It was really fun, despite the rain which followed us all day, alternating between a mist and a downpour. Then we went back to the Museum where Mari reviewed and critiqued our photos. Even though we were all photographing in the same place, each of us focussed on different aspects of the cemetery. One woman, who is a civil engineer, found wonderful geometric compositions in small architectural details and shadows and corners of stones. Another concentrated on the beautiful trees and foliage, leaves and flowers. And I discovered that my obsession with the human form showed up in nearly all my photos--either with inclusion of my fellow photographers or the angels and cherubs that I found in the cemetery. (If you come to my house you'll discover I've been collecting angels for ages.)
I thought this looked like the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel but when I got up close I learned it was the mausoleum of Inventor George Crompton.
This one was my favorite (below.)
We all circled this lovely (if battle-scarred) angel erected by the Gorham family.
I photographed her from all angles.
This one (below) I called a guardian angel. He is directing this departed soul toward Heaven.
But our attention turned from angels to scandal when we took shelter from the rain in the door of the Greek-temple-like mausoleum below.
The name over the door was "Kennedy" and here's the story, as reported in Rural Cemetery's "Guide and Walking Map" brochure-- a tale told with delightfully antiquated euphemisms:
"Ellen 'Nellie' F. Rogers and Walter G. S. Kennedy were married at ages 67 and 63 respectively. They then adopted Mr. Kennedy's 'chum' Charles A. Williams, a former piano salesman who was age 45 at the time, as their 'son'. It was the stir of Worcester society to have such an event! We have one of the richest women in Worcester marrying a music teacher and adopting the comrade of Mr. Kennedy's...Nellie Rogers, the daughter of an old and wealthy Worcester family, lost her father at a young age and was left in a peculiar situation as a result. She and her mother could enjoy the interest only of Mr. Roger's vast estate and only upon the death of one of them could the other inherit the fortune of the estate.
"Nellie and Walter traveled the same social circles for nearly a quarter of a century before their friendship ripened into greater intimacy until one day she packed her trunks, 'took the family silver' and moved to Sicily with Walter and Charles in tow. There she purchased a villa on the Sorrento Bay and she and Walter married in France. On the day old Mrs. Rogers got word of the events, she passed away and left Nellie, Walter and Charles to inherit the fortune! Rural Cemetery has benefitted from this fortune with the erection of the Ellen Rogers Kennedy Memorial Chapel in 1930."
After reading this, we peered with renewed interest into the holes in the locked metal doors of the Kennedy Mausoleum.
Peering even closer, we could make out the stained glass window and the sentiments carved into the wall. On one side:
"Death is not departure but arrival
Not falling asleep but waking."
And on the other:
"It is life which is the night
And death is daybreak."
And by poking a camera through a hole to photograph the interior, we discovered a tantalizing mystery: There were only two crypts inside the mausoleum, leaving us wondering which of the scandalous threesome sleep inside, and in what order?
This is just one of the many mysteries that lie beneath the marble and slate stones of Rural Cemetery in Worcester.