You may have noticed by now my love for history and… well, old stuff.
This is part of the reason I keep sending you to cemeteries. Today, it’s LAKE VIEW CEMETERY- 907 Lakeview Ave., Jamestown, NY.
I know, I already sent you to a Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, but there are reasons to go to both.
Not only are cemeteries packed full of history, but it’s also interesting to see how people interpret a loved one’s memories and personality into tangible memorials.
When it’s a cemetery in the middle of a busy city, it can be a surreal feeling, listening to the noises of life wafting in and out of an area designated for the dead.
… and it makes you want to hide behind a gravestone and yell “keep it down, I’m trying to get some sleep!”
The reason for this particular cemetery visit is to see the grave of one of my all time favorite actresses, comediennes, and influences on my life: Lucille Ball.
Lucille Ball, perhaps best known to most as Lucy Ricardo from the TV series “I Love Lucy,” was born in Jamestown, NY, and she is subsequently resting here for eternity.
The fact that, despite her fame, she is resting with her family in her hometown makes the inscription below her name of “You’ve Come Home” entirely fitting.
I felt a little guilty. Here I was, an actor, a stand up comedian, standing before one of my childhood comedy idols (albeit a posthumous visit) and I did not bring anything or have any sort of glorious speech prepared.
All I could do was stare for a moment, then smile and whisper “thank you” before turning and walking away.
While in town, might I also suggest checking out the Lucy Desi Center of Comedy, since I did not have time. Next road trip…
If you do plan to visit, this next part will be invaluable to you: finding the grave. The cemetery is, like many, huge. The instructions I had found online were something like “oh, follow the red hearts to her grave.” Someone’s dropping acid because I couldn’t find any red hearts. The following directions will save you time and potentially running over pedestrians in the cemetery on the narrow roadways while you are driving through and searching (… not that I am speaking from experience or anything…). I will explain this as unconvolutedly as possible. I will also try not to make up words like “unconvolutedly” from now on, but that comes with no guarantees.
FINDING LUCILLE BALL’S GRAVE:
The easiest entrance is the one straight across Buffalo St. from Prendergast Ave. This means when your GPS leads you to the address, head to the complete opposite side of the cemetery (it’s big, so this may take a few minutes, sorry). When you enter, go straight. Very shortly, you will see a large “Prendergast” memorial to your right and several small mausoleums around. Just past the large memorial, turn right, then make an immediate left (like using a traffic circle or roundabout counterclockwise and taking the first “exit”). At the next fork, go to the right. Her grave is at the top of the hill straight ahead from the bend in the road. It will look like this from there.
Hope that helps.
Get out there and pay tribute to one of the female pioneers of comedy.
Until next time, dahlings…