Graveyards Should Be Cheerful (Dec, 1932)

Graveyards Should Be Cheerful

A CHANGE in public psychology which would do more for human happiness than any other is one in the usual attitude of fear and horror toward death, an eminent scientist recently stated. No small part of this usual attitude is due to the atmosphere of gloom, sorrow and decay in the average cemetery.

Wreaths and similar objects placed on graves by private mourners should be prohibited in favor of permanent flower beds.

  1. KD5ZS says: March 5, 20109:56 am

    After all the first three letters in funeral are FUN!

  2. Charlene says: March 5, 201010:34 am

    Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that Hubert Eaton wrote this?

  3. Charlene says: March 5, 201010:35 am

    Also, Charlie, I don’t say this enough: I LOVE this blog.

  4. John Savard says: March 5, 201010:57 am

    I was wondering who the eminent scientist was, but Hubert Eaton being the founder of the Forest Lawn cemetery, that doesn’t quite seem to fit.

    An early Google result when I tried to search was a paper about the “Attitudes of Psychoneurotics Towards Death” by one Walter Bromberg from 1936, but that’s not really a very definite lead.

  5. John Savard says: March 5, 201011:04 am

    Elie Metschnikoff – and perhaps Freud – or one Archie Cochrane, who cited them in a 1934 paper – are other possibilities.

  6. Toronto says: March 5, 20103:23 pm

    Always look on the bright side of life.

    – Eric Idle

  7. Firebrand38 says: March 5, 20104:16 pm

    Toronto: I agree…

  8. Pardik says: March 5, 20105:10 pm

    The Great Depression follows me even to the graveyard!

  9. Myles says: March 6, 20107:34 am

    “After all the first three letters in funeral are FUN!” That’s funny. 🙂

    I wonder how popular banning the right of mourners to lay wreaths for their loved ones would be.

  10. jayessell says: March 6, 20109:45 am

    My funeral will be at the local Chuck E Cheeze.

    I’ll be the first person to die of OCD.

    It will be an open-closed-open-closed-open-closed-open-closed-open-closed-open-closed-open-closed casket ceremony.

  11. KD5ZS says: March 6, 201011:04 am

    What do they say that the difference between a wedding and a funeral is one less drunk?

    Disneyland would be the better place to have the funeral, because it is the happiest place on earth.

    Not to mention the haunted mansion.

  12. Charlene says: March 6, 201010:15 pm

    Hubert Eaton had a Ph.D. in chemistry.

    I assume it was him because everything in this short blurb supports what Eaton was trying to do with Forest Lawn. He wanted to ban individual flower arrangements and tall headstones, supposedly because they were “gloomy” and “depressing” but in reality because they increased the cost of lawn care. (You have to hire people to hand-mow cemeteries with tall headstones and lots of flower arrangements, but a machine can mow a “memorial park” where the headstones are flush with the ground and the only flowers are in beds.) He wanted to bring people to cemeteries year round, supposedly because visitors wouldn’t feel “fear and horror” about death if they were used to it but in reality because he hoped he could make more money from them if they visited for reasons other than attending a funeral.

    Forest Lawn has a number of chapels and churches within its grounds, and Eaton spent thousands of dollars promoting them as suitable wedding venues. And it worked: Ronald and Nancy Reagan were among the hundreds of couples married in the Little Brown Church on the Forest Lawn grounds.

  13. Charlene says: March 6, 201010:52 pm

    Actually, I was slightly mistaken: Eaton had an Sc.D. degree.

  14. Bayard says: April 18, 20105:20 pm

    Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA is, I believe, the first garden cemetery in the U.S. It has miles of paved roads and walkways, is an aviary and most of the many different species of trees are labeled. It has hosted funerals and weddings and is a very peaceful and interesting place to walk.

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