Jan 25, 2008


The notion of an elaborate funeral is and was foreign to most of humanity I think. Before the funeral business became an industry and before most of us lived in cities, funerals were pretty plain.

Baby Porfirio Lujan who died in infancy was buried in this modest grave. The mound of dirt covering his grave was topped with cement and his name and relevant dates were just scrawled into the cement. This is such a stark reminder of how fragile life was a century ago.

I heard a geneticist being interviewed the other day and he said that 95% of childhood deaths have been eliminated in the past one hundred years because of improvements in hygiene and the expansion of vaccines.

Most of the graves at El Fuerte are unmarked, especially the earlier one. Maybe people thought that they would remember, or maybe signage on the grave site was not considered important.

In the photo below, it seems that someone still remembers who is buried in the three graves with recent crosses on them, unlike the ones in the foreground, which are completely unmarked. Perhaps someone has a map of the site, but I suspect not.

This simple wooden cross is held together by fence wire. In the lower right corner of the picture, someone has placed a modern granite marker on the grave next door. A creosote bush has overtaken that marker. It kind of struck me after the fact that maybe it's nature's reminder that we aren't that important in the big scheme.

It was back to work at the hardware store today. Next week I am scheduled to work four days and I think it will be that way for awhile. One of my coworkers is off due to surgery, so I think I am picking up some of her hours.

One thing that has surprised me about working at the hardware store is the number of keys we make. I can't remember the last time I needed a key made, but a lot of people buy a lot of keys. I didn't count how many I personally made today, but I guess it was at least fifty.

Saturday is the only day I really don't like working at the store. Mostly because I have to be there at 7am, which seems just plain unreasonable to me.

Lastly for today, Portable Hairdryer Girl wondered what the Santa Catalina mountains looked like. This link is to some pictures of Mt. Lemmon the highest peak at 9157 ft. The mountains rise from high desert to Ponderosa Pine forests.

Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky


alphabet soup said...

You'll have that new computer paid off in no time at all with all this extra work!! I find the Fort Lowell posts interesting, I like historical stuff.
Ms Soup

Kurt said...

I once served as the coffin bearer for an infant's funeral in Mexico because all the other men present were too drunk to do it.

Steve said...

I think there's something kind of elegant about an unmarked grave. We die, we vanish. All these pretensions to memory and permanence are ultimately futile.

phd girl said...

Someone probably has a map of the site-- I have my own map of an old family graveyard where there are about a dozen unmarked graves.

Funerals were elaborate during Victorian times, there was money to be made off fancy dress, the "mortician" arrived on the scene, fancy carriages and grave markers. The whole death angle was worked for profit-- the more you spent, the more you showed your grief. Now it seems there is a shift back to simpler means-- cremation.

I think it is more elegant to just vanish.

bella rum said...

Fifty keys! Wow! That is a lot.

I agree with Steve about the illusions of permanence. Perhaps it's our egos that want to believe a memorial to our lives will remain a thousand years from now.