Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Plums Are Lost In The Past "Clue XX"

Early the next morning the Plums head into Brooklyn and Queens (earlier Brooklyn was known as Kings). Driving into the back gate of St. John’s Cemetery the Colonel and America were told not to park on the grass. Mr. Plum had pulled off the road to ask the maintenance worker directions. They were shown the way to the office where the office staff was unhappy the Plums had not written a month in advance giving them prior notification. One person, showing distaste, helped the Colonel and America with information on this most prestigious of cemeteries layout. A second person was assigned to give them help on Most Holy Trinity whose records and grounds were now watched over by this much larger and sociably acceptable burial ground. Advised that Most Holy was not in the “best part of town”, America and the Colonel were told to lock their possessions in the trunk of the car and be very careful. The Plums visited The Most Holy Trinity in Brooklyn; the grave markers were made of metal and wood. America could not understand why this was required by the Catholic Church who opened this graveyard because neither material would weather the years. Hopefully that was not the point in using short lasting grave markers. The headstones pictured are metal. Photo comes after.

N 40 degrees 41.058 minutes W 73 degrees 54.036 minutes

In between cemeteries America and her husband stopped in Queens and were told they could not get a cup of “American coffee”. They “settled” for a cup of the prettiest cappuccino the Plums had ever had. The Italian coffee came in a tall, clear, footed glass cup with 4 layers of hot milky
liquids served by a waitress with a bit of English and a lot of Italian accent.

In a burial grounds that borders Kings County and Queens named Cypress Hill, that is ran by a superb staff who is not only kind but knowledgeable, Mr. Plum found information to the Nth degree. The Colonel had the best of luck finding J.H.C., his great great great great grandfather born in 1810 and his wife (a Pomeroy-Cooke), plus 4 other family. This office staff was so considerate their manager/director “Sam” took the Plums to grave-site after grave-site in the farthest and oldest parts of this burial ground covering 220 acres and containing over 350,00 graves(it has the capacity for up to 2,000,000). In the furthest reaches where the Colonel found some of his relatives, no headstones were found. America was told that way back when, for a couple of dollars they would be buried with someone else. The 1 graves in this cemetery were dug in 1848. The Colonel’s family was interred in the early 1900’s. Sam explained to Mrs. Plum that before the New York cemeteries bought the land it had all been farmland, sold to be private, commercial grave-sites. The manager was very gracious as he watched the Plums traverse up and down the green hills. When Mr. Plum and his wife were finished, the director offered to give Mr. Plum information for a last set of graves he had not expected to find.

When heading to the next graveyard adventure, listening to the GPS (who at times got a bit goofy), they turned into a Jewish Cemetery and had an “interesting time”, trying to get out. Yes, it had been the wrong graveyard. What is it with these New Yorkers? Never before have so many been so friendly and bent over backwards to be so helpful. Was it America’s soft accent eliciting help or have New Yorkers just awoken to the fact that the rest of the country has always loved them and will always support them?

One last cemetery for the day and the Plums finally arrived at a beautiful place. Mr. Plum went into the office and Mrs. Plum went to take pictures of her graveyard angels. The Colonel had a success, finding his paternal grandfather. In awe of the offices, when he came out he mentioned them to America. The staff was not so keen on having the inside photographed, so teasingly America ducked down under the counter and quickly snapped a shot for posterities sake!

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Dave Matthews "Grave Digger"

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