Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Romantic Egotist... and his waltzing partner

I've had the Fitzgeralds, F. Scott & Zelda, on the brain lately. Although I've long been an admirer of F.S.F.'s writing, I knew very little of him and his wife. So, one particularly lazy evening I, and Johnny Walker, googled the couple to see what we could find out.

As it turns out this titillating twosome had more charisma than any of his brilliantly developed characters. Their lives defined a storied time in American history full of sex, drugs, scandal, and jazz. They, along with literary icons such as; Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson, T.S. Elliott, Gertrude Stein and many more, formed the Lost Generation and left in its wake a collection of work that continues to inspire and entertain us.

As I continue to read and learn about this fascinating couple I become more enthralled with their lives and with their wickedly apt network of contemporaries. Zelda, for instance, was not only a beautiful lady, but a beautiful artist as well.
(ballet figures by Zelda Fitzgerald)
(the deposition by Zelda Fitzgerald)
It was also in my recent quest to learn more about the Fitzgerald's that I found out that they are buried in Rockville Maryland, a suburb just outside of the District. Well, the combination of my love for cemeteries and strong interest in this compelling couple was reason enough for me to hop in my car and head to Rockville.

The couple is buried along with their daughter and a few other Fitzgerald family members in a very small graveyard attached to a modest structure -Saint Mary's church, built in 1817.

I can only imagine what a peaceful setting this must have been in 1817.... juxtaposed now by busy roads and austere cement clad buildings. I'll refrain from showing that aspect of Saint Mary's. The graveyard is lovely, despite it's unfortunate location.

Saint Mary's Catholic Church:
520 Veirs Mill Road
Rockville, MD 20852


While on a little trip today, I spotted this strange outline in the snow...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Slicker; as defined by Amory Blain

(photo credit: the great Hollister Hovey)

“The slicker was good-looking or clean-looking; he had brains, social brains, that is, and he used all means on the broad path of honesty to get ahead, be popular, admired, and never in trouble. He dressed well, was particularly neat in appearance, and derived his name from the fact that his hair was inevitably worn short, soaked in water or tonic, parted in the middle, and slicked back as the current of fashion dictated. The slickers of that year had adopted tortoise-shell spectacles as badges of their slickerhood, and this made them so easy to recognize”

-Amory Blain : This Side of Paradise

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

old news: snow days

(The National Mall)

(a snowy intersection)

(a very irritated, and cold, Louie)

(lighting my tree)

(trimmed tree, glowing santa head, and a blurry Ella)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oak Hill, or the story of a boy

As a child I would sit in my room and wait for overcast misty days. Having grown up in the shadows of appalachian mountains, my lust for cloud leaden skies was realized often. The dullness seemed to impose an opposite effect on me than it did others. I felt enthusiastic, optimistic, and encouraged to seek adventure. I’d slip on my favorite pair of penny loafers, top coat, and grab an umbrella before heading out the door. (my poor parents, at least they had the fortune to have given birth to two masculine boys ahead of me) I’d walk around the narrow broken cement paths of my neighborhood sidewalks and keep the canopy of my umbrella tilted to an angle that would sufficiently conceal the familiar landmarks surrounding me. I’d imagine myself scouring the gloomy cobblestone streets of victorian London in search of great escapade, romance, or maybe culinary delight (all depending on what story I’d secretly concocted earlier that day).

As I grew up I grew out of my tendency to create solo theatrical performances... or at least my tendency to act them out in the streets of my neighborhood. I was content simply to brood melancholy amongst my fellow puberty riddled contemporaries.

By the time that I’d moved away to college I had convinced myself that I’d fully shed the overly dramatic layer of my personality that had led me on too many walks through too many self-produced imaginary cities. But, it seems that the gods weren’t as convinced. Perhaps as a test to the maturity of my character, I had unknowingly moved into a house but half a block from one of the most magical places that I’ve had the fortune to visit.

Homewood Cemetery is an ethereal living museum of meandering paths lined by passive trees. Tucked away here and there are classical architectural models of human scale. Designed to protect those entombed within their stoic marble walls, and to intimidate those passing by.

This post isn’t about Homewood, but about the respect and appreciation of cemeteries that has been emblazoned in my psyche by that grand knowing matriarch of U.S. cemeteries.