Thursday, June 12, 2008


Sonya was bored on Sunday so we went to visit a cemetery. Isn't that what everyone does when bored? As it happened I wasn't averse to the idea; I enjoy a good cemetery. We're gradually 'doing' all the Phoenix cemeteries.

I have to admit that I don't enjoy them here as much as I should, due entirely to the climate. There's not much chance of them becoming overgrown and 'romantic'. Instead they're either carefully manicured grass or hard scrabble; mostly the latter.

One of the more interesting ones is down on (I think) Fifteenth Avenue, having, as it does, many monuments dating from when this was the Arizona Territory and one or two more from before the annexation. Interestingly the Mexican flag flies as prominently as does the US flag, only fitting for the graves of those buried when this was Mexico!

Just as interesting is the fact that you can't get into it! There's a little sign on the gate directing one to an address three or four miles east. It's been five and a half years since I last went there (it was the day after my arrival in the US) and I had, at that time, not much idea of the street names. When one goes to the address they hand over the key in return for a deposit. I suppose there must be a market for stolen cemetery keys!

The cemetery we visited this weekend is at Twenty Third Avenue and Van Buren and was, apparently, once four cemeteries in close proximity, since combined into the one. I can see the Jewish cemetery being separate at some time in the past but I couldn't see much rhyme or reason to the rest of it being separated into three pieces at one time. Perhaps one could argue the case for the military section but that'd be about it.

But one feature that intrigued me was the number of tombstones in the shape of a tree stump and with the following plaque attached (image shamelessly stolen from here[^] because I didn't have my camera with me).

I'd never seen this before and at first I thought perhaps I'd stumbled upon evidence of some American secret society. The close proximity of Freemasons and I.O.O.F. markers led credence to the theory but it seemed unlikely. I was closer than I thought[^]. And also see here[^].

A bloody insurance company! Yeah, I can see myself wanting a Farmers State logo on *my* grave!

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