Cemetery of the Week #155: Waine’e Church Cemetery

Wainee 2Waine’e Church Cemetery
Near Waiola Church
535 Waine’e Street
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
Founded: 1823
Size: an acre or so
Number of interments: approximately 200 marked

Waine’e (Moving Water) Churchyard, established in 1823, was the first Christian cemetery in the Hawaiian islands. In it, native Hawaiians and missionaries are buried side by side.

Hawaiians consider Waine’e Churchyard sacred ground because Queen Keopuolani (Gathering of the Clouds of Heaven), the highest royalty in all Hawaii by virtue of her bloodlines, is buried there. In addition to her heritage, Keopuolani was a wife of King Kamehameha the Great and mother of Kamehameha II and III. As the first native aristocrat to be baptized a Christian, Keopuolani wielded enormous influence in the spread of Protestantism. She was baptized by request an hour before her death on September 16, 1823.

Kamehameha’s favorite wife, Queen Ka’ahumanu, is aslo here. King Kaumualii, last king of Kauai, rests here, along with High Chief Hoapili, who married two of Kamehameha’s wives after the king’s death; his wife Hoapili Wahine, governor of Maui; Kekauonohi, one of five wives of Kamehameha II and governor of Kauai in her own right; and High Chiefess Kuini Liliha, who led a rebellion of a thousand soldiers against the Western government on Oahu in 1830. Pioneer missionary Reverend William Richards is also buried here.

Wainee 1

Kahale M. Kahiamoe’s grave

Also in the churchyard stands the oldest Christian gravestone in the Hawaiian Islands, remembering a Maui islander who died of “fever” in 1829. Nearby, a simple tablet stone commemorates Kahale M. Kahiamoe, who lived from 1804 to 1908, 104 years, long enough to see the invasion of the outside world, the end of the kapus and the Hawaiian monarchy, and the establishment of Hawaii as a US territory in 1900. Shell leis draped the rusted iron fence enclosing his grave.

The Waine’e Church itself no longer stands. Completed in 1832, it was the first stone church in the islands and served as the church of the Hawaiian royalty when Lahaina was the capital of the kingdom through the mid-1840s. A whirlwind tore off its roof and knocked down its belfry in 1858. A careless caretaker burned the church to its walls in June 1894. After it burned again in 1947, it was rebuilt once more. Another windstorm permanently demolished it in 1951.

Wainee 3The church’s name was changed to Waiola (Water of Life) in 1954. Now owned by the Waiola Protestant Church, the building has continued to stand safely ever since. The old cemetery and the current church stand on almost 2.5 acres on Waine’e Street, between Chapel and Shaw Streets, not far from the Seamen’s Cemetery.

According to one source, the Waine’e church inspired Reverend Abner Hale’s mission church in James Michener’s Hawai’i.

Useful links:

The cemetery’s website

Waiola Church history

Ho’okuleana encyclopedia of Hawaiian history

Other Hawaiian cemeteries on Cemetery Travel:

Seamen’s Cemetery in Lahaina, Maui

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Oahu

Kawaiaha’o Churchyard, Honolulu, Oahu

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Keawala’i Churchyard, Makena, Maui

St. Philomena Churchyard, Kalaupapa National Historic Site, Molokai

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Death’s Garden: Lenin’s Mausoleum

Lenin mausoleum002

Modern postcard of Lenin’s Mausoleum

by Melodie Bolt

In January 1988, I stood in Red Square with thirty American college students watching Lenin’s Honor Guard change.

The replacement soldiers exited the Kremlin gate and moved parallel to the Kremlin wall. The duo marched in long wool military coats, black boots goose stepping. But what seemed inconceivable was the position of their rifles: gripped in the left palm, with a steady aim at heaven. With boots tocking across the stone, the pair relieved the guards on duty to keep the watch.

Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin’s mausoleum is a squat ziggurat constructed from black stone and red marble. He died in 1924 at the age of 53 and was embalmed shortly thereafter. Thousands have visited the Bolshevik leader to pay their respects. A few days after watching the guards, we returned to see Lenin ourselves.

