St. Katharine Drexel

We were attending a Craft Fair on the campus of the St. Katharine Drexel Shrine this past Saturday.  We decided to take the tour of the Shrine after hearing of its impending closure in January.  It seems they’ve sold the campus and are moving St. Katharine to somewhere in Philadelphia.

The campus is beautiful and the tributes to St. Katharine are amazing.

So much history and good works.

St. Katharine gave hope to the poor, Native Americans and African-Americans.  Providing healthcare and education to the poorest Americans.

I found this block in the walkway inspirational 🙂

To top it off they had a photo op with the Pope in the lobby.  How could is this place?  Um…VERY!  It’s sad that they campus is closing.  I’m glad I got to visit before that happened.  St. Katharine is an inspiration and gives me hope that not all rich people are greedy and soulless.  In today’s climate I wasn’t so sure about them.

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Death, Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.

Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally

And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

       — John Donne

He died almost a week ago.  He was young, filled with promise.  He had a future to yet be discovered.  He was someone’s child, sibling, grandson and friend.  He is gone now and all that remains is the question why?

Wintering with the Dead

I love cemeteries.  When I walk the line of headstones I wonder what the story is of the person buried beneath the stone.

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Every person who lives has a story.  Sometimes we get a glimpse of the person.  In older, wealthier cemeteries the people would honor their dearly departed with their likeness on the stone it’s self.

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There are other times when the family has a desperate need to honor and remember their beloved family member.
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William Warner’s grave is one of those families.  William died at a young age and his Father so missed him he commissioned this tomb stone for his beloved son.  The Angel opens the coffin lid so that William in his ghost state (his face is etched into the cloud) could rise and travel to heaven with her.  It’s so beautiful.  Whenever I visit Laurel Hill Cemetery I always am drawn to it.  You can just see the love for this young man in the artistry of his monument.

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Joey Lutz’s family felt the same way as the Warner family.  They also gave the traveler’s like me who would stumble upon his stone a glimpse of his life.  He was Loved, A Son, A Brother, A Teacher and a Friend.  He was young when he died but he touched many along the way.

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Then there are lonely stones like this one.  It rests in a small cemetery not used since the early 20th Century.  It’s not well maintained and it rests oddly between a real estate office and a now defunct car dealership.  This stone makes me sad.  It is the stone of my relatives who died in the 19th Century.  Their stories have been lost forever.  I visit it from time to time so it is less lonely a place.

A Day With The Dead

I took a day off and did some of my favorite things at my most favorite time of the year.  This was my first stop…Laurel Hill Cemetery.  It is an historic cemetery in Philadelphia and is the last home to many people famous and not so famous.

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This picture had so many wonderful aspects of Autumn.  The colors vary and the monuments give that grey contrast to such vibrancy.

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General George Meade who was a pillar in the Union Army during the War of the States is buried at Laurel Hill.  His monument overlooks the Schuylkill River.  The Meade society keeps the flags flying for all the soldiers in Laurel Hill and every year they host a Celebration of General Meade dressed in full regalia.  Quite an amazing sight.

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One of the reasons I love this cemetery is for it’s artistry.  The sepulchers are amazing and I think of the Stone Masters who carved out of marble or granite these angels and in some cases the likeness of the deceased.  If you get a chance check it out.  They offer all kinds of tours from Historical to Fashion.  A worth while trip!

Through These Doors…

I was visiting some of my favorite places on Friday just to capture the last moments of Autumn when the leaves all fall and make the pathways to Winter.

These are the most beautiful doors I’ve seen in a long time.

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I’ve always loved doors, windows, staircases and well you get the idea…they all lead some where.  These doors lead to a place that some would say was the ultimate goodness and others would say the ultimate sadness.  I guess a little of both.

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They lead to a Mausoleum at Laurel Hill Cemetery.  The artistry is amazing in both Marble and Steel.  Love and dedication went into this house of the dead.  I know cemeteries aren’t most people’s usual place to go on a day off but for me the peace and serenity is complete.

I Love Frankenstein

I love everything Frankenstein.  My wife indulges my insanity and I love her more for it, lol.  It all started with the book.  It is my all time favorite book.  The story had all the elements I look for in a tale.  It started with action and then segued into the tragic story of love, loss and obsession.  I love, love, love this book and because I love it my obsession has branched out to collecting Frankenstein dolls.  I don’t have thousands of dolls because that would really be insane but I have enough that take me to that edge, lol.  As is evident below:

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Spencer reading Frankenstein

Spencer reading Frankenstein

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Teddy playing the violin

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Everyone should own a 2 ft. tall Frankenstein doll named Spencer.

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Years ago I started doing a “Flat Stanley-ish” project with one doll.  His name is Bjorn Maelstrom.  I got him at Disney World’s Norway in Epcot in 2004.

I started a blog with his adventures that has included many of my cast of characters but I always come back to the Frankenstein guys.  In the end if there was only one book to read forever I would pick Frankenstein.  I’m not into the gore of the creature but for the hope that he represents.  A creature different from everyone else who looks for acceptance or the hope there is one other person like him out there to be found or in his case made.