Archive for the ‘Brookline’ Category

Churching at Home

March 1st, 2009

Quiet and discomforted in my bed last evening, I fully recalled those loud adult functions of my youth. Adults downstairs laughed and shouted at volumes that would have gotten us kids punished, while we were upstairs in the covers with our books and reading lamps.

church in a cottage

Church came to me and I was unable to meet it full on. I had overextended myself with the walker and crutches…plus, there were so many of them (16) and they were so loud.

In the new UU-style canvass dinner system some use, the pledging units do an elaborate potluck at a private house, get a tiny bit juiced, talk about what that church means to them, and leave with their pledge cards. Bonhomie brings beneficence (without the hard sell), the theory goes

I did put in a cameo, waiting until everyone arrived and successfully thumping down the 13 stairs on a crutch and the rail, knowing the crowd drowned the thuds. I chatted for awhile and didn’t have to detail the nastiness of the breaks or surgery — subjects that bore and irritate me from the repetition. I couldn’t join in the wine, because of medication, and would fallen behind the happier swillers as well.

The grouping included only a couple of men and was largely lesbian couples. I had known several of those sets from a previous UU church we shared in downtown Boston. No one was a stranger to me and in a little better health, I would have enjoyed the banter.

Several of my lesbian friends have remarked to me how loud they often are, particularly as a couple. In friendly environments as our house with peers, religious and political, around, they fairly burst with exclamation.

 

 Bonhomie brings beneficence

Taking my leave and upstairs in either my office or my bed, I could muse on nearly four hours of the happy noises. I have a vague recollection of a BBC Mystery series written by a woman who remarked on the high-pitched din in a women’s school dining hall. She compared them to strident birds (starlings or grackles as I recall) and wondered why women sounded so loud and unpleasant.

Here it was not nasty though. I am sure had it been many men, straight or gay, the sounds would have been deeper and more muted, but they likely would have also included competitive posturing. I’ll take the women talking all over each other in affirming cacophony.

I was so beaten up by pushing myself around the two floors that I did manage a half-hour nap. The bedroom door was open, yet I dozed. I looked at the black-on-lime clock display on waking and wondered how my brain could accommodate the noise. We humans may not be all that evolved, but in many ways we live our little miracles.

Surely if church was as enlivened as cottage dinners, this congregation would double. Such a prolonged happy exchange speaks well of the fellowship of those you know, but not all that well, yet are jolly enough with. Church coming to the house is not bad at all.

The Undead on Obama

November 12th, 2008

One famous UU minister, Carl Scovel, delights in two things:

I saw the second again this weekend when he was guest speaker at First Parish in Brookline. As with his King’s Chapel, where he was senior minister for three decades, 1st P’s parishioners are entitled and privileged by wealth and position. His willingness to tease the largely humanistic UUs with his overt Christianity might be enough, but he also enjoys jolting them out of their smugness.

Last weekend, he sat expressionless during the candles. In UU vernacular, these are candles of celebration and concern lit by congregants. Supposedly they say a few words about something personal. I tend to think of these as candles of bragging and whining, and wince when one after another become prolonged rants.

Carl ScovelQuite predictably this time, many were in fact of celebration. It was, after all, the first service following Barack Obama’s election. Yet, behind Scovel’s glistening eyes, the not very tall but very thin preacher (he truly looks like hillbilly evangelists I saw in my childhood) was ready. He must be in his late 70s, but has the clarity of vision of an experienced and vital preacher.

Rather than roll in the meadow of euphoria, he asked for transcendence. He reminded the almost entirely rich and almost entirely white folk that there are multiple ways of looking at the results. He asked us to get beyond the obvious and expect the other side to have its days again.

He did spare us his Christianity though. In most UU churches on most Sunday’s, that’s wise.  For a denomination/association that prides itself on its tolerance, we’re hardest on Christians. Over the years, I’ve heard parents at various Boston UU churches say their kids have learned more about Hinduism than Christianity.

Out in the West and Southwest, I’ve attended UU churches where most congregants were raised Roman Catholic. They don’t mind Christ talk or images. In contrast, the former Catholic in some Boston churches can be downright hostile to those. Some speak of being abused by priests and hit by nuns. GLBT parishioners have tales of feeling denigrated for their orientation.

Yet, the UUA’s president is an open Christian. Bill Sinkford has never downplayed or hidden that. Likewise, at Arlington Street, some of the finest people I have ever known are Christians. I think immediately of Dan Cheever, former chair of the board (the Prudential Committee) and generous benefactor to the church and association. He epitomized the ideal UU.

