Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We’re running out of space, folks

Here’s another photo from my Saturday cemetery tour. A structure like this takes up about fifteen square feet of ground. I think it's called a mini-mausoleum. Yesterday a cemetery staff person told me they cost half a million dollars, but I don’t really believe it. I don’t see how one of these could cost more than the average house. I guess we won’t be getting one.

Believe it or not, these units only hold six or eight bodies. It’s good that cremation is coming into acceptance because there just isn’t going to be the space available for each of us to have a whole chunk of real estate all to ourselves. You'd think the cemeteries would want to start saving space like crazy, but they all have strict rules about how many cremations you can fit into a full sized grave – usually only two to four. Is that ridiculous, or what? Come on. The average person’s ashes can fit into something the size of a coffee can. I know I could fit the whole family into one plot if they’d let me.

You oughta see the cemeteries in Eastern Europe. I wish I had picture of the cemetery in a little town in rural Czechoslovakia where I lived for one year. It was right in the middle of town and people walked through it all day. Each plot was packed full and stacked up. After they’d double- or triple-deckered the underground part, they’d arrange the cremation urns on top of the ground level vault or tuck them in next to the headstone. This went on for generations, in a continually developing shrine to their ancestors. Very decorative. Women would stop by on their walk back from the grocery store and tidy it up a little, or leave flowers.



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