I always park in Old Salem and walk through God's Acre. The orderly stones in God's Acre face the sky from their rows and columns, each exactly alike. It's very impressive. Clean. It reminds me of Arlington.
But then I tumble out at the bottom of the little steps into Salem Cemetery. Jumbled graves, statues, boxwoods and trees setting off family plots - I feel at home here, among the tiny children's graves with lambs, the ornate, windowless doors into crypts. The way the stones face every which way and are all so different - this one in Greek, that one in verse - makes me feel like I'm standing among a crowd of happily noisy people.
The Gibson family's stone, above, is a personal favorite because it reminds me of my grandmother, my mother's mother. She used to send me vintage postcards that said Florida across them in that same lettering.
My grandfather's buried here, my father's father, who died sixty years to the day before my father under the most devastating of circumstances. I've never seen his grave, though I look for it every time I go. I'm certain I could ask someone, surely there are records, I could find out exactly where he lies, but I prefer to think that one day I'll just turn around and see him.
Salem Cemetery is located near Old Salem and is bounded by God's Acre, Cemetery Street and Salem Avenue.