Reuniting? They're dead! 56 and 54 years ago. Wassup?
As the Real Estate people say, especially here in Southern California, location is everything!
Or, location, location, location.
When Pearl Cecily Eugenia Chandler died in 1954, she was placed in Permanent Storage in Cypress View Mausoleum. Permanent storage at Cypress View means that for 56 years Cissy's Cremains have been in an Urn, sitting in a storage vault with other unclaimed urns. NOT A GOOD LOCATION!
The storage vault is in this building next to Mt. Hope Cemetery, where Raymond Thornton Chandler was buried in 1959 at public expense, because he left an estate of $60,000 and no burial instructions - at least any instructions that were found or acted upon before he was buried.
The picture above is of the 100 year old Cypress View Mausoleum on the North side of Imperial Avenue (at 40th Street) between the 15 and 805 Freeways on the East side of San Diego. The back of the building abuts Mt. Hope Cemetery.
Vandals haven't exactly been kind to Cypress View, as you can see from these pictures:
Well, they should be together as they wished, which is what I was able to accomplish.
As I indicated on my home page, my stepdaughter asked me to do some sort of history of Los Angeles for her and her son Cole. That was around 2002, while I was still working at Xerox in El Segundo. I let the idea simmer for a while, and then while following Lance in the 2003 Tour De France I came across the Tour's official Map – the 2005 Tour interactive map is reproduced below. I love maps, and this map, created with Macromedia – now Adobe – Flash, was really wonderful. I decided to make a history map of Los Angeles, using Raymond Chandler as the vector. I took two semesters of Flash at Santa Monica College, but soon decided that a map, and Flash, were the wrong tools for what I wanted to do. As my collection of vintage maps grew, I began expanding what I collected to vintage books, photos and postcards. I soon had so much that I needed more than just a map, or even a dozen maps, to include even a portion of the collection, and the web site was born.
Early on I had also decided to take pictures of every place, still standing or unchanged, where Chandler had lived, and every known place he had written about in his fiction. The first place I drove to, to take a picture, was Stewart Street in Santa Monica – near my home. However the address was wrong. I eventually found the correct address, near downtown Los Angeles. With that error in mind I began to check everything "know" about Chandler's early life, and especially the places he lived in Los Angeles.
One day in April 2009 I was once again thumbing through MacShane's biography looking for address hints and read that Cissy and Ray wanted to be together after they died, as they had been together for the last 22 years of their lives. I discussed Cissy & Ray's final resting place with my wife, Dr. Annie Thiel, and then sent an email out to a small group of Chandler fans, suggesting that we put them together again, and here we are, nearly two years later with a court order to move Cissy to be with Ray.
My initial work in reuniting Cissy & Ray involved Ancestry.com research to find relatives of either. Eventually I found Cissy's great great and great great great nieces. However, the California Health and Safety Code specifies that only a spouse or children can give consent to move remains. Since neither Ray or Cissy had children, a court order was necessary.
An interesting by-product of my search for Cissy's relatives occured by chance, or serendipity: Late in September I received a copy of an email sent to Cissy's great great niece from Stuart Lutz of Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc. It seems Mr. Lutz purchased the 1930 Sport Pilot license of Cissy's nephew, Vergne Edward Smith, known as V Edward Smith. It was V Edward, who with his mother Lavinia, was in La Jolla when Cissy died. It was V Edward who drove Ray to Scripts Hospital when Cissy passed.
Mr. Lutz purchased the license because of the signature of the Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association Contest Commette that was on the license - more about the Chairman later. Mr. Lutz was curious about the person the license had been issued to, did a Google search on the name, and found the email correspondence between Cissy's relative and I vis-a-vis V Edward's birthdate. He then sent an email to both of us, with a picture of the license, which showed V Edward's birthdate as 2/11/1896. The license is reproducded below courtesy of Stuart Lutz Historic Document. As you can see, the "Chairman" was none other than Orville Wright. V Edward's picture is also attached to the license, so you can see what he looked like as well. V Edward was a China Clipper pilot until Japan invaded China at the beginning of WWII.
