It's Halloween in the 1960s as we creep through the old cemetery. Next
door, at Grant school, is the annual carnival for all the elementary school
kids and their families, but we are creeping through the broken headstones
and unkept cemetery and waiting for somebody to take the dare to go through
the cemetery on this "All Hallowed Eve." We are waiting to jump
out from behind one of the few still standing headstones to give them
the appropriate scare for this perfect night. This was going to
Yes, I was one of the guilty ones that played in the cemetery years ago.
It was pretty innocent by today's standards, and we were not the vandals
that were destructive, but we definitely played. Halloween was the
best time, but we went there regularly. Sometimes, during the daylight
hours, we would just walk around and look at what was there and the people's
names. It was quiet there, albeit dirty and musty. Some thought
it to be an "eyesore" and the wall around the cemetery prevented the local
neighbors from chasing us out of the cemetery because they could not always
see us. Sometimes, in the evenings, you could catch glimpses of
the "lover's lane" aspect of others also there, but not often.
I was fresh into my teens when we moved from Hillcrest to the Mission
Hills section of San Diego. My younger brothers attended the elementary
school at that time, although I had attended Florence Elementary in Hillcrest
when I was their age. That was back when Florence was a 3 story
brick building. Little did I know that later I would be walking through
the cemetery (now a park) wishing that I could find all the headstones
that I once played in. I have no family there personally, but as
a professional genealogist I have searched for many that were buried there.
Being a native of San Diego, I love doing research in my home town, especially
the older research. I wish there were more records kept of the place
and who was buried there and where
they were. Pictures would be nice too.
When they moved the headstones over to the southeast corner and made a
park out of it, genealogy did not seem to be a concern for many at the
time. It is my understanding that some graves were moved, but the majority
are still there, under the green grass, trees and playing children. Yes,
it is a nice park today, but it sure must have been a quietly majestic
place in its prime.