Visiting Graves at
September 17 – 22, 2009
Updated Oct. 20, 2009
About 85 photos mainly taken during the trip by Betty Nolan are posted at www.ritzpix.com in five separate albums under member name of Lewis “Buzz” Nolan’s email address. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to access.
The six pictures taken near old Nolan family home in Sacramento plus nearby cemetery are in an album labeled “2009 – Old Sacto Digs.”
By LEWIS NOLAN
SACRAMENTO – Sept. 18, 2009, Friday – In Sacramento and drive to Lodi, CA
We spent the night in the very nice Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on the campus of the University of California at Davis Medical Center in Sacramento’s “Old East Memphis” neighborhood a couple of miles or so from the onetime, Nolan family home at 1517 41st St.
After breakfast at
the hotel, Betty and I drove our rented Hyundai Sonata car to
I purchased several
bunches of fresh flowers at the cemetery florist shop and placed them on the
graves of my late mother, Garnett Elizabeth Nolan; of Anna Nolan, late wife of
my youngest brother, William Ray Nolan; and in a metal rack outside the marble
crypt of the late Peter Lenhart Siller. Pete was a
longtime friend and fraternity brother at Sacramento State College; he was
Pete’s crypt is on the second floor of the north side of the El Dorado Mausoleum (to the left when exiting the elevator or stairs), located about chest height. His parents are entombed next to his remains.
I’ve never missed an
opportunity to pay my respects to my good friend and my family members when
I’ve been in
I basically left the
city in the mid-1960s for college in
I had been forewarned that East Lawn no longer clears overgrown grass from the bronze markers over the graves of most interior gravesites, for economic reasons. But markers within a few feet of the winding pavement lanes through the cemetery are kept trimmed, probably for esthetic reasons. I took some pictures and shared them with my brothers, Patrick Thomas Nolan and William Ray Nolan, in the hopes that they could do something about the evident neglect. I offered to pay my share of a caretaker’s fees if that could be arranged.
It’s obvious that East Lawn is virtually full now. There have been several new mausoleums built since my last visit and several “columbariums” have been installed, where people can place ash remains in fancy vases along with a few photos and memorabilia in small, glassed compartments with sealed doors.
After decamping the cemetery, Betty and I we drove east on Folsum, past the Hilltop Tavern where I wasted a lot of time in my late teens with the help of a phony ID, and to the Corti Brothers grocery store near 55th Street, where my mother did some of her shopping. We passed the elegant streets of 44th, 45th and 46th, and its large homes where the very wealthy including a few members of Sutter Lawn lived a few blocks from the Nolan home.
Betty took a few
photos of the old neighborhood of
I recall being told four years ago by a young woman who lives there that her family had purchased the home for $800,000. I had arranged the sale, for $150,000 through a Realtor recommended by Bob Reid following my mother’s death in 1985. Proceeds were split between me and my brothers, per her will. It gave me pleasure to walk in front of the house and bring back memories of growing up in the neighborhood that still shines.
I pointed out to
Betty the nearby homes where a family headed by a chiropodist lived across the
street, the home where a retired Swiss watchmaker and his wife used to pay me a
dime to cut their front yard grass and a house next door where the Shred family
lived and somehow made my mother feel that she was a class above her
surroundings. The Overstreet family lived there before the Shreds moved in; I
remember a lot of hot gossip about their teen daughter dropping out of school
to marry her much older teacher at
I was reminded of the annoyance I still feel when pointing out to Betty a tall pine tree I used to climb in the Hall family’s yard a few doors up the street. My mother had given my treasured Lionel electric trains to their boy once I went off to college – without asking me. Oddly, it gave me perverse satisfaction when many years later my own son, Casey, then a lad, sweetly asked his grandmother on a visit, “Why did you give away my daddy’s trains?” She never could provide a decent answer to that innocent question. (As a postscript to this long-regretted blunder by my mother, Betty and I still have Casey’s Lionel electric trains stored in our Memphis attic on the chance that he might want them someday for himself or for any children and his beautiful wife Caroline are fortunate to have.)
Back at the Courtyard Hotel, Betty and I had an excellent lunch in the Bistro Restaurant, both enjoying a combination of minestrone soup and salad served with very fresh lettuce topped with delicious, orange basil dressing.
Following lunch, the
Courtyard staff gave us driving directions to access U.S. Highway 99 South to
Lodi, Calif. The drive in medium traffic took less than one hour on roadway
that was eight lanes wide near