Saturday, July 9, 2011
In Iowa City, where I grew up, there is this legend regarding Oakland Cemetery. Well, there was a legend about one statue/headstone called the Black Angel. The Black Angel is a bigger than life statue that a woman had built to preside over the remains of her son and husband. Built in 1912, it is a woman’s body, with wings outstretched, looking down. It is indeed black, and indeed scary looking. There were many different theories and legends about the statue and it’s supernatural qualities.
One of them involves touching the statue on Halloween. Depending on which legend you follow, touching the statue on Halloween may involve death, death if you’re not a virgin, or death within seven years.
My junior year of high school, we decided we would do it. We would touch the Black Angel on Halloween night. Somehow, I got talked into being the one who would drive. Not only that, but I was driving my dad’s car. It was a dealer car, so he was always very particular about rarely letting the kids drive it and being extra cautious when we did. There were five or six of us and we drove slowly into the cemetery on the narrow winding roads, snaking our way through the darkness to the Black Angel. We got out of the car and slowly made our way to the statue as it looked even more ominous with a nearby light dimly shining on it. I was moving especially slow because I was on crutches, having gotten my first of two stress fractures.
We were quietly giggling as we crept up to it, when suddenly, out of nowhere, these huge bright lights appeared shining right at us, accompanied by a loud roar. We bolted for the car. I took giant steps in my crutches swinging my body past low headstones. I threw my crutches in the back seat over the others yelling for me to hurry. I jumped in the driver’s seat of my dad’s car forgetting the warnings to be extra careful. Mike, my friend, and mastermind, was in the front seat urging me to go.
What was that thing that jumped out of the darkness? We all took off before we had a chance to analyze it. It was loud and bright and probably chasing us. There was no time to ponder.
Going forward meant going towards the beast, so I put the car in reverse and punched the accelerator. I was going faster than I’ve ever gone in reverse, on roads more curvy than I’ve ever seen. I was sure I would hear the sound of a back tire running over a headstone. Mostly I just heard everyone in the car frantically screaming. I used all of my Driver’s Ed skills I had acquired just one year before to evade the beast from the darkness. We finally made it to the gate. It was the greatest driving feat I have ever accomplished before or since. We had to have narrowly missed a lot of desecration of property.
We drove home and slowly calmed down.
In less frantic times, I’ve determined that the lights and sound were just a big city truck with a couple of guys in it whose job was to sit in the darkness and scare high school kids away from the Black Angel. We were sure it was chasing us, but they were probably just laughing and sharing a can of Skoal.
I didn’t tell my dad about it. Until now.
That was the scariest time for me in a cemetery.
The most fun time in a cemetery for me was last night.
Michelle and a few friends and I went to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, a big old cemetery located in Hollywood where they show movies on Saturday nights in the summer. A ton of people come, it was probably the most people I’ve ever watched a movie with. They project it on this big wall in the back of the cemetery and people sit on the grass, picnic, hang out and watch a movie. Tonight’s movie was Annie Hall, the Woody Allen classic.
I had never seen it before. I know. It was really good.
I had my last interview at Apple today. Whether I get the job or not, it will be my last interview. Hooray. We’ll find out soon. I drove, so I was not sweaty and tired when I arrived.
I also had my first meeting for this magazine I’m going to freelance for. Did I mention that I got that?