You’re probably familiar with Bonaventure Cemetery because of its iconic role in John Berendt’s novel, Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil. But Bonaventure is not the only garden in Savannah.
Half a block from my front porch is Colonial Park Cemetery. Known as the final resting place for 12,000 souls, the historic district’s many ghost tour guides will tell you that Savannahians were buried in mass graves following yellow fever epidemics, fires, duals, hangings — and the part they never dwell on — natural causes.
It’s also the place where General Sherman’s troops camped during The War of Northern Aggression. Remember, you’re in the South, y’all.
Here’s a passage from my forthcoming novel, All Things Unusual: The Coming of Age of a Savannah Hoodoo Conjurer:
How many times had she skipped at Harlan’s side through Savannah’s cemeteries where the headstones were so old the engraved writing had worn smooth with age? She learned to read by sounding out and deciphering the random names, dates, and words that were still legible. While other little girls had fastened glittery pink and purple barrettes in their hair and played with dolls, Lulu’d learned about brick and stone mausoleums and sarcophagi. Long discussions ensued over mortality associated with granite skull and crossbones symbols. In his element, Harlan would give her a boost and Lulu would sit on the tallest gravestones out at Bonaventure Cemetery with her long, gangly legs dangling while they studied and debated the various physical representations of smooth marble angels, seraphim and cherubim. He had taught her that Cerberus, the three-headed dog, guarded Hades, and happily shared his plans that a statue likeness of Everett would one day guard his grave. Most importantly, when Lulu had stopped to chat with invisible homeless Spirits, Harlan had never once treated her as if she was odd.
I’ve always been intrigued by cemeteries. London’s Highgate and Pere-Lachaise in Paris are on my bucket list. How about you? Do you have a favorite cemetery?