Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Night

Our very first night we visited section 22. This section was very cool. We had a lot to look at including a deer, who by the way looked at us as if he wanted us to leave his territory. we experienced the Gano's which was a very cool site. It has a lot of iconography including angels, a bible, an all seeing eye, and much more. There was something that has fallen off on top of the mausoleum statue. Deaconess Hospital has a memorial mausoleum in section 22 also. The Burnet is also in section 22. I really loved the cherubs at the top of the mausoleum. This was the beginning of the exploring without limits to the wonderful art displayed in Spring Grove.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Fine and Private Place

A fine & Private place was a really good book. Although it is a fiction book about ghost, the story line was still very good. This book was written by a young author around my age which made the level of interest for kind of a younger age group. Once I picked up the book I didn’t want to put it down. The actual romanticism of being in love and being happy made me appeal to the book even more. Being happy in life and having a real sense of love, whether it is from a significant other or a family member seems to make a person life more complete. The book really emphasized that a lover makes life worth living for, or makes your life happier. To be able to share your life experiences with another individual is far better than to just experience anything alone. My thoughts about the book wasn’t just that the book was about a love story, but that it was a collaboration of a love story, a ghost story, and a story about life and death. Honestly I wouldn’t actually classify this story a ghost story, or what I would consider a ghost story, because it wasn’t a spooky ghost story. The ghosts in the story were Casper ghost, nice and friendly. The part of them being ghost actually helped emphasize on the idea of life and death. The book also had it funny part. Especially the raven, which could talk and was kind of the glue for parts the story. He relayed the information from outside the cemetery to the ghost and Mr. Rebeck. He also brought food for Mr. Rebeck, which Mr. Rebeck could not live without. The things that the raven said were just funny so he brought humor to it all.
The author choose to write this book about how each character lived one lifestyle and was uplifted one way or another and started on a different path. Mr. Rebeck chose to hide out in the cemetery because he was afraid to show is face in public. He felt like he was deprived of everything when they took his pharmacy away from him and replaced it with another pharmacy with a big title. Mr. Rebeck wasn’t intended any harm with his Pharmacy. All he wanted to do was help out people. After getting drunk and ending up in a cemetery where you don’t see many people, except ghost, he started feeling comfortable. He was able to fulfill his dream of helping people by helping Laura follow Michael to a different cemetery. He did this despite his own feelings about leaving the cemetery and not feeling comfortable. I was happy they were able to talk him into leaving the cemetery because he was able to start re-living his life again in the city. He found a mate to share his life with and he doesn’t have to hide anymore. The ghost didn’t have prefect lives either before they passed. Michael didn’t like his marriage and committed suicide to end the marriage. He had everyone believe that his wife killed him but actually he gave himself the poison. He figured if he could make it seem like his marriage was successful by beating the marriage race then it would look better. What he didn’t know was they would find out the truth. It didn’t really matter at that time because Laura had already fallen in love with him once they both realize they could be happy sharing their lives with each other. Laura was the lonely and always wished the she could have someone care about her. She wanted visitors, she wanted to hear people say they loved her, she just wanted to belong. Once she finally got that feeling it was so quickly taken from her. She knew she would not be happy unless she followed Michael so she could feel loved. Mrs. Klapper apparently wasn’t in a good marriage either. She was too busy trying to make her husband out to be who she wanted him to be, and didn’t love him for him. She gave him a really big mausoleum, but all he wanted was a small head stone. I believe Rebeck helped her realize that she can’t make people be who she wants them to be. He let her know that she can’t make him be her husband, which is all she kept referring him too. He also made her realize that she should not have been making fun the way he chooses to live. I think the author did a good job on pick the character and their flaws and fixing them at the end. The two ghosts fell in love because that was all that they felt they had left sense they are dead. Mrs. Klapper and Mr. Rebeck found each other’s flaws and helped moved their lives into another direction.
The supernatural nature of the book kind of took my thought process to another place. In the beginning of the book the ghost were afraid of death and they were sure if they were two fall asleep and forget everything if they would actually die. They were trying to stay alive, or away from death, for as long as they could. The part of them fighting for life made me think about people who are passing who may try to struggle for their life. One part of me would say just let your body rest in peace and don’t try to fight it, but there is also another part of me that says don’t give up. The ghosts in the book did a really good job expressing hope and holding on. They knew they were dead and they could feel or do anything, but they wanted to love each other because that was all that they could do to still feel human like.
All along reading this book I never really thought about the religion. Although this book is about life and death religion didn’t really come up much. Obviously a book about life and death can be read or talked about without talking about religion because I didn’t think about it. Maybe it is because it is supernatural. Looking at this book through a religious lens would probably change a persons outlook on the book. Different religions have different thoughts or opinions on life and death, or life in between life and death, so it would make the aspect of whole story change.
This book has so many different aspects in it that I believe anyone who reads this book would learn something for it or it would at least open your eyes to some things. One of the eye opening themes in the book was that life is too short and you need to live your life happy before the hour glass runs out. We don’t want to wait until we die to find our soul mate in our afterlife or in heaven. There are a lot of things that we take for granted especially people and we need to realize that we don’t have eternity to make the best out of our life here on earth.

