My mother doesn’t want me to tell you this story. She thinks it makes me look kind of like a jerk, or at least un-ladylike. But I made a vow (see my post from Nov. 2, 2009: Why Rich People Annoy Me, Part One; skip down thru my thrift shopping report to where I dig up Betty Trippe’s memoir from a pile of books and am outraged by what I read) and I had to keep it. So three weeks ago, Top Cat and I drove to Brooklyn, New York (20 miles from our house on Long Island) in search of Betty Trippe’s grave in Green-wood Cemetery.
I must say, if I hadn’t had to settle a score with the late Mrs. Juan Trippe, I would never had had the pleasure of discovering that Green-wood Cemetery is one of my favorite places in all of New York! So, thanks, Betty. You bitch.
Founded in 1838 as one of America’s first rural cemeteries, the Green-Wood Cemetery soon developed an international reputation for its magnificent beauty and became the fashionable place to be buried. By 1860, Green-Wood was attracting 500,000 visitors a year, rivaling Niagara Falls as the country’s greatest tourist attraction. Crowds flocked to Green-Wood to enjoy family outings, carriage rides and sculpture viewing in the finest of first generation American landscapes. Green-Wood’s popularity helped inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Parks.
Today Green-Wood is 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, throughout which exists one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums. Four seasons of beauty from century-and-a-half-old trees offer a peaceful oasis to visitors, as well as its 560,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors.
A magnet for history buffs and bird watchers, Green-Wood is a Revolutionary War historic site (the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 across what is now its grounds), a designated site on the Civil War Discovery Trail and a registered member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System.
On September 27, 2006, Green-Wood was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior, which recognized its national significance in art, architecture, landscaping and history.
This is the hill near the site of the Battle of Long Island (1776), near the very edge of the cemetery overlooking a quiet back street in Brooklyn. You can’t see it very well in this photo, but in real life it pops out, way out there, on the horizon; let me zoon in on it for you:
Top Cat and I spent a wonderful hour moseying around the grounds, which we had all to ourselves on one of the finest Spring days we had this year (people don’t spend their leisure hours strolling around cemeteries like they used to).
At last we found the Trippe grave site, and I stood in front of Betty’s grave (center stone) and I said, “This is for all those lost dogs, all those broken-hearted servicemen!” and I spit on her grave. (When I told my mother what I’d done, she said, “Oh, Vivian, did you have to?” And when I told her that I was going to blog about it she said, “Oh, my, I don’t think anybody wants to read about that.”)
I’ll be honest, it really didn’t feel all that good; I’m not much of a spitter-in-public. But hey: you dis my boys of the ETO and their dogs and you’ll have me spewing on you and your memory. So there.
Because there is a special bond between service men and women and their animal companions. See this picture, below, taken in Iraq:
See that little puppy in the background? Read about him here (courtesy of my friend, Melinda Penkava, and her excellent Town Dock (Oriental, NC) News website:
I feel like somebody should say: Amen.