Remarkable Graveyards and Sad Words of Wisdom

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As our days in St. Louis grow shorter–we move to Chicago in November–Margi and I took a hike through the remarkable Bellefontaine Cemetery, rightfully named a Best Hidden Gem by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In addition to serving as the final resting place for many historical figures, such as William Clark of Lewis & Clark renown, this burial ground features row upon row of grandiose mausoleums with the names of their “inhabitants” etched on the marble or granite lintels above the doorways. For example, the mausoleum above is for someone–or some family–named Tate.

Adolphus Busch Mausoleum

So, too, the earthly remains of Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, has what could hardly be described as a modest burial structure.

And those were just two of dozens and dozens of mausoleums that we strolled past on our hike.

As we passed one row after another, I was reminded of the sad but wise meditation of Marcus Aurelius on this very subject. Nearly 2,000 years ago, he wrote:

People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passed from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.

At Bellefontaine Cemeery
On our walk through Bellefontaine Cemetery

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  • Sarah Chapman
    October 31, 2020

    Hi Michael and Margi,
    I stumbled upon Death Benefits in a second hand store. It has all the elements of a good mystery. And I’m somewhat familiar with St. Louis and Chicago. I’m glad I got one of the first Rachel Gold books and will continue reading about Miss Gold for the duration of the Pandemic.
    I’m originally from Sarasota, Florida and I’ve had some wackey lawyers.
    I truly like the way your write.

    • Michael Kahn
      November 1, 2020

      What a nice note, Sarah. Thanks! I hope you enjoy Rachel Gold’s ongoing adventures, which started in Chicago when I wrote the first novel–in hardback, THE CANAAN LEGACY, in paperback, GRAVE DESIGNS–on a dare from my wife. Rachel eventually moves to St. Louis, as does her vulgar but lovable buddy, Benny Goldberg, and their adventures continue.

      Stay safe and healthy during this COVID craziness. And thanks again for writing.