Final Reflection

A cemetery is a place to put dead people of course, but there is much more to a cemetery than people actually think. A cemetery is a business evening if it is not-for-profit. But in the more abstract sense a cemetery is a park, a museum without walls, a place for remembrance, gateway to heaven, and the list can go on. This class, A Place as Text, has transformed my thoughts about cemeteries. I never was freaked out about cemeteries, but it has never been a happy place for me to go either. I didn’t realize how much I would learn whether it is Cincinnati’s history, a bird beak carving, tree types, stone types, different marbles designs, architecture, religion, plotting/burial designs, and the list can go on again. In my initial response about the class I stated that I couldn’t wait to see what Mrs. Hunley had in store for us but I had no idea that I would learn all of this. Each week I was eager to learn more. There were plenty of times were I would be explaining my class in Spring Grove to people and they would look at me like I was crazy when I was as enthused and as detailed as I was. A lot of times they didn’t even have a response because it was out of the ordinary to them. There were numerous of people, including my mom, who couldn’t understand that class was at Spring Grove Cemetery every week. I guess they could understand that there is things to be learned in a cemetery, because if they are anything like me then they only go to a cemetery to visit their loved ones and never really look at anyone else’s burial site. There is one thing I know for sure, when you visit Spring Grove you don’t have a choice but to look at other burial sites. Well you have a choice but how can you resist. I want to do my own little tour at Spring Grove and take my family and show them all the wonderful things there are to see. I am sure it will teach them some things as well, since Spring Grove has a lot of history to be learned.
A cemetery as I said before is a place to put dead people, but I believe it is also a place for the living. Living is who visits the burial sites. The living is who can learn from the history that is displayed in Spring Grove. The living, in some cases, picks how they want the burial sites for their family members to look. In most cases the living design the burial site the way they want to remember their loved ones, or how they want others to remember their love ones. A cemetery is a place the living can go for remembrance. If you think about the living are the only ones who interact with the cemetery. Of course we have to have a place to put dead people, but to create a cemetery and to be as brilliant as the founders of Spring Grove was, then we have an organized happy place to put our dead to be viewed for remembrance and for history.
A cemetery is also a place for self reflection. It makes you realize that life is short and you never know when it is your time. When you are looking at the different burial plots and you see what people have accomplished as far as careers or inventors, it makes you think about what you want to do in life and what you want to accomplish. So if you want to shot for the stars then you can do it because anything is possible. Being in a cemetery and looking at all the infant deaths really makes you realize that you don’t have all the time in the world to accomplish your goals. There are some burial plots that have an hour glass on them. This tells you that time is always ticking and it will eventually run out.
There is a lot to be learned in a cemetery as mentioned above. You can learn the history that is there to be learned. You can see a difference with the young deaths before drugs and doctors are as advanced as they are now. You can also learn how to read there, and I am not talking about how to read sentences but rather how to read symbolism. You can read a person’s story by just looking at the iconography on their plots to see their professions, their loyalty to marriage, their religion, their family history, and a lot of other things. You can also learn how to drive in a cemetery, which a lot of people said they have learned how to drive in Spring Grove.
During these last nine weeks I have been transformed, and been completely blown away by my experience here in Spring Grove. I have learned about my Cincinnati’s history. I have enjoyed looking at how beautiful the landscaping, architecture, and the art that Spring Grove displays. I have realized that there is more to a place than just the obvious. You have to look at the details and the story behind the obvious. I would encourage everyone to visit Spring Grove even if it is just to walk through as an enjoyable walk through a park.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mr. Tallmadge

