Prior to the dinner, HU members Ginny and Phil Michaels celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows at, where else, a cemetery! Forest Lawn Glendale's Wee Kirk O' The Heather chapel to be exact. Truly a special event to witness. See more photos from Saturday here.
The best part about these yearly get-togethers is being able to meet people who I've only known online, such as Jim Lacy and his lovely wife Laurie. Jim and I have corresponded about graving offlist for some time now, and recently we've been working on accounting for famous people buried at Grand View Memorial Park in Glendale, CA. So it was great fun to chat with him in real life, yay!
I met up with Jim and Laurie at Forest Lawn Glendale the following midday, at the Great Mausoleum. My mission: to deliver pretty pink Stargazer lillies, which had served as HU Dinner centerpieces, to the crypt of Carole Lombard. This was in honor of her 98th birthday on Friday, October 6th as requested by an out-of-state HU list member.
Contraband photo: Carole's Lillies
Thanks to Harry Martin for A) choosing the gorgeous lillies to begin with and B) sending them home with me in a beautiful vase on Saturday night. After decorating Carole's crypt there were enough lillies left over to also leave a nice bunch on the crypt of her hubby Clark Gable and the remainder with vase for my sentimental favorite permanent FLG resident, Jean Harlow.
Here's where the story takes a turn for the worst, not unusal for graving adventures when it comes to FLG. While leaving flowers for Jean, we were busted by Great Mausoleum security matron, Joan Cortes. I say busted because according to FLG, her crypt room is deemed a private area, as is Gable/Lombard.
My problem with getting yelled at and tossed out by Joan is that I've been paying respects to Jean Harlow for 18 years, and each time I've been there when Joan was on duty I did so with her knowledge and permission. She has allowed me to break the rules in the past, so why was today different?
"Our Baby" engraved on Jean Harlow's crypt
I haven't seen Joan in some time now, so long in fact that I wasn't even sure if it was her on duty when we arrived. She was in the booth with a young lady employee, possibly a trainee. I have never mentioned Jean Harlow to Joan when others are present as I haven't wanted to get her into trouble. I said, clearly, when we arrived was that we were here to deliver flowers and she let us through. Well, after flippantly telling us we could either climb over, crawl under or unhook the rope across the entrance.
So I took offense to Joan scolding us by saying we should be ashamed of ourselves. Ashamed? For what, delivering flowers and paying respects when we were inside the building with her knowledge? Her complaint was that we didn't tell her where we were going with the flowers; I noted to her that she didn't ask. I think that if it's that important she should be doing her job from the start and making the inquiry not yelling after the fact.
Or, demanding that I erase my camera's memory card. Um, by that point my response was a firm "no," noting that I had pictures from Ginny and Phil's ceremony at Wee Kirk in particular on the card.
I understand that people have a job to do, but FLG employees, Joan in particular, are way too uptight for a cemetery that prides itself on being a place for the living to memorialize the dead. They bend the rules when they feel like it, then try to humiliate you for "inappropriate behavior" when they don't.
Famous permanent FLG residents on display
You want to know what I think is inappropriate? FLG featuring photos of the celebrities they don't want you to know are buried on their property in their current museum exhibit "Icons of L.A" - 100 Years of Forest Lawn and Los Angeles: History in Photography, running August 1, 2006 through January 1, 2007.
The photographs are stunning, and I really enjoyed seeing them. I enjoyed taking photos of the exhibit until a security guard told me to stop (even though the sign outside stated non-commerical photography was allowed.)
Don't you think it's odd, in light of all this hullabaloo, that they'd whore out Jean Harlow and many others in this publicity stunt then treat the people who care about remembering these same individuals like some sort of cretins?
My *cough* favorite "Oh no, they didn't..." portrait was of birthday girl, Carole Lombard, who died in a tragic plane crash over Las Vegas enroute home from a WWII war bond tour.
Check it out....
Hundreds of portraits of Carole exist, why this one? Is Forest Lawn completely clueless? Talk about inappropriate.
Anyway, see more non-commercial photos from the Icon exhibit here.