Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Geekiest Thing I Ever Did?

A little over a year ago (November 13, 2006, to be exact), I did something pretty geeky. Yeah, I know-I do lots of geeky stuff, but this may be one of the geekiest fanboy moments I've ever had. We were in Rhode Island for my cousins wedding, and I decided that since we were near Providence (although, truthfully, ANYWHERE in Rhode Island is "near" Providence...) we were going to take a side trip and go visit a cemetery. Not just any cemetery, though. Swan Point Cemetery, resting place of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, author of The Call of Cthulhu (among many other stories).

It was a foggy, slightly rainy morning when we headed out on our trip to find my favorite authors grave site, and we spent a fair amount of time just finding the cemetery itself. Not that it was hard to find, we just weren't familiar with Providence, and made several wrong turns getting there. Once we were there, we went to the information center and printed out a map and directions to the grave. Ah, so it should be easy now, right? Not so fast. First we spent a good half hour driving through the cemetery, making wrong turns and seeing lots of ornate headstones and beautiful landscaping, but not quite finding the place we were looking for. Swan Point is a beautiful, very old, historic cemetery, and seems to be more like a park that happens to have thousands of people buried in it than a cemetery.

Eventually we found the spot we were looking for (we had actually driven right by it at least twice): Grave of H.P. Lovecraft, Lot 5, Group 281, Swan Point Cemetery, 585 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence. What next? Why, take a couple pictures, of course! A few of HPL's headstone (with it's famous inscription of "I Am Providence"), and then a couple shots of me and my wife next to the larger family monument. I'm glad Laura has a sense of humor for all my geek passions, as HPL wasn't even on her radar before she met me. Yet here she is, posing for a picture next to his grave. I'm a lucky guy. After spending a little time at the grave, we drove around the cemetery some more, looked at some of the other headstones (and there are some huge and magnificent ones there), enjoyed the scenery, and even took a little walk down to the edge of the Seekonk River.

Then it was time to get back on the road, and head into the East Side of Providence for a few hours walking around with my brother & sister on the grounds of Brown University on College Hill. Then once again we were headed back to Virginia after a nice long weekend.

That may be one of, if not the geekiest, fanboy things I've ever done. Have you ever visited the grave of your favorite author? What are you supposed to do at an authors grave-read from their books? Leave a memento for the next fan to find?

What are some of your geekiest moments?


mopgirl said...

Perhaps sitting knee deep in microfilm at the British Newspaper Library for a solid week -- one of my last weeks in London, no less -- and loving every minute of it.

Nothing better than holing up in one of those dark, solitary cubicles scouring newspapers from London in the 1880s looking for articles about an expose of child prostitution.

I think that might qualify as geeky?

Professor Pope said...

There are so many. . .

I've stood in all kinds of lines to see geeky authors (Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman).

I've been to Geek Fest USA (aka GenCon) with YOU, no less.

At the top of my destination lists to major cities are freaking libraries. I was so overwhelmed by book geekdom at the Long Room in Trinity College I had to sit down for a minute.

I got my philosophy geek on at the Dewey memorial in Burlington, William James' house in Cambridge, and the church where Emerson delivered "The American Scholar".

The only author's grave I've visited is Yeats, but I really want to get to Ketchum, Idaho to visit Hemmingway's.