One of our professors, a Hungarian, told us the rumor that the only “original” pieces on Lenin’s body were the head and hands, preserved, while the rest had been buried or burned. It sounded grisly. Since we were in our late teens and early twenties, such things only excited our curiosity. Giggling as we piled off the tour bus, we filled the air with American smiles, hard currency, Marlboros, and Levi’s. Our bright Gore-Tex jackets added confettied splashes to the solemn scene.

The line for the presentation of the dead wound down—a black ribbon—from the mausoleum. We joined the queue in the Alexander Garden.

The garden, commissioned by Tsar Alexander I, was built long before the Bolshevik Revolution to celebrate Russia’s defeat of Napoleon. The garden later became a pivotal scene in Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita. The story, set in the 1930s, follows the havoc created by the Devil and his minions in Moscow. Interwoven with the Devil’s arc is the story of Pontius Pilate and the trial and execution of Jesus. It is in Alexander Garden that the Devil’s demonic assassin, Azazello, meets Margarita and pulls her from Communist reality to the supernatural (Christian) sphere. Bulgakov’s writings and plays were banned by Communist censorship. He died in 1940. Master and Margarita remained unpublished until 1966.

How ironic that our pilgrimage to the mausoleum started in the same garden created by a Tsar and the location where a demon from Christian mythology takes a Soviet woman to Satan’s Ball. Lenin, a devout atheist, despised religion and firmly believed in Karl Marx’s assertion that it was opium for the people. Standing there in January, the same month that Lenin died, I watched St. Basil’s draw nearer as the line moved toward the mausoleum’s entrance.

Our professor admonished us to enter two-by-two, to be respectful, and for God’s sake, to be silent. It was bitter cold. For all the people in line, it was exceptionally quiet.

The girl walking with me wore a beret reminiscent of the one that Prince sang about in 1985. Not quite raspberry, its lavender sequins glittered atop her golden curls. My partner and I settled into a respectful demeanor until the student behind us cracked some juvenile joke. We snickered, at got hissed at by the professors and the older, more mature students, and tried to compose ourselves again.

As I stood in front of the oppressive architecture, I began to panic. My thoughts raced. Lenin died at 53. When I entered the mausoleum, he had been embalmed for 64 years. How decayed would the body be? Would it be evident that the head and hands had been severed from the body? How far would the labyrinth would go until I could leave? I felt claustrophobic. I wondered if the room would be brimming with lilies. I hated that rich funereal smell.

The line kept moving. There was no time to prepare. I entered and Lenin was right there. The line moved continuously with no time for genuflection, no real time to study the body. There was only the red and black stone, the shuffle of boots on the floor, and the body.

Lenin corpse003They call it lying in state. Glass walls enclosed a dias. The coffin looked more like a canopied bed with the body angled so his head raised a little higher. Great ruffled black satin, looking almost Victorian, draped over his legs and spilled toward the floor. The canopy top was a replica of the mausoleum’s ziggurat design, but made of wood. He wore a black suit. His hands rested near his waist, one clenched in a fist, the other open, palm down.

His face looked as though he were sleeping, more waxen than the freshly dead. His hair and goatee were exactly the same as the black and white images in our history books, but the tinge of copper surprised me. Lashes rested against his skin; face calm, serene.

There was no time to look closer, to stand in awe. The line kept pushing me forward. As I serpentined around his feet and back up the other side of his body, I caught the faces of the Russians in front of me observing his supine form; their dark eyes unreadable in the dim light. I turned back for one last glance. So much power, so much fire in his rhetoric to spawn a world power to be reckoned with. Suddenly, I was back outside, breathing the refreshing January air that moments ago had seemed so bitterly cold. Spilling into Red Square, our voices were subdued, including the joker behind me.

It wasn’t until I began writing my essay that I looked online for more information regarding Lenin’s mausoleum. You can easily find images of his body online, both from inside the mausoleum and during the embalming process. I have to admit that seeing the graphic images him disrobed have cheapened my memory. The frail, naked body with the great gash doesn’t seem to honor that moment in time, Soviet power and Soviet history as perceived by an outsider. There was so much mystery to Moscow and the Communists.

