The recorded high on May 22, 1965 – the last day Carolyn was seen alive – was 82. The dew point was 65 and there was no recorded rain. If she left in the morning for work, this was likely a comfortable commute.
The average temperature that August, the month her body was discovered near Waverly Hills, was the mid 70s with very little rain.
The day of her funeral, March 31, 1967, the high was 78, dew point 48, and no rain. A beautiful day.
It’s currently 90 in Louisville and with a dew point of 72, it feels like 99. We’re under an excessive heat warning, as are 195 million others in the country.
This didn’t stop my friend Jourdan and me from visiting Carolyn’s grave in Cave Hill and taking flowers.
This was actually the first visit to Cave Hill for either of us. It really is as beautiful as everyone says.
Carolyn is buried towards the back in section 21. You can hear traffic on Lexington Road through the border of trees. There is very little shade in this section – just hundreds of tombstones flush with the ground. No great monuments. Just quiet testaments to lives lived, and in some cases cut very short.
Sweat ran down my back and little bitty ants climbed over the map that brought us here as we sat in quiet, hearing cicadas and other buzzing insects and feeling a gentle, too fleeting breeze.
In case you’re ever sitting at a grave site you’ve never been to before, yes, that circle in the middle of the flat tombstone does lift and yes it is a vase. It’s not, as Jourdan and I momentarily feared, the urn containing the interred’s ashes. As Jourdan lifted the vase, water came gushing out, both confusing and surprising us. We stopped for a moment, gave each other confused looks wondering if we’d just irreversibly disturbed Carolyn’s slumber, before deciding we’d already come this far. Lo, a vase!
This type of tombstone is typically the most cost effective. Were the carved roses and vase extra? Did Carolyn’s mother, M. L. Revell, visit and leave flowers like the white carnations we brought today? When was the last time anyone visited Carolyn? Will the groundskeepers be surprised at the upturned vase? Will they question anything when they dispose of the flowers in ten days, or when they begin to decay, whichever comes first?