Now, the rest of the story: Since we would have to go to court, my wife and I agreed that the next step was to put all the facts down in a semi legal format for the lawyers to work from in crafting the actual legal petition. My First Draft is the result.
We decided that it was necessary to get Ray's will, which I felt might contain something about his final wishes. I knew that Jean Fracasse, who had been Chandler's secretary, contested his hand written Codicil, and sued Helga Green in 1960. Annie put me in touch with her friend Patrick DeCarolis Esq., and with the help of Trope & DeCarolis LLP, the case records were located, which did contain both Ray's Will and Ray's handwritten Codicil. However, neither made any reference to Ray's wishes to be placed with Cissy, as stated by Frank MacShane.
Eventually, another friend of Annie's, Aissa Wayne Esq. (the daughter of John Wayne), working off my draft, finished the Final Petition. Note that the pictures are B & W since court rules prohibit color. However, full size color photos will be presented in court.
Our court date was September 8, 2010 at 2:30 PM, in Department C-25 located at the Central Court House at 220 West Broadway in San Diego. This is the public notice, published in the The San Diego Daily Transcript legal newspaper on August 19, 20 and 26, 2010, and emailed to all interested parties, as is specified by the California Health and Safety Code. The formal Petition Notice was mailed to Cypress View, the Chandler Estate and Chorion, the copyright holder.
WE WON! After a 30 minute hearing and a phone call to Cypress View, with manager Mike Koester, Judge Richard S. Whitney granted our petition.
Aissa Wayne, Esq. completed the order in late March and Annie and I again drove down to San Diego, going to the court for Judge Whitney's signature. We then went to Cypress View and paid the $450 fee to have Cissy's cremains moved.
John Rogers of the Associated Press put a story about our efforts to reunite Cissy & Ray out on the AP wire over the weekend of 9/18/10, and a number of news organizations - about 209 in all - picked up the story, including MSNBC. Here are some of the news outlents, and links to two stories:
Roswell Daily Record, Roswell NM, CBS 13, West Sacramento, The San Francisco Examiner, The Ventura County Star, pennlive.com, Harrisburg, PA, mlive.com, Ann Arbor, MI, WCCO, Minneapolis, MN, pantagraph.com, Bloomington, IL, CBS 2 Chicago, The Fresno Bee, Fresno, CA, The Examiner, Washington DC, WBZ TV 38, Boston, MA, WBTV.com , Charlotte, NC, Guardian.co.uk, WAVE 3 Louisville, KY, Artesia News, Artesia New Mexico , 8NewsNow.com, Las Vegas, WMBF News, Myrtle Beach, SC, Denver Post, Deseret News, Salt Lake, Seattle Times, msnbc.com, Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Cox TV San DIego, Boston Herald, KRIS TV Corpus Christi, WBRC Fox Tuscaloosa AL, KTRV TV FOx 12 Idaho, The Wichita Eagle, mymotherlode.com, LEXGO, Lexington KY, JournalTimes.com, Racine, WI, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - TribLive, WTHR.com, Indianapolis, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, IN.
February 14, Valentine's Day 2011: Service for Cissy, Mt. Hope Cemetery, San Diego, CA
At the risk of sounding like the the best worst opening sentence from a novel in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC): It was a warm and sunny day in San Diego on Monday, 02.14.2011, Valentine's Day, the the day we reunited Pearl (Cissy) and Raymond Chandler, after 57 years apart.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an English poet, playwright and novelist who coined the phrases "the great unwashed," "pursuit of the almighty dollar," "the pen is mightier than the sword," and the infamous novel opening, "It was a dark and stormy night," which gave rise to San Jose State U's BLFC, wherein entrants compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels, something Chandler fans need not fear, but Snoopy fans must.
That said, many have pointed to the following passage from Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep, in which Philip Marlowe reflects on death, as reason enough to maintain the previous 57 year separation, or "just leave them alone:" "What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill. You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell."
