Outfit Details: thrifted and reconstructed sweater coat, thrifted sweater, vintage slip (from my mom's store), boots courtesy of Wanted, Ginger Satchel courtesy of Coach
One of my favorite pastimes might seem a tad macabre, though I never really thought of it that way until it was pointed out to me. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been fascinated by cemeteries, with a love of visiting particularly older sites and discovering the epitaphs within. I have two distinct sources for this early intrigue: my great grandparents and my mom. Let me preface this by saying that I was obsessed with consumer-friendly horror novels when I was in elementary and middle school, and went through a phase where I read books about famous murderers and other Wednesday Addams-esque topics. I even dressed as Lizzie Borden for Halloween. Other than that, I was a relatively normal child. Well, not really, but we'll save that for another occasion.
Though my great grandparents always made me feel safe and loved, my sisters and I were convinced that their house was haunted. It might have helped that they told us they had a resident ghost. It might also have something to do with spending an entire night reading Amityville Horror, while laying next to a lion statue that was just waiting to come to life. But I digress; this is about graveyards.
Moe (my 92 year old great grandma) never drove, due to an early accident that rendered her petrified of taking the wheel; Papa always picked us up for weekend visits. On our car ride to their house on the intercoastal, we always passed a cemetery that seemed to stretch beyond the capacity of my lungs. You see, Papa told us that we had to hold our breath as we passed by, in order to keep spirits from inhabiting our bodies. We all knew he was fooling - both he and Moe were fond of superstitions and ghost stories - but it made for a fun game.
I always cheated.
Beyond keeping the spirits at bay, I delighted in reading the epitaphs on older tombstones, visiting whom I can only assume were long forgotten inhabitants, and romanticizing the lives of the presently deceased. That came from my mom, who introduced me to gravestone rubbings and told me of her favorite tombstone she came across, when she was younger. Though variants seemed to be common in the 19th century, I have never forgotten the way she told it:
as you are now, so once was I
as I am now, soon you will be
Prepare for death and follow me.
I'm certainly not trying to disrespect the dead, or the people they've left behind. Quite the opposite, actually, and I prefer to visit them when they're empty (as to not disturb any visitors). Strangely, though I've frequented the famed Greenwood Cemetery and others I've happened across, I still haven't visited Papa's grave. Perhaps it's because I knew his life: there is nothing to make up, only actual nostalgia - and the people who loved him are still here, still grieving, even after all these years.
I think of him every time I drive by a cemetery, though not because he has passed. I hold my breath until my cheeks hurt, and I think of him sitting there with me.
Maybe I'll pay him a visit while I'm in Florida. I think it's time I visit Rowdy, too.