Saturday, June 16, 2012
Hanging out in the Cemetery - Day 16
When I was 9 years old, a boy in my class died of leukemia. His name was Billy Rivers. Because we were in a Catholic school, we all attended Billy's funeral mass and then followed the hearse to the cemetery. I remember being terribly sad about the death of the young boy, but oddly comforted at seeing where he would be laid to rest.
Plus, at that point, I was sure that Billy was now with the angels. He was fine and things were perfect for him. (Yes, I was a little brainwashed, but I was only 9 for heaven's sake.)
Whenever we travel, I take a trip to the local cemetery. I find them restful and beautiful places. There is a hush in the air and a feeling of energy. All those souls! (Don't misunderstand. I'm an atheist and this is strictly a physical impression I get.) I adore the strange cemeteries in New Orleans, and Paris, France and in London. I also love the cemeteries at the California Missions.
The photo shows the Chinese Cemetery in Daly City, a suburb of San Francisco. When I was in high school, a group of us loved going to this cemetery at night. We would park in the parking area and walk around for hours, sharing swigs of WPLJ (white port and lemon juice, actually lemonade), and try and scare each other by jumping out from behind the larger headstones.
I don't ever remember being actually scared but I do remember a boy statue standing on top of a particularly large headstone and having him come to life and jump at us. It was one of our friends being a jerk. The police patrolled the Chinese Cemetery and we would hide from them behind tombstones until they finally gave up and left.
One night, the guy I was dating and I hid together and saw the police car finally pull out of the cemetery. We laughed and whispered and finally stood up to see where our friends had hidden. Our friends had not hidden. Our friends had gotten in the car and left us.
Far from being upset over this, we both decided this would be a fantastic place to make out, just the two of us. We spent about an hour lying on top of a grave wrapped in each others arms and pressing against each other while we kissed and petted. It was bliss!
We saw some headlights in the distance and thought it was the police coming back in for another routine patrol, but it was actually our friends. They had run to the car when they saw the police car and thought we were with them. Ted and I tried to act traumatized and angry and I buttoned up my sweater and he made sure his zipper was zipped back up.
Our friend thought we had "done it" in a cemetery. Actually we had not.
But it gave us good street cred for them to think we had.
I love cemeteries!