Solace in the City of the Dead
I love a nice cemetery. On my list of the best, most beautiful cities of the dead, Bonaventure, in Savannah, Georgia, is at the top of the list. I find solace wandering among the graves of the dearly departed under the moss-laden oak sentinels. My family thinks my pastime is a bit strange but is it really? I view it as socializing with the bodily impaired. These people lived, laughed, and cried as we all do. Each person had a unique story which is remembered by loved ones and marked with a personalized stone.
Located on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, Bonaventure was an 18th-century plantation that was transformed into a private cemetery for the who’s who of Savannah. Eventually, it was open for public burials. Writer, Conrad Aiken, and lyricist, Johnny Mercer are among the residents. Savannahians hold such high opinions of Bonaventure that they say “it’s better to be dead and buried in Bonaventure than to be alive and living anywhere else in the world”.
Of the residents, Corinne Elliott Lawton is my favorite. She had a sad ending as suggested by her morose expression and the victory wreath which slipped from her hand and rests at her feet. There are several differing accounts of her death. The most dramatic and sad is that Corinne fell in love with a gentleman below her station, and was forced to wed a man she didn’t love. She was so distraught that on the eve of her wedding, she drowned herself in the river. Her beautiful, haunting monument was sculpted by Benedetto Civiletti of Palermo, Sicily, and reads: “Allured to brighter worlds and led the way”.