My last blog post was a month ago! Yikes! What have I been doing? Hmmm…. Well, I just got back from two weeks in Ohio. I had to pick up my entry from the Dayton Visual Arts Center’s Members’ Show. While I was home, I shot loads of 35mm film and lots of instant film from The Impossible Project.
When I was a kid, I used to go with Grandpa to walk the dogs in Woodland Cemetery. My grandparents lived just a block down the street from the entrance to the cemetery and I loved going with him. I didn’t know it at the time, but Woodland Cemetery was founded in 1841, and is one of the five oldest rural garden cemeteries in the United States. It’s also an arboretum. The cemetery’s website says that
Over 3,000 trees and 165 specimens of native Midwestern woody plants grace the Arboretum’s 200 verdant acres of rolling hills. Many of the trees are more than a century old and nine have been designated “Ohio Champions” by the Ohio Forestry Association.
There are a number of famous people buried in Woodland, too, including Wilbur and Orville Wright; poet Paul Laurence Dunbar; humorist Erma Bombeck; and Levi and Matilda Stanley, King and Queen of the Gypsies. Oh, and Loren M. Berry, the guy who invented the Yellow Pages around 1910. (This might come in handy on Jeopardy! someday.) As a kid, I had a great time looking at the gravestones, reading the names and dates, and thinking about these people who were born, lived, and died a hundred years before I came along. My favorite headstones were the ones with the little metal hinged cover that lift up to reveal a photo of the person occupying the grave. I only saw one of those on this visit. Possibly the most unusual tombstone in Woodland Cemetery is Johnny Morehouse’s.
According to legend, Johnny fell into the Miami & Erie canal and froze to death, despite his faithful dog’s efforts to pull him out. After he was buried, the dog laid on his gravesite and wouldn’t move. Eventually the dog died from starvation and sadness. A special stone was made in 1861 to commemorate Johnny’s dog’s devotion. Visitors to the gravesite leave toys, candy, and other small trinkets on the stone. Now that Johnny and his dog are reunited in the afterlife, so the story goes, their ghosts are roaming the cemetery and barking can sometimes be heard near the gravesite. Unfortunately I didn’t experience anything remotely supernatural the day I was there.
The sunflowers are in John’s garden. He lives next door to my parents and he’s got two big green thumbs. This year his garden was overflowing with tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, cabbage, squash, and peppers. I made a nice ratatouille and some babaganoush. I’ve never eaten so many delicious tomatoes in my life.
Garrett, the family lab, posed for a few photos. He doesn’t really like having his picture taken. Most of the time he’ll turn his head away and pinch his eyes shut as tightly as he can. But there’s something about those old Polaroid cameras I’ve pointed his way. He doesn’t mind those so much, even when the flash on the Spectra goes off.
For this trip I used an SX-70 with Impossible Project PX70 film, both expired and fresh. So that accounts for how I spent some of the last month. All I know is that time flies.