Marlowe's view is similar to that expressed by Retired Anglican Bishop (and Chandler fan) Robert Mercer in a letter to Tom Hiney (author of the second Chandler biography) about reuniting Cissy and Ray: ".. the problem with Cissy's remains are legal not theological. It cannot matter to God where our corpses/ashes are. Nor, I suspect, does it matter to the dead. When St Monica was dying in Italy her son, St Augustine, talked about getting her coffin to Hippo in North Africa but she said 'It doesn't matter where I'm buried as long as you remember me at the altar.' However, in our sentimentality we do for the ease of mourning/celebrating like to have our loved ones/heroes gathered together in the same place... I'm sure God is tender towards human sentiment."
In a letter he wrote to his long-time friend and publisher Hamish Hamilton, Ray described the loss of Cissy:
"In a sense I had said goodbye to her long ago. In fact, many times during the
past two years in the middle of the night I had realised (sic) that it was only a
question of time until I lost her.
But that is not the same thing as having it happen. Saying goodbye to your
loved one in your mind is not the same as closing her eyes and knowing they
will never open again.
Late at night when people have gone to bed and the house is still and it is difficult to read I hear light steps rustling on the carpet and I see a gentle smile hovering at the edge of the lamplight and I hear a voice calling me by a pet name.
I have a couple of very old friends staying with me, and they are patient and
kind beyond expectation. But the horrors are all mine just the same.
For 30 years, 10 months and four days, she was the light of my life, my whole
ambition. Anything else I did was just the light for her to warm her hands at."
The above is not the sentiment of a man who would have purposely left his wife's cremains forgotten in a storage locker, be he drunk or sober. He made no final arrangements for himself. We should not be surpassed that he failed to so the same for Cissy.
Getting back to our warm and sunny day in San Diego's Mount Hope Cemetery: We were very lucky with the weather, and lucky that Valentine's Day does not occur at the end of February or in March, as that period in Southern California was very wet and cold this year, so much so that at the end of March Governor Brown declared our current drought over.
Annie and I actually had three events on Valentine's Day. The reuniting at Mt. Hope at One PM. A Three PM reception at the San Diego Hilton Bay-front Hotel, and a Five Thirty PM Dinner, also at the Hotel. From the moment we were granted the oder to move Cissy on September 8, 2010, we began planning for 2.14.2011. One event, let alone all three, would have been impossible without Annie, who is a master at organizing such events and the Chair of Malibu Global Awareness (MGA), a charity she created to raise money for Doctor's Without Borders, which has raised over a million dollars.
A bit after noon on Valentine's Day, Powers and Pam Boothe, Annie and I and Annie's daughter Maria and husband Dave arrived by Limo at Mt. Hope. After checking on the Chandler grave side arrangements provided by David Lugo, the manager of Mt. Hope, and the Mt. Hope staff, Powers, Pam and I had the limo drop us off by the rear gate of the 100 year old Cypress View Mausoleum, which happens to be inside Mt. Hope, where Mike Koester was waiting in white gloves holding Cissy's copper box urn inscribed with her name.
Also waiting for us were a 1927 Cadillac, a 1936 Cadillac convertible and a 1929 Graham Paige limousine, courtesy of Gene Calman & the Antique Auto Club of America..Gene Calman, Royce Dunn and Tom Jenkins were the drivers. The 1936 Cadillac sedan convertible (with the top down) was apple green, the Graham Paige limousine was black and yellow, and was known as "The Sound Train" because it has a built-in PA system. It was originally owned by Paramount Studios, where Ray later worked, and seats 2 in front, 3 in the back, and 3 on the rear "observation deck." The 1927 Cadillac 7 Passenger Sedan was black with dark green sides. It was the Hotel Del Coronado's limousine from 1926 to 1942, and seats four passengers (one in the front and three in the back).
