April 23, 2012 – Last week we virtually visited Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia’s “Underground Museum” and one of the only cemeteries in the country to carry the designation of a National Historic Landmark.
That same beautiful spring day, I visited Trinity Oxford Episcopal Church and Cemetery, which dates back to 1698, and is located a few blocks from where I grew up in the Lawndale section of Philadelphia.
I’d like to say it’s one of the oldest churches and cemeteries in Philadelphia, but back then this area fell outside of the city limits and was considered the outskirts or the suburbs. It is the same cemetery I walked through as a child, reading the gravestones over and over again. I also picnicked there frequently with friends, and was asked to leave many times by the groundskeeper, when we were caught. We meant no disrespect, of course, we simply loved the peaceful solitude and the shelter from the summer sun.
After visiting both Laurel Hill and Trinity Oxford, I’ve come to the conclusion that cemeteries remind me of chess boards. I didn’t notice this so much in person, but rather when I was looking at the photos, especially the next to the last photo of the Laurel Hill set. In a match between eternal life on earth and an eternal resting place, the latter will win every time.