the last weekend of june we went to gloucester, a small city on the coast north of boston. we had biked around a little, and then wanted to go to the beach and perhaps swim a little. but... it was a very hot day in the middle of summer and we discovered that the parking lots of all the beaches we frequented in early autumn and spring now asked money. and not just a little money, at least 15 dollars! as it was almost 5 and we just wanted to be on the beach for a bit it was not worth it. we drove around, quite aimlessly, and saw that ofcourse all the free supermarket parking lots had big signs with "no beach parking". when a tow truck passed us, it was time to just forget the beach and go home.
while driving in some random street, i suddenly saw some headstones, or so it seemed, scattered around in high grass. i made tim stop, and indeed, there it was, an entire cemetery, between 2 houses and the MBTA train tracks. it was locked, but we could easily enter it from the side. the grass was so very high; it was hard to make out where i was walking as the ground was very uneven. many stones had sunk quite deep into the ground, and at other places there were deep dents in front of stones (you can imagine why!). i hurt my feet and the various types of grass and thorny bushes that were taking over the place were not very nice to my bare legs. but i enjoyed walking around there so very much! most stones had become unreadable, had sunk too deep into the ground, or were just lying around, shattered in many pieces. aside from the train, it was so very quiet there, actually a nice change from those overcrowded beaches and parking lots. so... we just spread our blanket out somewhere in the middle, disappeared between the grass and graves, and had our afternoon snack there! that was my first picnic on a cemetery...
this is the first cemetery in gloucester. the settlers arrived in 1623, and in 1644 some land next to the first meeting house was set aside for burials. until 1925, burials were accepted here. after that, the cemetery was just neglected, and got subjected to nature, and vandalism (thats why the gate was installed. also to prevent people from driving in and dumping their stuff). i found a report in the gloucester newspaper from 2008 that a committee was working on restoration of this cemetery. perhaps they did; i saw some stones that were glued together, but other than that, there was no sign that this cemetery recently had been taken care of.
ah well, i really liked it how it was, and it was such a nice and random find after a frustrating search for a parking spot to get to the beach. when we left, we saw the above couple taking back their space.... :)
for more taphophilia, go here!