March 2, 2017

Mum's List

Husband of dying mother who left a checklist for her children reveals new film about her life reduced him to tears

Kate Greene, from Somerset, died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 38.  She left behind husband St John and two young sons, Reef and Finn.  Her checklist for them included having boys roller skate in a museum. Her story, based on St John's book, is now a new movie, Mum's List

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The story of Kate Greene's courageous battle with cancer and the moving 100-strong list of hopes, ambitions and instructions that she wrote for her husband and sons days before she died has captured the public imagination, selling more than 100,000 copies in two just two months.

Four years on, and the story has grown into the new film starring Emilia Fox, and Rafe Spall as St John battles to build a new life without her...As he watches the scene unfold through the gloom of a cinema screening room, St John Greene's eyes fill with tears. There, in the opening sequence of a major new film, is his late wife Kate, played with unbearable realism by actress Emilia Fox.

'I bawled my eyes out when I saw the film for the first time,' he admits today. 'She really did Kate proud. She captured her exactly. That smile. Her exuberance. The passionate, all-consuming love for our kids. It was like watching Kate return to life.'

Mum's List ....ranged from the eminently sensible to the thrilling: 'Try not to let them go into the Forces; always kiss the boys goodbye and good night; buy a family dining table so you can have meals together.'  Item by item, she set down her hopes for her children's future.There were requests for skiing and boating; trips to see the Northern Lights and international sports fixtures; camping, caravanning and picnics in favorite places. And, poignantly, a request her husband find a new wife to help bring up her boys.

In the intervening years St John and his sons have fulfilled many of Kate's wishes, although not yet all. 'One important one was to have the boys roller skate in a museum, hilariously something they always wanted to do,' he says. 'To my astonishment the Natural History Museum happily agreed to close for a bit and let us do just that. That was one of the most fun.....

Mindful that one of Kate's hopes was that he find another woman to help provide a stable family for their sons, he has a new partner. 'We are a family again,' he says. 'But Kate will be forever in our lives.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:45 PM | Permalink

A Grave Roundup

The Yale University President buried in full samurai costume. Grave of Arthur Twining Hadley

A prominent economist and Yale’s 13th president, Arthur Twining Hadley was a New Haven local who attended Yale University and was a member of the 1876 delegation of Skull and Bones. He later taught economics at the school, worked as a railroad expert for President Taft, and served as Yale’s president from 1899 to 1921.  In 1930, Hadley died of pneumonia while visiting Japan, and his body was shipped back to New Haven. When the coffin was opened to verify Hadley’s identity, inspectors found that he had been given a long gold robe, breastplate, helmet, and samurai sword.  He was then buried at Grove Street Cemetery, which is located on Yale’s campus.

The inventor of the iconic Pringles can was so proud of his invention he was buried in one.  Grave of Fredric J. Baur.

Fredric John Baur may not be a household name, but he did invent something almost universally recognizable: the Pringles can. Having secured the patent for the famous tubular container for the distinctively stacked potato chips, Baur left a rather unusual request in his will. He asked that his ashes be buried in a Pringles can.
...Passing away at the age of 89, it was left to his children to act out his peculiar final wish. In a 2008 interview with Time, eldest son Larry described how they stopped at a Walgreens on their way to the funeral home to buy a can of Pringles. They decided on the classic original flavor to send their father off in style.

The Paste Eater's Grave in Goldfield, Nevada.

As the story goes, a vagrant wandering the streets of Goldfield in 1908 was rummaging through the trash outside the local library, looking for something to eat. The best sustenance he came across was a jar of book paste.  He would have found the paste surprisingly sweet, because in addition to flour and water, it was 60% alum. Unfortunately, the concentration was deadly.  When the townspeople found the deceased drifter, he was buried in Pioneer Cemetery, which was little more than a dirt patch. The grave was topped with a headstone that stated what little they knew about him. It reads, “UNKNOWN MAN DIED EATING LIBRARY PASTE JULY 14 1908.”

Jihadists 'used gravestones at iconic Paris cemetery to stash thousands in cash that was to be used to buy Kalashnikovs and ammunition'

Jihadists reportedly stashed thousands of euros in cash that they planned to use to buy Kalashnikovs and ammunition between gravestones at an iconic Paris cemetery.... Anti-terror officers discovered the stash of cash after an officer managed to infiltrate an ISIS-linked cell by posing as a jihadi.  It is believed more than 13,000 euros has been recovered from the Montparnasse cemetery in the French capital's 14th arrondissement that had been hidden between a crack in one of the graves.

Colma, The Town of The Dead, many thousands exiled from San Francisco

South of San Francisco, near Daly City, lies the small town of Colma where the dead outnumbers the living by a thousand to one. It’s less than 2 square miles in size, but crammed within it are as many as 17 cemeteries where rest the bodies of more than 1.5 million souls.

Nearly all of the dead were once proud residents of San Francisco, both during their lifetime and after. But at the turn of the last century, the city passed an ordinance that banished all dead from within city limits. The government argued that cemeteries spread disease, but the true motive for the eviction was the rising value of real estate —land in San Francisco was too precious to waste on dead people.

Hundreds of thousands of dead bodies were dug up and transported to vacant lands south of the city and the town of Colma began to take shape. For the better part of the century, Colma’s residents were mainly gravediggers, flower growers and monument makers. It was only after the 1980s, that other types of people and businesses began settling next to the dead. Today, the little town has many thriving businesses, including car dealerships and shopping centers. In recent years, Colma has held many boxing events.
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Today, Colma is home to 1,800 living residents and 1.5 million dead including some of America’s most famous personalities such as the denim trouser pioneer, Levi Strauss, newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, and business tycoon Amadeo Giannini, the founder of Bank of America. [Ed note.  Wyatt Earp is also buried here.]

The large number of under-the-ground population have earned the town the somber moniker “the City of the Silent”. Colma’s residents, however, take their situation with humor. The town’s official slogan is “It’s great to be alive in Colma.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:07 PM | Permalink