Also waiting at Cypress View were TV crews from San Diego stations KFMB Channel 8 CBS affiliate and KGTV Channel 10 ABC affiliate, as well as two independent documentarians, Kent Hagen and Morgan Neville. Ann Lipscomb Hill, Esq., a Trustee of the San Diego Historical Society, a member of the Board of Overseers of UC San Diego, and a former USC Trustee was also waiting at Cypress View, along with Aissa Wayne, Esq., our lawyer, the novelist, essayist, critic and short story writer Judith Freeman, whose first work of non-fiction was "The Long Embrace, Raymond Chandler and The Woman He Loved." Also on hand was a San Diego Union-Tribune photographer, Angela Carone of PBS affiliate KPBS and detective fiction novelist Mark Coggins, all shooting stills.
I first received the re-burial permit to give to David Lugo, and then Cissy's Urn. Aissa, Powers, Judith and I then spent about 10 minutes posing with the urn and giving all an opportunity to shoot as much video and stills as they needed, and ask questions. We then piled into the classic cars and with the media following, the cortege of vintage cars drove the 2/10s of a mile through Mt. Hope to Ray's grave site, where we were met by The Rev. Randal Gardner, Rector of St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla, as the Crown Island Jazz Band played "When The Saints Go Marching In."
As you recall, it was a former Rector of St. James who conducted both Cissy's and Ray's services in 1954 and 1959.
Once out of the cars we formed a procession, led by Dr. Gardner, and carried Cissy's Urn to the grave site, again as the jazz band played "When the Saints Go Marching In." I placed the urn on the urn stand and then Dr. Gardner and I joined my wife, Dr. Annie Thiel-Latker, Psychologist, author, radio host, and Chair of MGA, on the stage.
The Crown Island Jazz Band was founded in 2002 by residents of Coronado Island. The band members include: Hans Gunder, Reeds; Bob Maddalena, Trumpet; Allan LaMotte, Trombone; Janed Guymon Casady, Piano & Keyboard; Jim Goodwin, Banjo, John Palmer, Tuba and Bob Constantine, Drums.
About one hundred people came to the re-internment service, many in period costume, some fans, some performers, even one personal friend of Chandler's, Sybil Davis, the daughter of Chandler's literary assistant. Sybil was 13 when Raymond died, and considered him a grandfather figure. Chandler left Sybil's mother Cissy's diamond wedding ring, his monogrammed silver cigarette case and his ostrich wallet, all of which are now Sybil's and all of which she brought to the funeral.
Mt. Hope had set up chairs on the road adjacent to, and facing Ray's grave. On either side of the grave were two stages, one for the band and one for the speakers.
Before the service the Crown Island Jazz Band gave a mini concert consisting of the following:
"Just a Little While to Stay Here," Eugene Monroe Bartlett;
"Let Me Call You Sweetheart," Leo Friedman and Beth Slater Whitson;
"Oh, Didn't He Ramble," Bob Cole and J. Rosamond Johnson;
"All of Me," Gerald Marks;
"Till We Meet Again," Charles Hart and Louis James;
"Everybody Loves My Baby," Jack Palmer and Spencer Williams;
"Pete Kelly's Blues," Ray Heindorf;
"What a Wonderful World," Bob Thiele and George David Weiss.
We began just about One PM, as planned. The service was arranged in the following order:
Welcome Chandler Fans by me, Loren Latker, creator of the Shamus Town Web Site;
Music "I'll Fly Away" (Albert E Brumley, '29);
Welcome to San Diego Ann Lipscomb Hill, San Diego Historical Society;
Music "Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee" (Ludwig Van Beethoven's "Ode To Joy");
Welcome Lovers Dr. Annie Thiel-Latker;
Music "Amazing Grace" (Newton & Excell);
Raymond Chandler Powers Boothe AKA Philip Marlowe;
Cissy and Ray, readings from "The Long Embrace" Judith Freeman;
Service by Randal Gardner Rector, St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, La Jolla CA;
Music "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" (Unknown) Music by Crown Island Jazz Band.
I began the service, greeting the assembled fans, talking a bit about Ray, then thanked every who helped make the reuniting of Cissy & Ray possible, and then introducing Annie, who was the M.C.
