Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Final Resting Place

Today I went out with my dad on a self guided tour of our beloved town. I had tried to make a customized tour based on a theme my dad gave me. He wanted to visit old mansions of famous Chicagoans. That took us to the South Loop and Prarie Avenue. We tried getting into the Clarke House, the oldest structure in Chicago, and the Glessener Mansion Museum, but when we got there the tours were booked for the next two hours. The tour took on more of a final resting place theme.

We happened upon the site of the Fort Dearborn Massacre, we visited the tomb of Stephen A. Douglas,the famous orator and Senator form Illinois, saw the site of the Camp Douglas prison camp,the final resting place of many Confederate POW's, we ate in Chinatown, and ended up touring the grounds of Graceland Cemetery.

It was a treat trying to find the tombstones and mausoleums of Carter Harrison, Daniel Burnham, Mies Van der Rohe, Potter Palmer, Marshall Field, Cyrus McCormick, John Kinzie, Joseph Medill, Joseph Armour, and other founding fathers of our city.

My father kept saying what a special day he had with me, and there is nothing better that stumbling upon places you've seen in pictures, in photos, or read about in books, and seeing them and experiencing them in real life. The day turned out to be unexpected, the best kind of day.

In all of the joy of our discoveries, I came to a decision that I wanted to be buried in Graceland Cemetery among the people that fostered the development of this city I call home.

I think of my grandfather, who is coming close to his last days, even though it probably makes practical sense to bury him wherever he dies, whether he finds himself near family in Chicago or Orlando, his insistence that he be buried in Puerto Rico, where he was born, forced a move back to his hometown of Mayaguez, PR so that it was assured that he is remembered forever in the place that holds so much meaning in his heart.

I hope that I will be able to do the same, I literally and figuratively want to put down roots where I will not be forgotten. I am planning to live in Chicago for the rest of my life, but I hope wherever I find myself from here on out, that my family will honor my wishes to be buried in the sweet sandy, clay soil of Chicago. Maybe in Graceland Cemetery.

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