In Brookline, the anti-Christian riffs are not hidden though. Oddly, that doesn’t seem to be a factor among the numerous parishioners raised Jewish, many of who still call themselves Jews. At the most recent annual Passover Seder, several Jews at the table said they had no problem with blending Christianity into the mix or even singing Christian hymns.

Most UUs joined as adults and typically came from Methodism or other mainline Christian churches. How odd that they would take the best from other religions, while seeming to fear and dislike Christianity. Personally, I was a very devout little Christian, more so than the rest of my family. That’s past and I am no longer a Christian, but I don’t feel scarred by it nor do I think it cut me off from intellectual and spiritual growth.

Perhaps Scovel will return and share some of his famous five-minute radio lessons.

Those unfamiliar with King’s Chapel might be surprised to learn it was a loyalist/royalist enclave as the first downtown church in colonial times. It was Anglican and Episcopal before Unitarian. It has never identified as Universalist and reports everywhere that it is “unitarian Christian in theology, Anglican in worship, and congregational in governance.”

I can’t do a steady diet of King’s Chapel, even though it can be nice to sing hymns with the worlds I grew up hearing.

Like most 1st P folk, I was on quite a political high five days after Obama’s election. I think it was good for us all to step back and take the longer view. There’s lots of time at home for clinking glasses.

Lola La-Di-Dah

October 25th, 2008

swanla.jpg

Lackaday,  I have not been faithful to Lola.  After looking through — it is so LITE that reading is not a word to use with it — the first two issues, I didn’t even open the street box door to get the next eight.

Today though at the Haymarket, I noticed the new cover, the new promise on the 11th issue. The October low-low-Lola fairly shouts that this is THE AUTHENTICITY ISSUE (in seasonal pumpkin orange). Oh, in our jaded age, who amongst us should reject authenticity?

Pic Trick: Click thumbnail for larger view. Use your browser back button to return.

The humor here (to all but the Globe and owner NYT managements) is that Lola is thick and full of advertising. At the same time, the feeble local parent is combining sections, trimming its dimensions and throwing staff out of the troika into the dangerous economic night.

The success is not surprising under the tweaking palms of editor Kara Baskin. She has been hitting Boston FOXnews and the circuit promoting her book Size Matters.  For a trifling $14, you can “(clear) up mysteries about male anatomy, orgasm, masturbation, STDs, testosterone, impotence, sexual response, and much more.” This may not be all fluff, as the lead author is a urologist, Harry Fisch.

What is biz news is that in the print-is-dead era, a narrow, yuppie book, as the trade is wont to call a magazine, would float. A look at the box locations may clarify here. There are 125 boxes in Boston. They are where the slick and sleek sleep — Beacon Hill, Back Bay and South End primarily. There are also smaller clumps in money pouches — 43 in Newton, 32 in Cambridge, 30 in Brookline and 34 in Wellesley. Check the ads and reach for your AMEX Platinum cards, kiddies.

It’s smart marketing and positioning. The heft and ad volume look pretty good. They don’t seem to have captured the Neiman Marcus-level stores or the $45-entrée restaurants…yet.

Another savvy Lolaism is counterintuitive. Most of us are used to getting news and views online. Even for papers and magazines we get delivered, we like to read these online. Not with Lola.  The site has no content related to the maggy. Somebody smart realized the value of telling advertisers that readers have to hold it, open it and be exposed to the actual sales pitches. That doesn’t work for news, but for women’s service magazine content, it’s heap clever and workable.

So, take Lola at its word. Oops, the Baskin refers to the maggy as she. Let’s see how authentic the contents of the authenticity issue is.

The  genuineness level is about the same as a socialite’s welcome or good wishes.

Perhaps the most risible feature is the Good Deeds one. Its title is broken by an asterisk — acts of kindness* *that are easy to do. Let that roll around in your mind a bit.

On the surface, this is about helping others, but the two points for Lolaoids are 1) You don’t have to put yourself out much and 2) You can feel good, even self-righteous. So there. This is about the reader/consumer and not hoi polloi.

As a UU, I have to qualify that though. Our associati0n’s churches are full of checkbook liberals. Many of our pledge units don’t do squat for others directly, but their money keeps the church operating and goes to good causes. They are doing good stuff, even if at arm’s length. The walk for this or that and the chip in for special collections types are essential and positive, in their way.