Annie gave a moving speech comparing Ray to Will Shakespeare and ending with a reading of Sonnet 116.
The highlights of the service, of course, were the presentations by Powers Boothe and Judith Freeman.
Powers Boothe, is the Emmy-winning American TV & Film actor, whose notable roles include the 1980 Emmy-winning portrayal of Jim Jones, and more recently, Cy Tolliver on the Deadwood TV series. Powers joined the ranks of Humphrey Bogart when he portrayed Philip Marlowe in the 1980 HBO Series "Philip Marlowe Private Eye."
Powers read snippets from Chandler's work, including "I was neat, clean shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it," "If in doubt, have three guys come through the door with guns," and "Hollywood is the kind of town where they stick a knife in your back and then have you arrested for carrying a concealed weapon." He closed his part of the service by channeling Chandler once more with: "I'm not going to say goodbye. In the tradition of Raymond, I'm going to say, 'I need a drink, and I'm going to have one.'"
Judith Freeman followed Powers, remarking on how hard is was to follow his act. Judith is an essayist, critic, short story writer and novelist, whose first book of non-fiction was "The Long Embrace." Judith ordered the beautiful wreath, which was heart-shaped and covered in pink roses with a banner that reads, "Cissy and Ray Forever" and a card reading from "Your Fans."
Judith read the untitled poem that Ray wrote to Cissy on pages 296-7 of her book, and from the paragraph on page 298 which begins "Cissy came from Ohio ...," to the end of page 300.
Following Judith, Dr. Randall Gardner began the Episcopalian portion of the service, which Ray requested in a letter to his London solicitor. The following were read by Melonie Magruder, Aissa Wayne and Dr. Gardner respectively:
The sage who wrote Ecclesiastes under the name of Qoheleth (Ko-heh-leth) reflects on the impermanence of life and the vanity that is found in thinking that we can overrule such changes and chances in this life. In the end, Qoheleth concludes, true gain in life comes from living as closely as one can with God's commandments and enjoying what this life provides.
A Reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain can workers have from all their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time.
Here ends the Reading.
In a touching story of that shows the power that comes when love, faith and obedience combine, Tobias chooses in love to risk marriage to a woman whose former husbands have all been killed by an evil spirit on the wedding night. As they prepare for their first night together, Tobias and his bride, Sarah, offer this prayer:
A Reading from the Book of Tobit
Tobias said to Sarah, "Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety." So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, "Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors, and blessed is your name in all generations forever. Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you forever.
You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the human race has sprung. You said, It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.1 I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.2 And they both said, 3 Amen, Amen."
Here ends the Reading
A Reading from the Gospel According to John
Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."
Here ends the Reading.
Dr. Gardner then had everyone gather around the grave site, in which a hole for the urn had been dug, and he concluded the service by placing Cissy's Urn in the ground and leading the Lord's Prayer.
Since the original headstone was dear to Sybil, it was not moved, as we had originally planned. Our new marker was placed at the foot of the grave and Cissy's Urn was placed between the two.
After interviews were given and photos taken, we took the Limo back to the hotel and prepared for the reception and toast.
Because alcohol is not allowed in Mt. Hope, our original plan to toast Cissy & Ray with Gin Gimlets at the grave site was not possible, hence the later reception. The reception was very successful. The Gimlets were made according to the recipe in "The Long Goodbye." A number of toasts were made, and Sybil Davis spoke about her time with Ray: She was 11 when they met and 13 when he died. While there was a no host bar at the reception, I paid for the Gimlets.
Following the reception, we had a no host dinner for Chandler fans.
I'm happy to report that all three events were successful, but especially happy that we were able to fulfill Cissy and Ray final wishes.
Below you will find a number of links to media about reuniting Cissy & Ray on Valentine's Day 2011.
