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Forest Lawn

April 14, 2007 |  6:30 am

Easter Sunday seemed like a good time to drive over to Forest Lawn and visit a few graves. I bought some flowers and went off to find Norma McCauley and Caren Lynn "Sande" Crabbe.

The woman at the front gate was extremely professional and helpful, and she gave me precise directions. Norma is in the Columbarium of Sunlight and Sande is in the Sanctuary of Celestial Peace. I was surprised at how many people were simply spending time at the hillside graves, with folding chairs and flowers. A couple of young men were partway up a hillside with a Marine flag.

The Columbarium of Sunlight is quite pretty and I had it entirely to myself. While I was in the area I found the graves of Earl Carroll and Beryl Wallace, who died in a plane crash, Mary Pickford and Atwater Kent, which reminded me of "Millionaires' Row" up at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.

The Sanctuary of Celestial Peace was a bit different. I went in the wrong door and in wandering around, stumbled across the crypt of Art Tatum.

In fact, it was quite a day for musicians, as I also found Alfred Newman and Max Steiner, who had been sent a large floral wreath. There were roses on the crypt of William "Hopalong Cassady" Boyd.

"Sande" Crabbe is partway up the wall and while I was getting water for the flower I ran into a couple of women. It turns out  Paramahansa Yogananda of the Self-Realization Fellowship is in the same building and they were meditating in front of what appeared to be his crypt. I didn't want to interrupt them to find out.

One of the crypts was elaborately decorated for an Easter egg hunt. I have seen all sorts of grave decorations in searching for Los Angeles history, but this was a first and very nicely done.
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