The Improved Order

The metal markers above and below from the North Conway Cemetery at Conway, New Hampshire, mark the graves of a members of the Improved Order of Red Men, which claims its beginnings with the patriots who were in the Sons of Liberty during the American Revolution.  The society models itself after the Iroquois Confederacy councils.  In fact, some of the metal markers display images of Native Americans because the society based their organization on the rites and rituals of the Native Americans.

Written on each marker are the initials T.O.T.E which stands for Totem of Eagles.  According to their Website, the IORM “promotes patriotism and the American Way of Life, provides social activities for the members, and supports various charitable programs.”  The different clubs or chapters are divided into “tribes”.  The marker above is from “tribe” F.F. & C. 23, and the marker below represents the MISHA-MOKWA TRIBE No. 43.

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Six Scoops Under

 

In 1978, two guys, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, in Burlington, Vermont, took a $5 ice cream-making course and rented out an abandoned gas station to start what has become one of the best and most well-known ice cream companies in the United States.  Ben and Jerry not only became famous for delicious ice cream but also for giving their flavors funky-sounding names—Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, Phish Food, Cookie Dough, Americone Dream, and Chunky Monkey—all with big, rich, robust flavors.

Many of those flavors have become iconic ice cream flavors recognizable all around the world.  But some of their flavors have been less successful—Wavy Gravy, Rain Forest Crunch, Fossil Fuel, and Vermonty Python.  But what is an ice cream company to do when a flavor isn’t successful and the roll out fails?  Ben and Jerry’s made the decision to not only discontinue making the flavor but to bury them!

That’s right, bury the flavors.  In the back of the factory past the second customer parking lot, on a hill is the Flavor Graveyard.  34 flavors have been killed off and now “rest” in the company cemetery.

And the attention to detail has been incredible.  The cemetery is surrounded by a white picket fence and inside are the tombstones—made of Vermont granite—and modeled after the Colonial Era gravestones with flying death’s heads and winged cherubs–like the example below from the cemetery at Concord, Massachusetts.

But instead of a winged skull of death’s head, each gravestone has a winged ice cream cone with a scoop of ice cream depicting the discontinued flavor.  Not only does the gravestone have the name of the flavor, the year of creation and the year of its discontinuation, but also a cleverly worded epitaph explaining the flavor’s demise—just as you might see on a slab of slate in a real cemetery!

For example, Economic Crunch was the first flavor to “die” and laid to rest in the Flavor Graveyard.  The ice cream flavor was vanilla with chocolate covered almond, pecans, and walnuts.  Sounds tasty, right?  Especially if you are a nut eater.  But for some reason this flavor didn’t make it and was put to rest the same year the flavor was launched.

Economic Crunch

1987-1987

A delightful mash,

This flavor we remember

For the stock market crash

On the sixth of November.

While there are many similarities between the Flavor Graveyard and one for—well, humans—there are big differences, too. For example, Ben and Jerry’s will bring a flavor back if enough people vote to do so.  Oh, if it were only that easy in real life!

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“Silent Cal”

CALVIN COOLIDGE

JULY 4, 1872

JANUARY 5, 1933

GRACE A. GOODHUE

WIFE OF

CALVIN COOLIDGE

JANUARY 3, 1879

JULY 8, 1957

The plain upright tablet displaying the Presidential Seal in the top in the Plymouth Cemetery at Plymouth, Vermont, marking Calvin Coolidge’s grave may be one of the simplest presidential gravestones.

As the President Calvin Coolidge State Historical Site brochure explains, “The serenity of the village and surrounding mountains is appropriately reflected in the simple granite headstone that marks the President’s grave.  Visitors are sometimes surprised that a president should be buried in such plain surroundings but when Coolidge left the White House he said, “We draw our Presidents from the people…I came from them.  I wish to be one of them again.”  The gravestone is indicative of the simple and frugal New England values that President Coolidge not only held dear but for which he was loved and admired.

His gravestone is also a testament to his reputation as laconic which won him the appellation, “Silent Cal.”  Like the gravestone itself, Coolidge was a man of few words.  The story that is often told of him was that a woman at a White House Party approached him and said that she had a bet with a friend that she could get him to say more than three words.  Coolidge, who also had a sardonic wit, turned to her and wryly said, “You lose.”

The cemetery at Plymouth Notch, Vermont, contains seven generations of the Coolidge family.