Kent Hagen and John Travers shot video of the entire event, as well as the reception, and provided a wonderfully edited 46 minute video which I've made available. Keep in mind that it is their video, which they shot and edited at considerable expense. Please honor their copyright and do not post this on UTube or any other public site. The HTML 5 video player allows you to download the complete video. Please do not abuse the priviledge, but enjoy the video and download it if you wish to preserve it for posterity. You are certainly free to share a link to this page, and by all means, let other Chandler fans know about this page, the video, and the other media.
You will also find PDF files of the inside and outside of the service program, and links to Flicker photostreams of still photos of the events. There is also a link to KPBS reporter Angela Carone's interview of me after the service and a link to San Diego's CBS Channel 8 news story that was televised that evening, as well as links to the best news paper stories about the event.
Embeded video from CBS Ch 8 San Diego is below. In case it doesn't appear, use the two CBS Channel 8 links directly below:
KPBS reporter Angela Carone's interview of Loren in Mt. Hope after Cissy's service. KPBS Interview
Here are links to the two best news articles about the event, both from English web sites: The Daily Mail and the Guardian. Both have the same error from the AP article saying the judge was from Los Angeles. The Daily Mail also stated erroneously that Chandler was born in England. In spite of the minor errors, the articles are the best news stories. The worst, not surprisingly, was in the Los Angeles Times.
NOW, the rest of the story (if you want to read further and are so inclined)
October 19, 2010 – Annie & Loren's Excellent Adventure to San Diego!
It took a bit over one month for the Court Certified Shorthand Reporter, Darla Kmety, to work through her backlog and get to our transcript, which I received on 10/10. With that in hand, Aissa quickly completed the Judge's order, which I received on 10/14. Annie doesn't work on her birthday, which is October 19th, so we decided to drive down to San Diego and get the order signed and then go to Cypress View to make preliminary arrangements.
We arrived a bit before 11 AM, met Irving Escobedo, the Bailiff who helped us on 9/8, gave him a picture I'd taken of him with Aissa, and with his help got to Department 47, Judge Whitney's current court room. The judge signed the order, asked us how things were going, and we invited him to the 2/14/11 event.
After lunch we drove to Cypress View, which is South East of the Court House between the I-15 and I-805 Freeways. Mike Koester had just driven off, so I gave the certified court order to Raquel Garduno, along with a check for $450 – the fee to remove Cissy's cremains. As we were leaving Mike returned and we thanked him for his phone testimony and help in winning. We then discussed the logistics of moving Cissy from Cypress View to Ray's grave in Mt. Hope.
It turns out that Cypress View's old Mausoleum, on the North side of Imperial, and no longer open to the public, is where Cissy is. The rear of the building abuts Mt. Hope. Mike suggested that he open the back door and hand us Cissy's cremains on Valentines Day. That would alleviate walking from Cypress View to Mt. Hope, and the need for a parade permit or police escort.
Then, even though it isn't open to the public, Mike gave us a tour of the 100 year old mausoleum where Cissy has been for the last 56 years.
The building was opened in 1910. The exterior is in poor condition. It is 100% full, and thus does not generate revenue. Never-the-less, Cypress View is fixing it up. We were shown one room that looked like a cozy wood paneled library, except the walls are lined with wood and glass enclosed niches so you could see the Urns and other mementoes inside. The interior is really wonderful.
We were then escorted through a room that had been the chapel, down a ramp and into the basement and around behind the two 100 year old free standing brick Cremation Ovens. The rear of the ovens have steel doors that slide up and down.
Directly behind the ovens is the back wall, which consists of floor to ceiling Beige metal storage vaults. I don't know how deep each vault is, but they are about 3 feet high by 4 feet wide with a hinged steel door secured with a padlock. The likely cremation process was to roll the coffin out of the chapel and down to the ovens. After the cremation, the ashes would be scooped out and placed in either a standard or more expensive custom Urn: In Cissy's case, probably a 3x6x9 inch rectangular type Urn. After the ashes were placed in the Urn it would be placed in one of the storage vaults. The cremains would sit in the vault until a loved one had them removed. Well, Ray never claimed Cissy's ashes and they are still in the origianl rectangular Urn in one of the vaults, 56 years later. The ovens haven't been used in about the same number of years. As Mike said, cremains are just for memorial purposes in California, and could have been thrown out or spread at sea at anytime in the last 56 years. It actually took Cypress View a couple of days to find Cissy when I first called, so I guess the combination of not needing the space and the unclaimed cremains being out of sight and out of mind for years is probably responsible for Cissy still being available when I called.
