I have loved visiting cemeteries since I was a child. It used to freak out my mom because she thought I was thinking about death too much but I was more curious about the lives of the people buried there. Through the years I have also been fascinated by the numerous head stones and grave markers. Please enjoy my fascination!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Drama, Drama, Drama....

These are photos from the Ghirardelli plot at MVC in Oakland. Originally the family had their plot at the Catholic cemetery next door (St. Mary's) but the story goes that in 1879, Domingo Ghirardelli's (founder of Ghirardelli Chocolate) teenage granddaughter, Aurelia, was on her death bed and a priest was called to administer Last Rites. The priest refused to come. One explanation was that there was bad weather but another one says that the reason why he did not come was that he felt that Domingo was not giving enough financial support to the Church. In any case, the girl did not get her last rites before her death and the family was very upset.
To get back at the Church, Domingo went to MVC and had this white, marbled mausoleum made with the Masonic emblem over the door (a no-no for Catholics!). Sometime in 1890 when the work was complete on the structure, Domingo and his sons took a wagon over to St. Mary's in the middle of the night, removed the four bodies from the family plot there and had them reinterred in their new home. This plot is located on Millionaire's Row. Nothing like a little grave diggin' in the middle of the night to make things interesting....lol.

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