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Graveyards, worth a visit…

Muriel2017It’s been a busy time, so haven’t had time to write earlier. However going through my bookshelves, I found a small book ‘Comic Epitaphs: from the very best old graveyards’ published by Peter Pauper Press. Daughter Susan, who knows I enjoy old graveyards, bought it for me and some of the epitaphs in it are hilarious.

When Susan and I first visited Victoria together, we wandered through their old cemetery looking for Artist Emily Carr’s grave — in the rain. Much to my regret, we never found it.

I’ve wandered through many old graveyards on trips to Europe,

PereLachaise2

Pere Lachaise

but my very favorite is the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Once I spent a whole day there (except for a lunch break), following my carefully-marked map on which I’d circled all the composers, authors, and other special famous people who deserved special attention.

OscarWildePereLachaise

Oscar Wilde’s grave at Pere Lachaise

 

As I made my rounds along the ancient paths at Pere Lachaise, I noticed a moss-covered old crypt with my own family’s surname on it, but by that time was too tired to inquire at the office to try to learn more about them.

 

Here are a few epitaphs from the book Susan gave me. I hope you get as much of a kick out of them as I do.

Here lies Ann Mann

She lived an old maid

But died an old Mann
(Manchester)crossescolor

 

 

 

 

 

 

grim reaper

Here lies Pecos Bill

He always lied

And always will

He once lied loud

He now lies still
(Grand Forks)

 

 

 

Sacred to the memoryskelitons
Of Anthony Drake
Who died for peace
And dear quietness’ sake.
His wife was forever
Scoldin’ and scoffin’
So he sought repose
In a $12 coffin
(Marietta)

 

 

oldjewishcemetBudapest

Old Jewish Cemetery I visited in Budapest

 

Jonathan Grober
Died dead sober
Lord thy wonders
Never cease
(Clinkerton)

 

 

 

Owen Moore
Gone away
Owin’ more
Than he could pay
(Battersea)

Angel

 

Here lies a father of 29
There would have been more
But he didn’t have time
(Moultrie)

 

 

[On an infant]

Since I have been so
Quickly done for,
I wonder what I was
Begun for
Hammondport)

Here lies my wife
A slattern and shrew
If I said I missed her
I should lie here too!
(Selby)

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My own ring story

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

I’d have thoroughly enjoyed this costume

Ring

My mask ring, photo by Samantha

jewelry ring through the years I covered the arts for newspapers in L.A. and Vancouver. I did have a collection of mask earrings to wear to performances, but I’d have worn the ring too. These days I seldom have occasion to wear it, however I do whenever I go to the opera. Then it seems right and I enjoy thinking about how I came to have it.

When I’ve traveled, I’ve often wanted to approach a stranger in the street and ask if I could provide coffee or tea and cake if they’d invite me to have it at their home. I wanted to see how locals lived. Therefore, when Tai Chi pal, Peter Lear, had friends visiting from China, I invited them over.

 

Carla

 Tai Chi participants, L-R: Carol, Judy, me, Donna, back: Carla & Peter, both now gone

Peter, like me, had a special interest in China and Chinese culture. He could even speak and read Mandarin and read the local Chinese newspapers. Peter’s visitors gave me this ring but it always makes me think of Peter, who is now gone but whom I so enjoyed knowing.

Nohtheatre

Japanese Noh Theatre

It seems masks have been used

Chineseoperamask

Chinese opera mask

on stage throughout many cultures since antiquity. The ancient Greeks used them. Chinese opera has used them for centuries. The Romans did too, and masks remain a major part of their Venice Festival each year. I tend to think ancestors who lived in caves probably used them too.

 

GreekTragedymasks

Greek tragedy

While in Taiwan last year, I was truly fortunate to be invited to a rare and special performance of ancient Japanese opera with magnificent, colorful costumes and masks. All the roles were played by women, which I found fascinating. I still enjoy theatre — and masks.

Carnival of Venice

Venice Festival

wredcurtains

Masks and theatre belong together

Have you ever noticed how you always get more than you give? I invited Peter’s Chinese friends over to give them a chance to see how an ordinary Canadian lives. Their gift to me in return has brought me years of pleasure.

 

Nohactor

Japanese Noh Actor

 

 

 

 

The night I met Glen Campbell

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

One of the most interesting jobs I’ve had during the years was with a p/r firm in Los Angeles during my thirties. We were attached to a large record company, working with rock bands and musicians, plus our own clients — some of whom were famous.

Glen Campbell was a client and I was asked to attend one of his television shoots while he was at the height of his career. It happened to be his

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

birthday that night so we ordered a large birthday cake for the occasion. I noted he and I were born in the same year, but that was all we had in common. Unfortunately, when they gave out talent in 1936, he got a lot and I got short-changed.

Campbell

A young Glen Campbell

What do I recall about that night? The first thing I noticed was a huge wooden barrel full of ice and drinks, mostly beer — and plenty of liquor. Who provided that? And, just who, I wondered, were all these guys standing around doing nothing but smoking and drinking — a lot! Friends? Hangers-on? I had no clue. Later I learned Campbell struggled with alcohol and drug addictions at the time.

Now, I’m a gal who hasn’t ever even been drunk. Honest. I’m crazy sober and don’t need to drink. I may pose occasionally with a glass of wine, but that’s about as far as it goes. A dear friend had once described in horrific detail what a hangover felt like and it didn’t seem worth it. So, as you can imagine, I NOTICED the drinking that night.

Diane Kirk, wife #1. jpg

Wife #1, Diane Kirk

Campbell had many hits. Among my favorites: ‘By the Time I get to

#2 Billie Jean Nunley

#2, Billie Jean Nunley

Phoenix’, ‘Gentle on my Mind’ and ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’. He accumulated six Grammies and dozens of other awards during his long career. He also accumulated wives and children: Diane Kirk, 1955-1959, (daughter Debbie), Billie Jean Nunley, 1959-1976, (daughter Kelli, sons Travis and Kane) and Sarah Barg Davis (who had been his friend Mac Davis’s wife) 1976-1980, (son Dillon).

3rd wife Sarah Barg Davis, married to his frien Mac Davis

#3 Sarah Barg Davis

Finally, in 1982 he married the former Kimberly Woolen, a dancer, whom he often said helped him get his life in order. That marriage lasted for over thirty years until the very end. They had three children (sons Cal and Shannon and daughter Ashley).

older with wife

#4 Kimberly Woolen

Campbell died at 81 in Nashville in 2017, after living with Alzheimer’s for some years. His wife Kim and the rest of his large complex family are still battling in court over his estate. A sad end for a real talent.

I’ve been luckier. I’m still around making trouble and enjoying every day.