I originally stated that Cissy was in a box. Well, according to Mike, "She is in an urn as are all cremated remains from this establishment." Per the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau: Urn - A container to hold cremated human remains. It can be placed in a columbarium or mausoleum, or it can
be buried in the ground (http://www.cfb.ca.gov/consumer/funeral.shtml#glossary). After receiving the above information I checked Urns-R-Us - just kidding: There is no Urns-R-Us site, but there are plenty of web sites selling Urns - and modern day Urns come in all shapes and sizes, and are made from just about any material that is malleable. They even have huggable Teddy Bear, Cat and Dog Urns, plus Angel versions of the previous, as well as a Military Bear Urn (http://www.huggableurns.com/).
Anyway, after seeing Cissy's location, Mike unlocked a door and we stepped out onto a perimeter road in Mt. Hope, and were shown the gate where we will take possession of Cissy on 2/14/11.
After leaving Cypress View we drove into Mt. Hope via the Hope Street gate on Imperial. We drove to the back of Cypress View, reset the odometer and then drove to Ray's grave. It is 2/10s of a mile and across the San Diego Orange Line Trolley tracks. A small bush has been plated as a landmark to help people find his grave. I took a few pictures and we went to the Mt. Hope Administration building. They made a copy of the certified order and I made arrangements for an urn vault to be place under Ray's grave marker. We then went to Seaman-Poe to arrange for a new marker. The part of Mt. Hope were Ray is can only have flat markers, so a new 30x24 marker will be made, click here to see the preliminary design.
The information for the new marker was taken off a picture of Ray's current marker and a copy of Cissy's Death Certificate, which has an erroneous birth date, as we all know. I have since checked my records and this is what I do know: The 1870 Census in Perry Township, Lake County, Ohio, shows Eugene Hurlbert, age 26 living with his wife Maria Hurlbert, age 21, and no other household members. Keep in mind the U.S. Census does not count one in the oven! The June 4 1880 Census in Schuylkill Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, shows Eugene and Maria, now 36 and 31 (I guess fudging about one's age ran in the family since they are each listed as 33), along with Pearl (age 9), Leona (age 8) and Lavinia (age 1). I also have a 1920 Los Angels Census showing Pearl Pascal age 39. Well, unless I can't subtract, 1920 minus 1871 is 49, not 39. So Cissy shaded her age to the Census taker by 10 years. When folks lie about their age they generally just lie about the year, so we can assume that the month and day of October 29 are good. Since the Census is done early in the year, and the Hurlbert family was counted in June, and Cissy's birthday was in the end of October, if she were born in 1871 she would have only been 8 going on 9 during the 1880 Census. So, Cissy was born in 1870, 18 years before Ray. Well, technically 17 years going on 18 since he was born in July. So, I will have Cissy's birthdate changed to 1870 on the marker.
I'd like to use a bit of space here to thank three people without whom this entire endeavor of reuniting Cissy and Ray would never have happened:
My wife, Dr. Annie Thiel. She has the contacts and the organizational skills to take my idea and run with it. Without her, nothing would have gone beyond the warm and fuzzy idea stage;
Patrick DeCarolis of Trope & DeCarolis, LLP. Patrick did thousands of dollars of Pro Bono work in finding the 1960 trial transcript Fracasse v. Green that contained Ray's will, as well as advise Annie, Aissa and I. A big thank you as well to Brittany, Patrick's law clerk who went to San Diego and actually found the case after the attorney service failed;
Finally, Aissa Wayne Esq., who also put thousands of dollars of Pro Bono work into this project, and who was just brilliant in court. Without her my petition would have never been approved.