The five authenticity choices this month were:

  • Donate books or read to kids waiting for pediatric checkups in a clinic.
  • A walk-for fund-raiser, this one for blood cancers.
  • Join an anti-puppy mill/pet shop group, and maybe even leaflet for it.
  • Spend a couple of hours in a big group cleaning up a park in Allston.
  • Volunteer for a suburban humane society at a cat shelter.

Those are all good things. They also don’t inconvenience anyone or risk a long-term commitment. Feel good and walk away.

 Lola is at her best though in getting the privileged readers to write the copy. Consider the cover teaser promising Readers on Ditching Phoniness. Wowzers, lassies…enlightenment on a single page (12).

Keeping with its me-first attitude, Lola  rewards her authorettes. The favorite tip won a Lola handbag and Starbucks gift pack (with a $20 gift card, iced coffee bumbler, and bag of beans). This is a monthly shtick.

So in October, How Do You Avoid Being Fake? according to Lola readers?

  1. Live the cliché. “…if I try to be the superhero that my dog believes me to be, then my values are aligned and the superficial wants and desires of day-to-day life don’t seem so important.”
  2. Guilt trip relatives. One tipster emailed (cold, I say!) family not to send anything solid for her birthday. Instead they are supposed to figure out some unexpected good deed they could do for another. Ah, the self-righteousness  is contagious, as well as passive-aggressive.
  3. Mingle with the other.  “Extend yourself to people who are different from you in terms of age, occupation, economic strata.” How egalitarian, no?
  4. Goof on the blind. Volunteer at the Perkins School for the Blind. They literally won’t notice “your bad hair day…overdue mani-pedi, or…less than fabulous outfit.”
  5. The winner:  Be superficial but mean it. Like a parody of a Southern Belle, Annette from Milton states, “Superficiality becomes a problem when we are lazy and apply the mechanics of social graces, but not the spirit to situations (and people) that deserve something more.”

The entire maggy is what the industry calls toilet reading. Those are the short, simple-minded snippets that take under two minutes to read and do not require analysis. It’s a formula that has been successful for many newsstand and supermarket pubs, most aimed at women.

Lola has found its audience it would seem, as well as enough advertisers.  It will probably thrive even as the Globe suffers. If your brain is crying out to be entertained but not made to work, you know where to head.

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Bike Schmuck Strikes

September 25th, 2008

I knew a woman who referred to Snooton and Swellesley for the attitudes of our near ‘burbs. I bet she’d have a good one for Brookline as well. The pseudo-aristocracy lives — in grandeur — there.

ribbonrack.jpg

Today at Trader Joe’s, I had biked from my humble JP digs to pick up some hippie-dippy foods for my weekend dinner guests.  But, holy bike humps, Batman, some putz had commandeered almost all the gigantic bike rack. Someone had locked a bike parallel to the rack.

What was left in a Ribbon Rack® designed for nine bikes was the last hump. There was one bike there the right way, leaving just enough space on the outside of the hump for my thin wheel.

I translated this piggishness to parking in a fire lane or handicapped zone because you’re special. I opened my bag to get paper and pen for a zinger scolding note. Lackaday, I had cleared out the contents earlier and was foiled.

As I took off my bike shoes, the schmuck emerged with her own tiny bag of mouth delights. She was late 40s or early 50s, plenty old enough to 1) know how to use a bike rack and 2) to have some consideration for us lesser mortals.

I: You really shouldn’t block the whole bike rack.

She: Oh.

I: A lot of us can share this rack.

She: There wasn’t enough space for my bike in the rack.

I: There’s a mountain bike and a road bike at this end. Both fit fine. Yours would too.

She: (Shifting to justifications) I’ve never seen any other bikes here. (This suggests that she is in the habit of bogarting the rack. Also, in my experience, there are usually two to four bikes locked here.)

I: (Silent but looking.)

She: I’m sorry.

I: Thank you.

She: Well, there’s nothing else I can do about it now.

I bet she isn’t chastened, that she’ll be a repeat offender, and that if I had been even sterner, it wouldn’t have made any more difference. Well, I’m still going to be considerate of others, even those dreadful cyclists. I’m still going to speak to (or, less bravely, leave nasty notes for) entitled princes and princesses.