Here are some interesting facts I discovered while writing this:

  • Turns out that the body is Lenin’s without his organs and brain. The brain is preserved elsewhere. The corpse is frequently re-embalmed to keep discoloration from the skin.
  • Lenin’s body was removed from Moscow to protect it during WWII and then returned later.
  • Stalin’s body was also on display next to Lenin’s until it was removed when the Soviet Union began the de-Stalinalization process.
  • In 1993, Yeltsin removed the Honor Guard from Lenin’s tomb, but it remains today at the eternal flame honoring the military dead near the mausoleum. You can find youtube videos featuring the guards.
  • The embalming process is top secret and other heads of state from other countries have been embalmed by the Moscow team.
  • Recently, a Russian movement has urged the government to have Lenin buried.

Perhaps Lenin, being an atheist, wouldn’t mind his body being handled by scientists honing their embalming skills with images available online for any curious eyes. Perhaps science is the truest end for the man who started the greatest revolution by promising power, not heavenly rewards, to the people.

References

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/in-the-flesh-russian-scientists-work-to-preserve-lenins-corpse-52771

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/45480

Lenin’s Mausoleum was a Cemetery of the Week on CemeteryTravel.

CemeteryTravel’s review of Lenin’s Embalmer.

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Melodie HeadShotMelodie Bolt writes poetry and contemporary fantasy & dark fiction. She earned an MFA in Writing from Pacific University in Portland, Oregon and an MA in Composition & Rhetoric from University of Michigan Flint. Her poetry has appeared in magazines like TOTUVerse Wisconsin, and Yellow Medicine Review. Her fiction has been recently published in the anthologies Incarceration (Wolfsinger Publications, 2017), Hoofbeats: Flying with Magical Horses (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016), and the magazine Witches&Pagans #31, 2015). She is currently working on a dark fiction novel set in Flint, Michigan. Melodie has been a member of the Flint Area Writers for over a decade and frequently contributes to the blog at www.flintareawriters.org . You can also find more of her work here.

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Death's Garden001About the Death’s Garden project:

I am jump-starting the Death’s Garden project again. If there is a cemetery that has touched your life, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you, particularly if there is one you visited on vacation — or if you got married in one. The submissions guidelines are here.

Posted in Cemetery essay, Death's Garden Revisited, Famous person's grave | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Death’s Garden: Never Let Your Feet Get Cold

CarriewithGrandUncleBlick

Carrie with Granduncle Blick and cousin Tim on the Property.

by Carrie Sessarego

Tucked in the folds of the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, near the entrance to Sequoia National Park, there’s a tiny town called Three Rivers, California. My family always went to Three Rivers in the spring or summer, so in my memory it’s always a place of pale green grass rapidly drying to gold and wildflowers everywhere. For generations, Burnhams and Wells and Hardins and McGowans had married each other, giving rise to a far-travelling family that was anchored by the tiny cemetery in the tiny town.

Our family reunions were held on a piece of property named, without irony, “The Property.” People circled their RVs and tents in a meadow bordered by soft woods. Every night we had a campfire and sang songs like “Charlie and the M.T.A.” and “Shine on, Harvest Moon.” At least once per reunion, we visited our kin at the Three Rivers Cemetery, which was founded in 1909. Parts of the cemetery are watered and mowed, but the older areas are wild. As a child, I saw the cemetery as an extension of The Property. That made it my territory; a place where I could run and play on the mowed lawns and the weedy edges of the cemetery, while the grown-ups did whatever it is that grown-ups do.

The first funeral I remember going to was that of my aunt (technically, my grandaunt-in-law), who gloried in the name Ruth Vernealia Pell Wells. Ruth and her husband, Blick Wells, had a motorhome and travelled all over the country. One Christmas they parked in my grandparents’ driveway for the holidays. My only memory of Ruth is from that year, when Ruth invited me in and taught me how to make an Ojo de Dios Christmas ornament. Soon after, she died of cancer and was cremated. As per her request, her ashes were buried at Three Rivers Cemetery in a Taster’s Choice coffee can, tied with an orange strip of fabric. (It was her favorite color.) Afterwards we all went back to The Property and had another bonfire and sang late into the night.