Of course there are many other people who have helped as well, from Irving Escobedo, the court bailiff, Paul Mosher and Mike Koester at Cypress View to Maria Flor Popoca at Mt. Hope, as well as the many people who signed the e-Petition, and those who helped via the internet and email, like Chris Routledge who added to my research. Thank you one and all. Could not have done it without you!
December 29, 2010 – Annie & Loren's Second Excellent Adventure to San Diego!
In the midst of continuous downpours over Southern California, Annie and I
drove down to San Diego again on December 29th.
We stopped at Seaman-Poe Monument Company, behind Mt. Hope, and I paid for the new grave
marker. The final change I made was to the nicknames, putting them in Italics, as suggested by Bill & Teri Thinnes. Actually, they suggested apostrophes rather than quotation marks. I asked Peggy at Seaman-Poe and she said it was 50-50 between quotes and apostrophes. Other sources suggested
italics, quotations marks and/or apostrophes to distinguish nicknames. I selected italics simply because I like the look, which is cleaner from a design viewpoint.
Our next stop was the Hilton San Diego Bayfront near San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter. We had lunch with Tim Nader and Janed Guymon Casady. Tim is an attorney with the State Attorney General's office and was recently elected to the Southwestern College Board, of which is now also President. Tim was our guide around the San Diego Court system, along with Bailiff Irving Escobedo, during our September Court Hearing. Janed's father, Ned Guymon, was an avid collector of first edition mysteries, and one of the attendees of Raymond Chandler's funeral service at St. James by-the-Sea in 1959. Janed is the keyboardist in the Crown Island Dixieland Jazz band that will lead the procession carrying Cissy's urn to Ray's grave. Her father's collection was donated to Occidental College and is housed in the Guymon Room at the Eagle Rock Campus.
After checking room rates, location and facilities on-line, we decided on the Hilton as the official Reunite Cissy & Ray hotel, hence the lunch in the Hilton's Vela Restaurant. More about the Hilton later.
After lunch we drove up to La Jolla and met Randal B. Gardner, D.Min., the Rector of St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Dr. Gardner was kind enough to give us a tour of historic St. James and then we chatted with him about the graveside service. Dr. Gardner suggested some wonderful passages about love and marriage, as well as a hymn, and offered to be the MC, which Annie and I are delighted about. The one thing Ray did specify in writing was having either an Anglican or Episcopalian service. Since the retired Rector of St. James did both Cissy's and Ray's original services in 1954 and 1959,
it is only fitting that current Rector of St. James preside in 2011.
From St. James, in La Jolla village, we drove a bit South to Ray's former home. The skies had cleared enough to allow for taking pictures without getting soaked, so I snapped a few HiRes digital images of the house, and the view Ray would have seen from his front window. There is now a small
plaque by the walk and stairs leading to the front door, and I included that as well.
From La Jolla we drove North just ahead of rush-hour traffic to Costa Mesa to pick up Asta, our Miniature Schnauzer - yes, just like Asta from The Thin Man novel. Our Asta, a boy, was visiting his sister and getting a show cut at the breeders. The Thin Man movies used a Wire-Haired Terrier named
Skippy, who apparently bit Myrna Loy and upset William Powel. More about the original Asta at: http://www.iloveasta.com/; http://freespace.virgin.net/donna.moore/Asta.htm.
As of 12/29/10, all fees had been paid. The only expenses left were for the Mt. Hope service itself, the rental of the reception room, the Hors d'ouvres and the Gin and Rose's Lime juice for the Gimlets (a cocktail made of Gin and lime juice. A description from 1928 calls for "gin, a spot of lime, and soda" [D.B. Wesson, "I'll Never Be Cured III]. In Ray's "The Long Goodbye,"  Terry Lennox says "a real Gimlet is half Gin and half Rose's lime juice and nothing else." Today it seems when you ask for a Gimlet you get the vodka version. Since we are going to have an Episcopalian service as Ray wished, the least we can do is toast him with Gin Gimlets!).