The Grump on Charity Cycling

September 21st, 2008

Who hasn’t known the emotional discomfort or even dread of gift wrap, Tupperware, candy bars, and in recent years, the charity rides and walks? Neighbors, coworkers, relatives, church members, and kids you’ve never seen all have good causes. Maybe Girl Scouts seeded this weedy ground with their cookies  (hey, I’ve been known to eat a Thin Mint, or a dozen).jr_cookiebiz.jpg

When the good cause wears the loud, heavy chains of guilt, compulsion and expectation, most of us cringe. Daughter Cassandra’s school sold great gift wrap at very high prices and bought school stuff. You know it’s the mom who stands bald faced before one coworker after another, holding the order form with many empty lines.

We did end runs with our kids’ schools. I refused to have my guys walk around bothering neighbors and maybe putting themselves at risk peddling crap for fund raisers. We’d do the cowardly but efficient and emotionally unburdened writing of a check to the school instead. Sometimes though, I’d had to face people I knew well or a little with their charity or good-cause clipboard.

When Walk for This and That and The Other became as common as sports pages above the urinals, I learned to transfer my school skills. I’d agree to support the charity directly by writing a check to it, but not pledging for the chest-thumping, righteous ride or walk. We give to churches, politicians, Project Bread, the UU Service Committee and on and on, but I don’t do pledges for chums.

Today was a ruined ride for me. As a serious and regular cyclist, I was crushed to find that the Hub on Wheels ride around Boston has been co-opted with the pretense of charity.  It’s tough for me. I have already pushed for Boston newish bike czarina, Nicole Freedman to re-start the Tour de Graves. Went on maybe six of those tours and dragged my non-cycle-loving wife on one, which she to enjoyed. They were for a cause too — the $10 or $15 registration fee went directly to support upkeep of the city’s historic burying grounds. There were no pledges from startled coworkers and no charity infrastructure bled the proceeds in costs. Also, some company invariably paid for t-shirts so you gave a little, got a little,  and no neighbors were shamed in the process.

Yet, the yuppie types love this charity ride/walk/run shtick. Particularly the competitive and comparative types, the literal ones, want to pile up the pledges and just feel super swell about themselves.hubonweels3.jpg

From a distance, I can believe two things. First, these good causes would not get this level of donation without the special event, that is, they are effective. Second, that really shouldn’t be the case; if the charities are worthy, a word to the wise and generous should be more than sufficient to fill the bank account. This modern ritual in which you can cast all etiquette and kindness aside to hassle people you know little or well is a cruel one.

Generosity for its sake is not the way of the new, devolved Hub on Wheels, nor of the nation right now. For today’s ride, for example, the original idea was to get more folk involved in cycling, particularly as our mayor is a bike convert. It’s good for the environment, reduced noise and pollution, blah blah. Plus, thousands of Bostonians would grok cycling and each other.

Those weren’t sufficient reasons for someone. The goofed up particulars ended up:

  • A base $45 registration fee whether  you wanted the 10, 30 or 50 mile version.
  • A charity aim to buy computers and related stuff for BPS in tough times.
  •  “A $250 pledge commitment is strongly encouraged—think of it as just $25 from ten friends.”
  • Join one of 11 featured corporate teams for tchotchkes or other small bribes.
  • Bike jerseys and similar fancy prices on a competitive basis for the highest fund raisers.

So fostering cycling and the bonhomie of the big ride went under the wheels. I’d like to think I’d be the kind of person whom the HoW folks would want to participate. In fact, they allege that you don’t have to annoy people you know for pledges, just pay the $45 ($55 by event day).

Instead, what they wanted was an event, a mega-event that they could say more than justified itself. You can measure the good in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More than one person has accused me of being cynical. My cynicism today involves thinking that the obvious purposes of promoting cycling in a city that could benefit hugely from fewer cars on the road and more butts in saddles instead of SUV seats is vastly more important. All that got lost today.

I walked to church from JP to Brookline, about 3.5 miles. Clumps of four to 60 cyclists passed, apparently on their way to Forest Hills Cemetery. I saw the routing signs there yesterday, returning from my own long bike ride.

The schools will benefit, even after expenses. I remain a cyclist and think less kindly about mixing messages. Yeah, yeah, it’s possible to do both at the same time, but honestly, the environment, exercise, and trying to shift to a cycling culture are important. Self-satisfaction by charity fund-riders is not so significant.

UU, Me, Me

August 4th, 2008

Pardon me while I scream. I attended a Sunday worship at a UU church far from the death, wounding and panic in Knoxville, only to hear vacuous comments from a minister owning the risk and fear from afar.

