I went to the Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson today where Eudora Welty is buried. I was looking for her grave, of course, but I was also looking for an angel she once photographed. I didn’t have the picture on me, and I wasn’t trying to recreate her photograph. I just wanted to take my own picture of the same angel. I was sure I’d found it. It has the star on the head. It’s the right size. Everything looked the same about it to me except for the fact that one hand was broken off, and some sort of watering can was hanging in its place. When I got home and started comparing my picture to the one in the Welty book, I still thought I had the right angel. Right up to the point that I noticed first that the background in my pictures was wrong and second that the name on my grave was different. As it turns out there are some differences in the shape of my angel as well, though the two are remarkably similar and evidently coexist in the same cemetery. They both belong to people who died in 1890. They must have been made by the same person.
This will not be my last trek to Greenwood Cemetery, it seems. It’s inevitable that I’ll keep going back until I find the right angel or find someone to tell me it no longer exists.
I did manage to locate Welty herself, and I’m pretty sure this is the real Eudora Welty grave.
She would have approved of the modesty of her marker. Anyone who kept her Pulitzer in a cardboard box in the coat closet probably wouldn’t have much use for a ten foot tall marble angel.