THE CRUSADER … and the Acting Student

One day, the actress took me to see Graceland Cemetery…  I was living in Chicago, and she said it was a must see.  It was a beautiful spring day, and we strolled the grounds… me snapping pics and she studying her lines for a play that was opening soon.  Never one to miss a dramatic opportunity, she began posing with the statuary… giving me her reaction to each theme.  When we came to the stone knight, she fell to the ground and played the ‘fair maiden struck down in the prime of life’.  After she got up, I asked her if he had slain her.  “Oh no”, she replied, “he stands guard, protecting her.”

The Crusader by Lorado Taft (1931)…  Cemeteries are the perfect place for a history lesson.  I learned a lot about Chicago history at Graceland.  The place names I had seen around the city came alive with the dead.  The men and women who created Chicago, or made her interesting, making their final stop at Graceland and the other cemeteries around town.  Their gravesites were fascinating, not only for the artwork, but for how they wanted to be portrayed.  Some erected huge mausoleums, and some preferred something quieter…  like their name carved upon a rock.   Victor Lawson got a Medieval Knight.  Victor was the publisher of the Chicago Daily News, and the sculpture embodied his character.   The monument does not bear Lawson’s name, but does have an inscription which reads, “Above all things truth beareth away victory”.   At his brother’s request, Lorado Taft sculpted The Crusader out of a single block of  dark granite.

Taft’s most famous sculpture also stands sentinel at Graceland… although of a different type… it is entitled  Eternal Silence.

English: Eternal Silence, (1909), Lorado Taft....

Wikipedia Photo

I thought of my photo, taken in 1988, while watching Game of Thrones last night.  The knights protecting their charges… and some not with protection in mind.

☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩

For my friends hanging out at the Still.  Here is one I wrote a while back… I thought of it when I advised one of our yeahwriters (the girl in Chicago… do you know who I mean?) to visit Graceland Cemetery.

For my other friends, check out this week’s other stories at yeahwrite’s Moonshine Grid

33 responses

  1. loved it txs for sharing
    a cemetary can and is a very interesting place.
    on our honeymoon we went to cape cod last week of dec not much to do
    so i had bill drive us around and i seen a cemetary, it had such beautiful monuments we got out and walked and walked it really was exciting
    so i can appreciate what you sent, txs for keeping me updated love all your stuff
    chat with u soon, and hope 2 c u soon in aggieland miss your wit (and wisdom)

    1. Hey, thanks Marge…

  2. Nice little history lesson. I found this to be very interesting! Her socks cracked me up.

    1. Well, you always have been obsessed with feet…

  3. We’re addicted to Thrones. My husband owes me a car wash over a bet we had about the two little lords–I KNEW it was the farmer’s boys!

  4. Cemeteries are an interesting way to get in a History lesson, especially for someone like me who is bored to death by it. I recently won tickets for The Laurel Hill Cemetery here in Philly. They have really cool tours that will keep my attention span beyond 2 seconds.
    ps. I love your friend…she would be a very entertaining companion!

    1. I did a lot of reading after that visit. That was before google too, I spent some time in the Chicago Library back then, when I wasn’t sitting in a bar.

      You might be interested in this cemetery… have you heard of it?

      I looked up Laurel Hill once to see a gravesite… I’ll have to check the ‘cemeterytraveler’…

      p.s. she has been my friend for all of her 44 years…

  5. Loved your photos and your story. I tried to watch Game of thrones, but couldn’t get past all the dismembered bodies!
    Don’t you love how Instagram is making all of our older photos look all hip and cool!

    1. Thanks, Susie. I’ve got Instantgram on my phone, but don’t really use it. In fact, it’s funny, because the only person I’ve followed is Averil, right above us. I’ll have to put your name in and see what I get… I know it will be worth it. That photo is how I took it in ’88… I wish it were in better focus.

  6. Great pictures. I often do silly shots because they are so much fun. I need to make it to that cemetery someday. It’s been on my list for a while now.

    1. Maybe there will be a Rotary convention in Chicago soon… it is a cemetery not to miss. Did you go to the International Convention in Seattle last July? I was there for a Steely Dan concert, and there were Rotarians crawling all over the place. I remember seeing reports of a big parade on the news.

      1. p.s. you do silly shots????

  7. Great post. What a fantastic time you had going through the cemetery. Love the picture.

    Hmm, Game of Thrones. Heard really good stuff about it, but don’t know if I have the stomach for the violence. How bad is the violence?

    1. Not for the squeamish. Neither is the sex.

  8. My husband and I love to walk through cemeteries – especially old ones. So much history and so fascinating what you might find. Like Mj finding his name on a grave! Oh, wait. That was an internet search. 🙂 What a great picture of The Crusader. Sounds like a fun day. Thanks for sharing.

    Which episode of GoT did it remind you of? Second to last?

    1. Last week’s, when the knight was protecting Sasha. And the other knight was there to not protect the ladies.

      1. Yes. When the king ran at his mother’s calling. I am DYING for more dragons!!!!

  9. Missing the cemetery in FH…..thanks for this “visitation”…..Love the photos too….

  10. […] of the actress, taken in Chicago in the 80′s, when Krista took me to Graceland Cemetery…… it’s one of my faves, because it reminds me of some fun times we shared in that great […]

  11. Reblogged this on TedBook and commented:

    Came across this and had to revisit…

  12. Interesting way to learn about history. Thanks for sharing, Ted. BTW, what ever happened to the actress?

    1. She’s still acting…

  13. Game of Thrones is a great show. I also share your interest in cemeteries as there really is amazing history in them.

    Everyone is dying to get in there! Har Har Har.

  14. I have always wanted to visit Chicago. This just makes me want it more. 🙂 And that actress sounds like a fun person to spend the day with.

  15. Hahaha, I pose in front of statues like that, too. A bit of a drama queen.

  16. oh yes, the mortal death blow. A youth struck down at the being of life is quite tragic. Cemeteries are great fun. (well, reading the grave markers anyway.) Quite the history lesson for sure.

  17. Nice photos and story – I’ve been to graceland, too, but it was in TN… ;^)

  18. What a cool way to get a feel for a place’s history.

    (I am eagerly awaiting the new season of Game of Thrones.)

  19. Love that you took that photo.

  20. […] I’m always honored when Rochelle Wisoff-Fields uses one of my photos as a prompt for the Friday Fictioneers writing group. I was attending a play at the Paramount Theater in Seattle when I took this photo. I didn’t have a chance to write my story then, but here it is now. Here is another story I wrote about the same actress… THE CRUSADER … and the Acting Student […]

  21. This was interesting, Ted. My daughter has lived in Chicago for years now. I’ll have to ask her if she’s seen the cemetery. When we buried my mother’s ashes in the Catholic cemetery near Akron, Ohio some years ago she was enthralled with the beautiful statues there. 🙂 — Suzanne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: