I am very fortunate in that not only am I located in the midst of some of the most incredible cemeteries outside of Chicago, I also get to work in the business of memorization in assisting families with marker designs that pay tribute to their loved ones.
Often, one will need cemetery property to go with that marker. Yeah, we do that too and it just so happens that one of the properties we currently have for sale is located in Glendale...in Forest Lawn...in a place called Holly Terrace.
Until last year, Holly Terrace was a sleepy mausoleum that was home to numerous stained glass windows and a couple of Hollywood stars; WC Fields and "Good Time" Wally Reid. And then a certain young man moved in and suddenly the place was hot property in more ways than one.
Security had always been tight but now it was racked up to the levels of Fort Knox. Getting an audience with his Holiness the Pope was easier than obtaining entry into Holly Terrace even for property owners.
Which was fine by me because up to last Saturday, so far as I was knew, Holly Terrace was likely just another Forest Lawn "Disney" production of look-a-like crypts and regulation plaques.
I also envisioned little animated cherub figures dancing and chirping "It's a Small World!" over and over.
Thanks, but I'll pass.
And then last Saturday, I finally got to go inside.
There is a story of the person who first spied the contents of King Tut's tomb. He was leaning in thru a hole, light held high. The people behind him called out,
"What do you see??"
and he replied with wide eyed amazement,
The minute the potential buyer and the seller where settled in front of the property, I took off like a shot, keenly aware that this may be my one and only chance to check out the premises if only in five minutes.
Pausing in the main hall, I said a "Hail Mary" for the young man entombed beneath the windows of Christ's return to heaven and then skedaddled my way towards pools of light.
I wish that my eyes were a camera and that I could blink and copy here all that I saw.
A huge window of a boy and his dog entitled "Faith". A woman in an Edwardian high collar looking up from her book informed me that she depicted "Wisdom".
Marble statues abounded. Not a weeping angel in the lot but rather graceful young women dancing and chubby babies gurgling. Here was life, here was joy...
Rays of pure sunlight streamed through a Tudor style window and played on the marble floor below. In that one moment I could have been in a medieval castle or a monastery. Or perhaps the foyer of an east coast ivy league school. I could have been one of a hundred different places.
And then I found it; what is possibly the most unusual window I have ever seen in such a setting as this; the Christmas window.
Because the image is copyrighted, I cannot reproduce it here. I can however put up the link:
Who would have thought to have placed such a scene of joy and life within the halls of the silent?
"We like it" whispered the residents, "We like to remember that we lived, we loved and we rejoiced. And now we are all together once more and that is all that matters..."
From a distance, I could hear the five minute warning of the door guard, urging our party to depart. Not wishing to meet with the a squad of Forest Lawn's own boys in blue, I made haste back to the door but not before I noticed a plaque at eye level.
"Dear God," it read,
"Thanks for everything!"
Couldn't have said it better myself!