Monday, June 04, 2007

A Few Last Requests

I learned yesterday that President Andrew Johnson was buried with his head resting on a copy of the Constitution. (I had to assure one of my nieces that, no, the president wasn't decapitated.) Here are some other unusual items people have carried to their graves.

  • Just last April, a man in India was buried in the car he had owned since 1958.
  • Reuben Smith was buried in 1899 sitting in his recliner with a checkerboard on his lap.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh was buried with his favorite pipe and a tin of tobacco
  • Bela Lugosi was buried in a black Dracula cape.
  • Humphrey Bogart was buried with a small whistle inscribed, "If you need anything, just whistle."
  • Bob Marley was buried with "his guitar, a soccer ball, a marijuana bud, a ring given to him by the Prince Asfa Wossen of Ethiopia and a Bible."
  • Canadian Mountie Peter Schiemann was buried with a flashlight and bag of potato chips. ("He always said, 'If I was to die, bury me with a bag of chips and a flashlight because it's dark and I'll get hungry,'" said his sister, Julia Schiemann.)
  • The guy in this commercial was buried with his lawn mower.


Since I lead annual cemetery tours for 3rd graders in my town, I've made friends with our local cemetery manager. It's interesting looking at things from his perspective. One day he told me that he knew someone who wanted to be buried in his automobile when he dies. "Can you imagine?" he said. "I'm trying to get city council to change the code so that things like that aren't allowed. We already buried someone with her [I really can't remember what it was--sorry] and we just don't have the room. To be buried with your car would take up too many spaces." Cemetery managers have strange jobs.

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