It’s hard to be reverent in the face of death once you’ve watched your grandaunt be buried in a coffee can. I never felt afraid at Three Rivers Cemetery. How could I? Any ghosts were ghosts of my relatives. The worst they might do to me was tease me about that time when I was ten that I sat on an ant’s nest during a reunion. There’s my great-grandpa, who showed me where the harebells grew on The Property. There’s Aunt Linnie (technically, Great-aunt Linnie) who survived a terrible car crash as a teenager and, as a result of her burns, only had one fingernail. There’s Fred and Blanche Burnham, who lived in Rhodesia and taught Lord Baden-Powell how to be a scout before heading off to the Klondike Gold Rush. There’s Mark, the teenager who died in the same car crash that claimed Linnie’s fingernails, and poor little Baby Hardin, born and died in 1923.

The last time I went to Three Rivers Cemetery, it was to bury the ashes of my granduncle, Blick Wells. Blick, a rambling man who had a girlfriend outside of Anchorage, took me under his wing when I moved to Alaska. He showed me affection and acceptance and gave great advice. “My dear,” he said, “never let your feet get cold.”

When it came time to bury him, my husband and I drove four hours from Sacramento for the funeral. We had just gotten a dog. We brought him with us and tied him under an oak during the service. My three-year-old daughter ran around the cemetery just as I had once. The grasses around the cemetery were dry and golden in the California heat. No one’s feet could possibly get cold under that California sun. My husband helped Blick’s son (called, inevitably, ‘Blicky’ by the family) cover the ashes with dirt.

CocoaSince then, The Property has been sold and the latest relatives to pass on have been buried elsewhere. The Sacramento relatives are generally buried at East Lawn Memorial Park in Sacramento. It’s a pretty place, and it’s convenient to the mourners, but it’s much too manicured for me. My tentative plan is to donate my body to science and have any leftover ashes lowered into the Three Rivers Cemetery ground in an Equal Exchange Hot Cocoa can. I’m hoping that someone will bring a dog, someone will bring a small child who will run around the oak trees, and someone will remember all the verses to “Charlie and the M.T.A.” The mountains that edge Three Rivers will stand guard and harelips will bloom on their hillsides. That’s not scary. That’s family.

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Carrie Sessarego with fanCarrie Sessarego is the resident ‘geek reviewer’ for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, where she wrangles science fiction, fantasy romance, comics, movies, and nonfiction. Carrie’s first book, Pride, Prejudice, and Popcorn: TV and Film Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre, was released in 2014. Her work has been published in SEARCH Magazine, Interfictions Online, After the Avengers, The WisCon Chronicles Vol. 9, Google Play Editorial, Invisible 3, and Speculative Fiction 2013: The Year’s Best Online Reviews, Essays, And Commentary. When not reading and writing, you can find Carrie speaking at conventions, volunteering for the Sacramento Public Library, and getting into trouble with her mad scientist husband, Potterhead daughter, mysterious cats, and neurotic dog.

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Death's Garden001About the Death’s Garden project:

I am jump-starting the Death’s Garden project again. If there is a cemetery that has touched your life, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you, particularly if there is one you visited on vacation — or if you got married in one. The submissions guidelines are here.

Posted in Cemetery essay, Death's Garden Revisited | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Cemetery Travel in Australia

199Cemeteries_cover lo-resI had the honor of being a guest on Blueprint for Living on Australia’s ABC network last Friday.  We talked about what draws people to cemeteries, what they might find there, and why it’s worth going out of your way to visit graves of people you don’t know. Here is the link to the podcast:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/tombstone-tourism/8665726

The three guests on the program — historian Dr. Celestina Sagazio, author Garrie Hutchinson, and me — were asked to list our ten favorite cemeteries.  Those lists are here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/cemetery-travel—10-of-the-worlds-best/8667452

How does your list of favorites compare?

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Yesterday’s midweek holiday has thoroughly confused me, so there will be no Cemetery of the Week today.

Posted in Cemetery interview, Good cemetery news | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Seeking Cemetery Bloggers

Mountain View Cemetery’s Crocker Angel photographed by Loren Rhoads

Do you visit cemeteries?

Do you blog about them?

I’m making a list of cemetery bloggers across the US and around the world.

Please comment below with a link to your blog — and the geographic area you specialize in, if you have one.

Let everyone get to know your work!

Posted in Cemetery poll, Good cemetery news | Tagged , , | 18 Comments