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Pieta

“YOUR HEART SHALL LIVE FOR EVER”

PSALM XXII

 

ANDERSON DEVEREAUX DIETER

BALTIMORE MD APRIL 18, 1824 – NEW YORK MARCH 25, 1878

EMMA GRANT HUBBARD DIETER

MONTPELIER APRIL 17, 1825 – MONTPELIER OCTOBER 30, 1896

CHESTER HUBBARD

WINTONBURY, CONN. AUG 6, 1788 – MONTPELIER AUGUST 27, 1832

JULIET GRANVILLE JEWETT HUBBARD CLARKE

LEBANON, NH AUGUST 21, 1794 – MONTPELIER JUNE 1, 1881

TIMOTHY JEWETT HUBBARD

MONTPELIER AUGUST 6, 1823 – MONTPELIER NOVEMBER 7, 1880

RUTH JEWETT HUBBARD

MONTPELIER DECEMBER 12, 1827 – MONTPELIER FEBRUARY 28, 1844

ELEIZABETH SPALDING JEWETT SHAFTER

LEBANON, NH JANUARY 14, 1798 – MONTPELIER JULY 2, 1897

The Hubbard family monument in the Green Mount Cemetery at Montpelier, Vermont, features a bronze sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the head of Jesus Christ on top of a highly-polished red granite monument.  Sculptures depicting Marry with the dead body of Jesus are known as a pieta statue. This sculpture on the Hubbard Family Monument was created by French artist J. Perrin in 1908 and cast at the R. Barbedienne Foundry at Paris.

Works of art, usually sculptures, depicting this subject have a long history in Christian art.  The first of these images began to appear in Germany in the 1300s and are referred to as “vesperbild” in German.

Images of Mary and the dead body of Jesus began to appear in Italy in the 1400s.  The most famous of these sculptures is Michelangelo’s pieta which he sculpted for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, carved when he was only 24 years old.

Pieta is Italian for “pity.”

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Critics be damned

IN MEMORY OF

MINNIE KEY,

ONLY CHILD OF

EDWARD & RUTH SEVIER

WILDER,

BORN JANUARY 23, 1854,

DIED FEBRUARY 21, 1861.

— —

EDWARD WILDER

BORN DECEMBER 31, 1825,

DIED MARCH 25, 1890.

WITH PITY BEHOLD

OUR HEARTS. OH! LORD.

— —

RUTH SEVIER,

WIDOW OF

EDW. WILDER & C.C. COLLINS,

BORN MARCH 21, 1833,

DIED FEBRUARY 22, 1915.

In the most recent issue of Markers—the Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies—Joy Giguere writes about the art and social critics of the nineteenth-century who offered up their opinions about explosion of changing styles that were replacing the traditional gravestones from the Colonial Era.

Often times the art critics were at odds with the opinions of the general public.  One such example is the Wilder family monument in the Cave Hill Cemetery at Louisville, Kentucky, erected to memorialize, Minnie, the only daughter, of Edward and Ruth Wilder.  According to contemporary accounts of the time researched by Giguere, critics believed the monument to be a “marble confection that represented every offense to good taste—it was too large and thus inappropriate for a monument to a child; it was overly complex in the variety of figures and decorative motifs; and it was exorbitantly expensive.”

But a writer taking note, who was traveling through Louisville and visited the Cave Hill Cemetery had an entirely different take, “It was the handsomest monument I ever saw.”

The monument with its Carrara marble figures topping the large monument represented the Wilders—Minnie, the grieving mother, Ruth, holding a miniature picture of Minnie; the Father, Edward, raising one hand toward Heaven and one hand giving his wife comfort by resting it on her shoulder; and Minnie, floating above her parents as an angel.  Flanking the column holding the statues are two cherubs leaning on inverted torches—symbolizing a life extinguished.  It was a marble confection, indeed, but critics be damned.

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Father Time

The monument marking the SENG -EICHER family graves in the Cave Hill Cemetery at Louisville, Kentucky, is not only a sundial, but the dial itself also displays another motif—the image of the grim reaper.  As the old Doublemint Gum commercial blared to TV audiences, “Two, Two Mints in one.”  Only in this case—it is two symbols in one.

The sundial, in this case, marks the passage of time and in funerary art symbolizes the passage of time.

The other motif—Father Time—is characterized as an old man wearing a long hooded cloak, sporting a long beard, and carrying a scythe.   It is appropriate for Father Time to be depicted on a sundial–an instrument of time.

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Metaphors

The sundial has been a way to measure time since the Egyptians developed them over 3,500 years ago. Historians even believe that the obelisks of ancient Egypt were used to measure time even earlier.

The sundial monument in the Cave Hill Cemetery at Louisville, Kentucky, not only measures time, but also marks the graves of the Rae family. The Rae Family sundial surrounded by a marble colonnade punctuates that point with the symbol of the winged hourglass—a symbol that denotes how quickly life passes by, how fleeting time is.

The sundial marks the passage of time and in funerary art symbolizes the passage of time. The sundial and the winged hourglass are both metaphors.

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