Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Eat Your Desert First

It was a bitter cold winter day about a year ago. The kind of day that causes a person to ponder why they've chosen to live in a place that makes their face hurt when they go outside. And further question why they have chosen a career that leaves them standing in a blistery parking lot on such a day. I knew then, it would be a long time before the thoughts that were running through my head would come to be a reality. But, I thought them all the same. You see, as surely as mountains are to be climbed and oceans sailed, your dreams are meant to come true. This is why we are here; to live the life of our dreams. Not to be tested, challenged and tried. But to conquer, champion and rule. So, I press on, knowing that the day must dawn when my thirsts shall be quenched and my dreams will come true. Never to settle for less or ever think it's too late. And to never, ever compromise a dream.

When I start planning one of my adventures, I never know how it's going to happen. I just start moving in that direction. I don't worry about the details of how. My only concentration is, what am I going to do when I get there? What wonderful memories will I take away from this adventure?

frozen cliffs
We left home at about 10PM. My apologies to anyone who lives in Ohio, but frankly, that state is flat and boring and I've seen it too many times to count. By starting out at night, we were through O-boring-O and even Kentucky before daylight revealed the frozen cliffs of Tennessee.

We put a lot of miles and a few kilometers on my little car on that first day. We reached our first  destination just before sun down the following day. It was not our final destination. And it was not the destination that I had dreamed of. But, I don't worry about the "hows", I just enjoy the drive. It was a destination that was tacked on like a desert to a great meal. And my grandmother always said to eat your desert first because it's the best part. So we did. That destination was Savannah Georgia.

Over the years we've heard a lot about Savannah.
With it's warm temperature and even warmer Southern charm, it's Spanish moss covered Oak trees and storied past called out to us. It's history of being known as the countries most haunted city, made it a natural place for us to investigate for a few days. Like many people, we fell in love with Savannah after the book and movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" came out in the 90's. It's a true(ish) story of murder in the midst of the elite class in the quaint city in the early 80's.

After a long slumber, we met up with Ed's cousin Mark and his wife Cheryl the next afternoon. Although they are originally from Minnesota, they are living in South Carolina right now and made the drive down to Savannah to join us on this big adventure.

Our first stop, as usual, was a cemetery. Bonaventure Cemetery is where the cities elite are known to be buried. It is featured in the movie and although it has been since moved, is the original location of the bird girl statue that is featured as the cover art for both the book and the movie. While much of the artistry of the tombstones are typical of the times from which they come, there are many unique pieces throughout that draw much attention if for no other reason than their beauty. Set against a backdrop of Spanish moss covered lanes, each families plot resembles a garden of it's own.

 So come along with me for a glimpse of Savannah's history chiseled in stone.

I had never seen a WW1 crest on a grave before. I've only seen them marked as "The Great War"

Many beautiful monuments in this cemetery were made by John Walz and many of them depict women with their bare feet exposed. The faces are actual images of the deceased.

These were four young children's graves where it is meant to resemble a cradle where the child is sleeping. Spring will bring flowers planted in the bed of the grave, covering the child like a blanket.

While John Walz carved elaborate monuments for families grieving their lost loved ones. The only marking at his grave is the step that marks the entrance to his family plot. He said his work for others is enough of a monument for him.

Gracie Watson's monument was also made by John Walz. Poor little Gracie was struck ill and died within 48 hours, leaving her family devastated. Soon after her death, the family moved to New York. She is buried here alone and her grave is one of the most visited in the cemetery.

A draped urn represents the Patriarch of the family.
The wife's grave would typically look like this.

This plot belongs to the Mercer family.
Johnnie Mercer was a well known song writer. His home in Savannah is the setting for the murder that happened in 1981 that is the basis for the book and movie that I mentioned above.
Jim Williams, a well known antiques dealer/ restorer was the owner of the home at the time and was the center of the story.
If you haven't seen the movie, I would highly recommend it.

 Johnnie Mercer was famous for many, many songs. They are listed here on this bench. The words cover all sides of this bench and I am sure that you know most all of them and even more sure that you will be singing at least one in your head after looking more closely.
 In my next post, we will visit some of Savannah's historic city and the Mercer/ Williams home.


MorningAJ said...

Yes, you're right. I gotta acc-cent-uate the positive! Great tour, though some o fthose monuments are slightly creepy (if you've seen all the Dr Who adventures, that is. Do you know 'don't blink'?)

Jim said...

We saw the movie Stew and said then that we must see this beautiful city of Savannah! Maybe one day we will.
I am happy you both got a chance to see and experience it. Quite enchanting by your the looks of your photos. I didn't know Johnnie Mercer was buried there and look at all those tunes!!
Looking forward to your 'next chapter'.

laura.forestdreams:) said...

i love savannah!! AND i love to go through graveyards, especially ones with OLD gravestones! have you ever been to New Orleans?? or even in Macon, GA...there's a humungous cemetary.
anyway...enough grave talk...ha! you have enough of that! thanks for the tour...looking forward to MORE!! :)

betty said...

Oh my gosh, I almost spit out my wine when you were describing Ohio :) I think Wyoming is its brother or sister :)

I would have loved to visit this cemetery. Sounded like a good place (not just the cemetery but Savannah in general) to get away to for a bit!