Come to notice this all too common pseudo-empathy, I suppose it is as bad as schadenfreude. Is there a term for feigning the perils and travails of others from a position of safety and comfort?

This time it was in a wealthy church distant from urban threats and unpleasantness — overcrowded housing developments for the poor, street gangs, the wandering and homeless demented too early from treatment, druggies seeking to buy or steal their next fix, vast and obvious class differences…

The minister did the same thing in two ways:

  • Each of us is at daily risk, as surely as if we lived in a war zone.
  • If it happened in a Knoxville UU church, it would happen anytime in any UU church.

Well, no, damn it, no!

In too much of the world, violence can be random, cruel, sudden and frequent.


Even if done with the best of intentions, such preaching does not service to the congregants. Trying to frame tragedy in our shared fears has its limits, or should.

Fair preaching, for one example, is noting that we are all terminal patients here. We all die. Such thoughts can often lead to sermons with specifics on living well and helping other, true shared UU ideas and ideals.

Equating the minor inconveniences and elevating the fears of the most privileged with the very real dangers to the most imperiled is not fair or reasonable or respectful. Projecting that a lone loony could appear at any moment out among the wealthy white suburbs intent on violence is more likely self-absorption.

We heard this over-projection during the 60s civil-rights period as well. There was no surer way to alienate black activists than to say your minor inconveniences were the same as a heritage of slavery and then government-aided oppression. A recent version is rich folk eating on a food-stamp budget for a few days saying they understand the suffering of those with no choice.

During the sermon, I found flashed on one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, McElligott’s Pool. The young lad angling in a tiny splash of water imagines myriad, diverse fish headed his way. “Then maybe some fish might be swimming toward me!  (If such a thing could be, they certainly would be!)”

A post over at Marry in Massachusetts, touched on the difference even being in an urban UU church means. There at a church with seven days of activities, supper programs for the poor and outreach to many the needy, unhappy and unstable are always there. They consider the downtown church theirs and some abuse it. Some arrive with anger and even sometimes armed. The likelihood of violence is vastly higher in a less isolated and protected setting.

Yet, it is a still different, harsher, riskier world in war zones. For the dreadful events in Knoxville, our UU churches in this country should be very cautious about claiming solidarity. How many of us can imagine and accurately project living where armed militia may well shoot any of us on the street, in our homes or anywhere? Can we comprehend a daily possibility that someone of a different religion or political bent would maim or murder us and anyone with us? Can we really project what it would be like to drive to the grocery with the strong likelihood that a roadside bomb could explode at any moment?

In too much of the world, violence can be random, cruel, sudden and frequent. While it may speak to our sympathetic side, we must be careful to equate our lot with that. Projecting our compassion may well go to our seventh principle — Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Yet, let us not trivialize the suffering of others by pretending our minor doubts and insecurities are the same.

Numerous churches have been scenes of violence and death. Progressive politics don’t seem to be the marker either. UUs shouldn’t be so sure we are targets just because we are more left-wing than many.

Yes, we should feel a sibling relationship with the Knoxville congregants and clergy. In light of evidence that this particular killer, Jim David Adkisson, had stockpiles of right-wing literature and seemed to have a fixation on liberals, we can pause and think and rethink.

We should certainly not try to close off our churches, be wary of any visitor, or generally be non-UU welcoming. We should do the what-if though, not to become paranoia and distrustful, but to revel in our worship and other events together, knowing we are likely to return home safe as well as fulfilled.

Skulls in Brookline

July 28th, 2008

While I abut the splendid Forest Hills Cemetery (cum art museum/park), I am often unfaithful and walk the lanes of other graveyards as I can. The following images concentrate on details from the Walnut Street Cemetery in Brookline.

I had saved this one to savor, knowing it was the oldest in the town (1717) and likely filled with colonial era gems. Well, it isn’t really, but it is worth the visit. There are few noted corpses. More to my disappointment, it does not have any spectacular or unique iconography (one exception is jolly Mary Boylston).

On the other hand, it contains a fine sampling showing the evolution of the death’s head imagery into cute cherubic carvings. Click on the thumbnails below for larger views.

Disclaimer: I have been attending First Parish in Brookline, but I don’t feel that I have to defend their non-maintenance of this cemetery through 1840.