It was nice having Mr. Tallmadge come in to talk to the class about his book, The Cincinnati Arch. I thought it was great that he even joined in the conversations about A Fine & Private Place although he didn't read the book. He was a very inspiring gentleman. He started out in search for work/a career and now is living in Cincinnati and has published a book. I was happy to hear what he though about Spring Grove and that his reflection on Spring Grove was what the founders of Spring Grove was trying to accomplish. Although he is a wilderness guy and won't admit that Spring Grove has transformed him I believed it has. I say this because he said his daughters has been transformed from what they have saw at Spring Grove and as they get older and their life reflects what they have seen at Spring Grove, then his life transforms slightly as his children grow. It is sort of a indirect change but it is still change that arose from Spring Grove. It was nice to have him in our class and he was a nice and easy person to talk to.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Memorial Mausoleum

The Memorial Mausoleum was "Extravagant". I loved it. After visiting there last week I starting thinking about pre-planning my funeral plans. I would loved to be buried inside of the the Memorial Mausoleum. It was quiet and beautiful. The different marbles were stunning as long as the stain glass. I liked the idea of the Mary stained glass section because they had seven different flowers around her that represents being a virgin. The Noah's Arch so beautiful too. I was really impressed with the showcase of the different irons, books, vase, etc for the cremation remains. I have always said in the back of my head that I would not want to be cremated but I am having second thoughts. I would loved to be showcased on one of the shelves in a lovely designed iron, vase, or book. I was really moved by the quietness because it seems that families and enjoy the peace and quiet while memorizing family times during their visits. I was happy that we were able to visit another type of burial setting, which gave me some additional ideas for my family plot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adolph Strauch

This walk-a-bout covered some more grounds of the cemetery of fascinating art work. A big attribute goes to Adolph Strauch who make a big contribution to Spring Grove. He was hired in the 1850 to add his art of landscape to Spring Grove. I didn't know that Adolph Strauch made contributions to the foundations of parks in the Cincinnati area. Through out the walk-a-bout we looked at the different area that he may have despised or ones he may loved. For some uncertain reason I loved the fact that although Adolph did away with the chains that separated one family's sections for another, but the stones(which look like chess pieces) still lie in the four corners. They are artistic and appealing to me and I really don't know why. I would love to come back to that section in the spring time to see the weeping willow trees. It sounds like it would be beautiful.

The Dexter

My first look at the Dexter I thought it was a chapel until I found out it was the Dexter Mausoleum. The ironic part about it is that it has its own chapel in it. I think it was a good idea to have a small chapel built in the mausoleum to hold their own funerals. It was cool to have an elevator for the cast to get from the bottom floor to the top for the funerals. Their ideas were good and different as mausoleum are usually just for burials. I wish we could have went to the top to see how how it looked up there. There wasn't a lot of symbolism at the Dexter. I have to admit the Dexter was cool although I was a little spooked out about going in at first.