Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Visit to Jue Joe's Grave site

Recently my Auntie Soo-Yin visited Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles to revisit Jue Joe's gravesite.  Angelus Rosedale Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles and was the first to allow multi racial burials.
From the Rosedale Cemetery website:
"It was founded as Rosedale Cemetery in 1884, when Los Angeles was a small city of around 28,285 people, on 65 acres of land running from Washington to Venice Boulevard (then 16th Street) between Normandie Avenue and Walton and Catalina Streets, and often used by California politicians, notably former Mayors of the City of Los Angeles. The interments include pioneers and members of leading families who had a conspicuous place in Los Angeles institutions and the state. Rosedale was the first cemetery in Los Angeles open to all races and creeds, and was the first to adopt the concept of the new approach of design called lawn cemeteries, where the grounds are enhanced to surround the burial places of the dead with beautiful and decorative trees, shrubs, flowers, natural scenery and works of monumental art. Among the more traditional structures, headstones and mausoleums, the cemetery also has several pyramid crypts."

Here are some pictures from Auntie Soo Yin of her trip :

Jue Joe's gravesite is just across the street from ">"Mausoleum/Columberiam, ( the large white building) and  the small "Doll house mauseoleum" near the original entrance of the Cemetery in the picture above.  Jue Joe's grave is directly behind the Newhall family Obelisk in this picture below . 

His grave site is just behind the Obelisk and next to the Dodge family large headstone. 

Here is Jue Joe's very simple plaque which is in excellent condition.
Jue Joe always used the Chinese version of his name with last name first but the plaque is written in the American style with the family name last .

You might wonder why Jue Joe's plaque is so simple while his grave site is in a very prominent section of the cemetery and surrounded by large monuments.  I will let my Auntie Soo-Yin explain.

"In 1941 the family was still struggling to recover from the Depression.  So Ah Gung didn't have money for a fancier marker for Jue Joe.  It was Ah Gung's intent that in the future, he would replace Jue Joe's plain marker with a nicer one that would have dates and a few loving words.  But the opportunity never arose.  So the plaque bears only Jue Joe's name, and in retrospect, it reflects the way that Jue Joe liked to live, simple and minimal.

Ah Gung paid a lot of money for Jue Joe's resting place.  This area is where distinguished folks are interred.  Hattie McDaniel, who played Scarlett O'Hara's "Mammy" in Gone with the Wind is buried nearby.  And Jue Joe is resting between the Dodge and Newhall families.  This section is the most well cared for in the Cemetery, which explains why the "Joe Jue" headstone is in such good condition.    
Seems that Ah Gung went for location as foremost in honoring Jue Joe.  He wanted his father in good company.  He intended to replace Jue Joe's headstone with a better one in the future, but the Depression hit him hard, he became the sole breadwinner for our extended families in America and in China, so he was struggling to keep us all afloat.  Then came the trouble with Dorothy and he never had the money to order a new headstone. "

Auntie's visit to my great grandfather's grave site got me thinking about maybe creating a virtual headstone for him on this blog site.  The story of our family in America began with Jue Joe's decision to leave China as a young man in 1874 and take the long journey to America. His story and the early story of our family is chronicled in the pages of this blog . It is important , I think, as my late Auntie Joan used to say, to pause in our busy lives to take a moment to thank those from whom we inherit our life stories.

Here is the virtual headstone I created for my great grandfather. 

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