I went to Ridgewood Cemetery in North Andover, looking for the grave of Joseph W. Poor (1830-1910), whose house a few doors up from mine on Poor Street is a supposed stop on the Underground Railroad. But I hadn't realized the place was so vast. That's why I hadn't thought to consult a directory, and the office wasn't open. I will have to return. It won't be a hardship. it has become a favorite pastime of my husband and mine to walk in these picturesque cemeteries. I myself plan to be cremated, but there is something nice about a gravestone, especially on a beautiful day conducive to photography. As we look for names pertinent to my research, we also read the names and epitaphs of strangers, perhaps ones who haven't been visited in many, many years. I used to believe in life after death. As a young Catholic, I prayed for the souls burning in Purgatory -- a temporary hell. I experienced a sense of pride and accomplishment as I offered up indulgences of 300 days, 500 days, and so on, shaving off years from the sentences of those waiting to get into Heaven. I always had in mind the ones who didn't have any survivors on earth willing or able to do this favor for them. What innocence! But even then my disbelief was precariously suspended, and when I reached adolescence, my religious fervor was easily transferable to such entities as... the Beatles. John Lennon was right. Here's the full, often misrepresented quote from that 1966 interview: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first -- rock ’n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me."
The "Commentaries" portion of this website is a record of some of Ms. Schinto's cultural experiences, e.g., books read, TV series watched, movies seen, exhibits visited, plays and musical events attended, etc. She also from time to time will post short essays on various topics.