Unlike the highly motivated and much younger Dianne at Schmidleysscribbling, I take no tests, get no grades. However, she works toward a PhD. At 70, or will she be 71 when she actually holds it in her hand? Am I correct in assuming that higher ed still delivers something printed, a document to hold in one's hands? Please, not a PDF printed out at home.
My (note the sense of ownership here) prof, Hunter Shobe, does expect a certain level of participation from auditors. Not too much, as we old people with our weighted bags of "knowledge" and "experiences" would love to share, Hunter likes just a drop or two. Class has 50 students. "Proper auditor etiquette" is described by PSU HERE.
Cemeteries in the landscape were the subject recently. Because this is the "new" geography, begun in the 1980s, refined further in the 90s. It is more humanistic than in the first half of the 20th century where maps and regions were the focus. People and their lives and urban considerations are now included. We attempt to read the "text" of what surrounds us.* Cemeteries are part of that, places with which I've enjoyed chance encounters. With little personal history beyond my own life, I'm curious about the lives of others. Similar curiousity enhanced my practice of psychotherapy: listening to family histories, creating genograms, family maps from these.
Walking through cemeteries was accidental until the birth of Roxie, our third grandchild. We spent afternoons with her wandering the 65 acres of the best park in Kew Gardens, New York, where her family lived at the time. It was one of those unexpected finds: Maple Grove Cemetery. Founded in 1875, described on its website as "rural," it has its own fact-filled book, now in a second edition. Dense with trees and other foliage, it was an oddly quiet place in the City.
We encountered few visitors other than the occasional person tending a grave. Every now and then we could sit on a concrete or wrought iron bench. Roxie was a few months old, mostly sleeping in her baby carriage when we began our walks in the winter of 2007. Two years later she talked, was restless in a stroller bcause she had learned to walk "by myself."
Guiseppe Izzo's marker at the top of this post was one of the first graves I photographed. He had been electrocuted? No, a young employee of the Long Island Railroad, working on a Sunday, he stepped on the third rail. He was scheduled to leave for Italy the next day--June 13, 1915-- to join otherf Italian immigrants to enlist in the Italian Amy. This information was available in the Maple Grove archives a few weeks ago. Today to satisfy my nosiness about David Morrison, whose spouse gave his religiosity more weight than her own name, I visited the site again and was disappointed to read a note "Interment Database is temporarily unavailable."
Fortunately I'd written about Guiseppe in a one-pager handed to Hunter Shobe along with these images, so I did not have to rely on my memory to write this. He will show the class selections of our photos. In the next post, there will be other pictures I took for their variety of styles and different ways of expressing loss.
*More on cultural georgraphy... two of the non-academic course readings. Michael Casey, Che's Afterlife, the Legacy of an Image and Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust, a history of walking. Textbook, virtually unreadable as is much academic writing, Pamela Shrumer-Smith, editor, Doing Cultural Geography.