Last week, my friend John came for a few days from Georgia, and first thing we did was go to see Howard Hughes' grave, in an old cemetery shaded by massive live oaks near downtown Houston. We joked that we should have left a small jar of urine as a tribute, but alas, we had no jars. Gene Tierney, who was married to Hughes and played the title role in Laura, is buried nearby. To cap off the night, we had to rewatch The Aviator, right? I think I enjoyed even more the second time.
Once we went to one cemetery we got interested in finding some others, so we ended up (with help from my friend Chris) tracking down Olivewood Cemetery, the first cemetery for freed blacks in Houston. It had been abandoned for many years and only recently have volunteers cleared out some of the brush, so it's not easy to find. But find it we did--on the south bank of a bayou, behind a grocery supply warehouse. Many of the stones were fallen over and broken due to trees and shrubs growing up everywhere, but many of the stones we could read dated back to the 1860s--one minister's grave read that he was "Murdered in Dallas" back in the 1890s. I hope the committment to clean up the site perseveres.