The first bit of history is that First Parish ran this cemetery until it gave it to Brookline when the church could not or would not keep it up. Unlike garden cemeteries and many private graveyards, this one started before the concept of perpetual care — paying for a sort of maintenance annuity for the graves — was in place here.

There is a preservation plan, but it is long overdue in execution.  For remarkably complete details on the history, burial at, and that plan, visit the Walnut Street Cemetery site.

Walnut Street hourglassBefore looking at the various death’s head images, wander this small graveyard. At the top of its central hill is the deteriorating iron fence of the Cook site. It has a fine example of an hourglass, illustrating the ephemeral nature of life.

The older and less imposing headstones lie almost entirely in the depressed (but not depressing) middle valley. There are a few tombs along the Western rise next to Walnut Street. By far the best art is on the stand alone stones in the valley.

Truth be told, there are many New England cemeteries with fancier examples of the carver’s art. Yet, appreciate this one for what it does have — a full range of a century and one half of development. The early 18th century horrific death’s head with sunken eye holes and forbidding teeth develops into more humanized heads with stylized features. Next comes a softened almost cherubic version for young adults and children and finally an almost realistic portrait style, much more human and human than ghastly.

At the end of the burials here, the stones went more for willows, symbolizing eternal life and even a few with graceful flowers and no overt reminder of mortality.

Three death’s head styles three death’s head styles
Young Gardner Typical late 17th and early 18th century death’s head, 1721
1721 classic death’s head wsmarygardner.jpg
Infant son’s stone Child’s version, 1723
1727 traditional skull with large eye holes Cap’n  Aspinwall
Seaver 1741 1741, end of the iconography era, with bones
1752, rounder, less stark image McLaine stone
wssgoddard.jpg 1755, shortly before the Goddard family stones began to move to more humanized images.
1768, Seuer stone showed stylized eyes and a mouth without lips instead of teeth. wsseuer.jpg
wssonsgoddard.jpg 1764,a toddler Goddard showed a rounder, but adult face instead of a death’s head.
The same carver produced a series of Goddard variations. Here 26-year-old Sarah’s stone from 1780. wsgoddard.jpg
wshgoddard.jpg Six years later, her sister Hannah (27) received a very similar image, with more elaborate borders.
In contrast, by 1794, a much friendlier, rounder image appeared on the stone of the 51-year-old Hannah Dana. wsdana.jpg
wsagoddard.jpg Also in 1794, the stone of 21-year-old Abijah Goddard shows the transition in the family previously committee to stern images. This is well on the way from a skull to a more cherubic image.
Transitional images include the Whites. Here from 1780, Moses’ stone added both the human face and obvious hair. wsmwhite2.jpg
wswhite.jpg Similarly, from the next year, the stone of his wife Rachel had a feminized version.
A little earlier, 1775, some of the later softer elements appeared on the Amos Wadsworth stone. Note the lips are stylized and minimal. The rough eyes are cartoon-like. wswadsworth.jpg
wsgriggs.jpg The humanization trends included hair, which gradually became fuller and appeared combed. The 1782 Griggs’ stone is early in this process. There’s not too much detail, but it spares the shocked look of the new eye styles.
By the 19th Century, instead of the grimness of death, the image of a willow as a symbol eternal life began to appear. An early example is on an Estabrook stone. wsestabrook.jpg
wswillow.jpg This quickly developed into more detailed and elaborate willows. This remains a common theme in New England and elsewhere.
A foreshadowing image is the 1815 Mary Allford one. It came before the fancy and more realistic willows. However, note the urn representing the body and the simplified leaves in an unnatural but esthetically pleasing arch. wsallford.jpg
wsbuckley.jpg In contrast to most stones with carved images in Walnut Street, the new style is well represented by the 1852 Charlotte Buckley stone. It has a floral motif but no overt symbolism of mortality.Various plants and flowers have their connotations, but tend to be more subtle.
My favorite in this graveyard is Mary Boylston’s 1722 stone. It is in contrast to the other stones and is an exception to the slow imagery transitions. The carver seemed to try to reflect a strong personality and represent her in much more of a portrait style than others. This is the more remarkable for its period. Mary may have been a merry soul. wsmboylston.jpg

Exposition and factoids: For reference, I often use Graven Images, Allan I. Ludwig, Wesleyan University Press. Amazon and other online sellers discount it. There a scattered details of graveyard iconography on the net. If you search, include variations, like headstone in your terms. You can find pages like the Yale University one with a  list of images appearing on Cape Cod colonial era tombstones.