Thursday, July 21, 2011

#42. Kiss James Dean's Tombstone

Yep, you read that title correctly. For this post, I had to kiss a granite slab marking the eternal resting place of James Dean, the smoldering heartthrob from Fairmount, IN. Did I feel creepy? Absolutely. Was it fun? In the sense of "Oh my God I cannot believe I am doing this", yes. Yes it was.

Before I describe the gravestone smooch, I will give a bit of background on Dean. He was a famous actor who is best known for his angsty role in "Rebel Without a Cause." His other big films include "East of Eden" and "Giant." Before he went to Hollywood, he was raised on a Fairmount farm by his aunt and uncle. At 24, he was famously killed in a car accident. His good looks, strong but short lived career, and untimely death created his posthumous cult following.

Rebel Without a Cause
Best lines: "You can't be idealistic all your life, son"
Dean: "Except to yourself."
After having ice cream at Ivanhoe's, my mom, brother, and I drove 15 minutes to Park Cemetery, where Dean is buried. From there, I followed the steps outlined in the Indianapolis Monthly article.

Step 1. Choose a lipstick shade.

This was way too easy. I only own one tube of lipstick, so I went with my Red Rouge lipstick from Mary Kay.

Step 2. Locate the grave site in Farmount's Park Cemetery just north of town.

This was a lot more difficult than it sounds. Considering how small the town of Fairmount is, I assumed that locating the grave site would be a no brainer. At the very least, I expected a sign pointing out James Dean's tombstone. No such luck. The cemetery sprawls and thousands of markers sprinkled the grounds.

Not the best representation, but the Cemetery is surprisingly big.
Once we realized the scope of our challenge, the hunt began. Our car crawled through the grounds as all three of us scrutinized the headstones. I had looked at a picture a few days before leaving, so I had a rough idea of what Dean's tombstone looked like. I spotted one that matched my hazy memory, only to be let down.

I am sure that Carolyn J. McGrew was a wonderful woman, but she was not James Dean. So the search continued.

My mom spotted a minivan a few yards away and thought that they might be visiting the Dean grave site. We creepily followed the van and lo and behold, it was stopped in front of the tombstone! Just as we arrived, the van drove off (coincidence? doubtful), ending the 15+ minute search in solitude.

Okay, so this doesn't look anything like Ms. McGrew's headstone
Oh well it was worth a laugh

With an exultant shout, we hopped out of the car and took turns tinting our pouts. I even forced my brother to do it. It was possibly the highlight of the trip.

Step 3. Pucker up.

With the lipstick taken care of, I did the illogical and kissed the tombstone.

Proof for all of the Doubting Thomases
Step 4. Feel minimal guilt. You're not really causing any damage.

Maybe I am lacking a fit conscience, but guilt never even crossed my mind.

I am still a bit confused as to why this made the list. I understand that James Dean is an iconic Hoosier and there is something unexpected and therefore comical about kissing a gravestone, but I found it to be an odd way to pay respects. To each his own I suppose. And it will definitely make for an unusual anecdote in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought I would drive through a cemetry trying to find James Dean really was a fun day!