A. Marie Silver

A. Marie Silver

Bonaventure Cemetery

It was a dark and stormy Friday

        It was a dreary and depressing day in Savannah

Spooky voices emerged from behind the tombstones

Oh who am I kidding anyway.  Once upon a time it was a gorgeous, sunny day in Savannah.  My husband and I decided to celebrate this momentous occasion by taking the baby on  a stroll through the Bonaventure Cemetery.

Being that I’m not a creature of the night (I get cranky if I stay up too late) sunshine is typically a good thing.  However, because we were visiting one of the most haunted places (or so I’ve heard) it would have been more exciting if it was overcast outside with fog and strange mists floating around. 

Mother Nature had something else in mind for our visit….So….sunshine it is.  After getting out of the car we got our baby set up in his stroller.  I was fidgeting with my camera when I noticed my husband wasn’t holding onto the stroller.  Immediately I lunged for it.

“What are you doing?” he asked.  “The baby’s not going anywhere.”

“Oh My God!” I yelled.  “Are you insane?!  Don’t you remember the opening scene of Ghostbuster’s 2 when a ghost grabbed the stroller from Dana and took her baby on a joyride through traffic?  Hello!  We’re in a cemetery!  Let’s not tempt fate.”

My husband now believes I’m completely nuts.  The worst part of that realization is that he’s right.  I am completely nuts.  Want proof?  Just read my previous blog posts.  They speak for themselves.

Anyway.  I stopped inside of the Cemetery office to get a map and met J-, one of the employees there.  She’s a hoot! The first thing she told me was to make sure I pay a visit to Little Gracie’s final resting place.  Back in the 1800s, Little Gracie fell victim to pneumonia and died two days before Easter.  Her death touched everyone in the community including an artist (no clue who) who designed her tombstone.  Legend has it if school children go up to her statue and rub her nose, they’ll pass their school exams.  Well, after years and years and years of rubbing Little Gracie’s nose, the cemetery gave Little Gracie a nose job and then they placed a rod iron fence around her statue to prevent any future nose jobs.  However, outside of the fence, people will still place candy and other little gifts for her.

This is Little Gracie (with her nose job).

And this is where people have left gifts for her.  This brings me to an interesting topic – Geocaches.  When I posted on Facebook that I had just returned from this cemetery, a friend of mine asked me if I had found any Geocaches.

My response:  Geowhat?  Gesundheit.

So according to my friend, geocaches (no idea if that’s written correctly – too lazy to find out) are like a treasure hunt.  People will leave things for others to find.  Apparently, this kind of thing is popular in cemeteries.  Okay.  Now I’m someone who watches Ghost Adventures, A Haunting, Celebrity Ghost Stories….and I’ve seen numerous episodes where individuals claim, after visiting a haunted location, they were followed back by something supernatural. 

If I were to play this kind of game I would NOT participate if the hidden object was placed in a cemetery.  Knowing my luck, I’d get the GPS coordinates wrong, find myself at a grave site like Little Gracie’s and take something that I wasn’t supposed to take.  Guess how I’d find out?  Little Gracie inevitably would make an appearance in my bedroom, late a night, seriously irritated because I took her pencils or something else left for her.

Dear Beloved Facebook Friend,
No, I didn’t play that game in a cemetery.  Sounds like fun.  Let me know if you ever want to play it somewhere safer; like an abandoned coal mine or an old TNT Factory.
Odds are good (if I survive) I won’t be haunted.
Next on our list of people to visit is legendary Johnny Mercer.  Lovely J-, who worked at the cemetery, told me that Mr. Mercer won four Academy Awards for Best Song and was nominated 19 times.  I looked him up on Wikipedia and the only song I recognized was Moon River.  I probably know some of the others and just don’t recognize their Titles.
J-also told me that a special bench was placed near Johnny’s grave with names of some of the songs he wrote.  He is buried in between his wife and mother who apparently didn’t get along very well, in life, because Johnny lied to his mother and told her his wife was Catholic when she was actually Jewish.  Oops.  Also, Johnny apparently had an affair with Judy Garland that his wife never knew about.  J- advised me not to mention that affair near Johnny’s grave – out of respect for his wife.

I have this thing with walking too close to graves so I didn’t go right up to Johnny’s grave but I think his grave is the second one on the left.  The one with the cross, I believe, is the finally resting place of his mother.  Earlier in the day our paths crossed with these photographers who were there.  I ran into one of them again at this gravesite.  After we finished taking our photos I told him about Johnny and Judy Garland – very quietly, of course.  But this woman standing behind, repeated what I said to her friend who was about 50 feet away.

“Hush!” I yelled.  “Don’t say it so loud!  Johnny’s wife doesn’t know about the affair and I don’t want to be responsible for a posthumous divorce.  Although that would make for an interesting reality television show.”  She laughed at me.  Can’t say I blame her.

This is the bench made for Johnny.  Once again, I didn’t want to get too close because I wasn’t sure who I might be walking on top of to get to it so this is the best photo I have.

Now here’s a fun fact for you (well – I don’t know if fun is the right word – but it’s a fact, anyway) – my mother asked me what I liked the most about the cemetery.  She had a good laugh when I told her it was the moss-covered trees.

See – I think this is really pretty.  Look how the light shines through.  Plus, sometimes the trees make a great frame around statues like this:

I think of all the photos I took there, this one is my favorite.

While we were walking through the cemetery, admiring the statues and trees we did see one more thing of interest.

My husband was in awe of this grave because we share the same last name.  He’s convinced this person is a very distant relative.  And it could, very well, be true.

Anyway, he asked me to take this picture but then became a little worried.

“Does wanting that photograph make me morbid?” he asked.

“Seriously?  You realize you’re asking a woman who used to work in a morgue?”  I’m not really the person to ask when it comes to defining morbid.  Sorry honey!

Overall the Cemetery was beautiful.  I took about 148 photos.  Clearly I was tired because that’s a low number for me.  But we had a great time and look forward to going back to Savannah in March. 


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A. Marie Smith

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