Twenty years ago this week, my friend Blair got word that the liver surgery he’d undergone wasn’t successful and he had six months to live. I can remember that, because he and his husband watched the Oscars after they got the news.
Blair went through a potlatch phase, where he gave his things away. He gave me a box of cemetery photos that he had taken on his travels. Nothing was labeled. It felt weird to sit down with him, knowing that he was dying, and ask him to tell me about the graveyards he’d visited. He told me some good stories, but he couldn’t remember where everything had been taken — and he’d made no notes.
All the same, I used a bunch of his photos in Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries, the first book I edited all by myself. Blair didn’t live to see the book finished. After it was done, after he was gone, I put his photos into sleeves and filed them away in a binder. I couldn’t look at them without thinking of him.
This month, I wanted to write about Black History for the Cemetery of the Week — and I remembered Blair’s photos. I pulled them out again, but they remain just as mysterious to me as they did then.
If you can help me identify any of these graveyards, I would sure appreciate it. I think they were taken in the Bahamas, maybe at Saba, but I don’t really know. I know it’s a long shot, but I’m really hoping someone will recognize some of these images and be able to identify them for me at last.