that the gypsies have pictures on their gravestones. Well they aren't the only ones. There was this one woman who I swear is now haunting her family. The picture is of her in her apron and pointing a wooden spoon at the camera as if she's waving a weapon. It was not a very flattering picture of Sophie. Well, then again I don't know what Sophie looked like in life. Let's just say the picture should have been pressed in the family bible instead of up on the gravestone and it cracked us up. We couldn't stop laughing about it. We laughed so hard we forgot how freaking cold we were. Eventually we gave up and had to bring back the wreath but in the end my brother knew where the grave was and he put the wreath on it.
So the moral of this story is "Beware of directions that include turn at the Mercedes and at the end of the road there's a really big tree".
By the way, that's not the only cemetery around here famous for gypsy plots, there's another one where my mother's father is buried. Stephen Crane is there too. There's an old movie I think it's named "King of the Gypsies" and part of it was filmed in that cemetery.
I hope I didn't bore you with my story, it's halloweenie time and this stuff just comes up. Thanks for visiting and I promise I'll have a card or a project instead of a cemetery next time.
Hey, don't forget to click on the pink ribbon.


  1. Yes, everyone in Jersey knows about the marble mercedes! Funny story - I'll have to check out the gypsy section - cool time of year to do it!

  2. Oh my gosh, Chris, your story is hysterical! I have never heard of the mercedes, so that was really funny to read about!


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