Those of you who have been reading my Livejournal blog for awhile may remember this story, but as it’s mysterious and happened to me, I thought it worth posting again.
In June of 2005 I decided to visit Woodlawn Cemetery on 14th and Pico in Santa Monica, California. Not a huge cemetery, surrounded by urban blight on three of its four sides and a junior college on the fourth, but a beautiful place inside the grounds. A number of old, gnarled, and interesting trees are scattered throughout the graveyard, and since it was established in the nineteenth century it has a wide range of dates on the headstones.
I’ve liked walking through cemeteries since I was quite young (morbid child that I am), and I’d been to Woodlawn often back in the day. I also used it in one of my novels (Shivery Bones), dredged up from memory. I decided to return to see if my memory had gotten things right, and also to take some pictures with my (then) new camera. Because the sun was so bright, the sky so blue, the trees so plentiful, I got lots of shadow-and-light shots. The headstones held many poignant stories, too—heartbreak and mysteries, brief lives, some nearly a century old. I doubt anyone knows the story behind the words on those stones anymore, probably not even the folks who keep the cemetery records.
One story that has always intrigued me centers around two small markers over by the western fence (but on this picture you’ll have to click on the picture and go to Photobucket to see the full picture because WordPress keeps cutting it off):
No dates, no other graves nearby, just these two little headstones. My imagination has always roamed a great deal over what story might lie behind the starkness of these two little markers.
The next night as I went through the pictures, I discovered another little mystery. I like to view all the pictures in super blow up, quadrant by quadrant. Partly that’s because sometimes a piece of a photo will be more interesting than the entire shot; partly because I like to look for anomalies. My favorite shot of the set was a shadow and light picture of a child’s grave. And that was the beginning of the mystery:
The small mystery…