I’ve just started to scan in some pictures from a trip Dad and I took in September 2004. From Chicago, we went down to Cairo, crossed the Mississippi, then took a ferry from Dorena, Missouri, back to Hickman, Kentucky. One of the stops on our itinerary was the cemetery in Mount Olive, Illinois, about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis, where labor saint “Mother” Mary Jones is buried. My older son Eamon and I had happened across the spot on our way back to California a few months earlier. When we saw the informational sign on southbound Interstate 55–“Mother Jones Monument”–I was surprised. What was she doing out here, in the middle of nowhere? But the sign at the gate of a graveyard less than a mile from town and the interstate explained her presence: “Union Miners Cemetery,” it read. And on the arch above the gate, the legend was: “Resting Place of Good Union People.” You don’t know or tend to forget if you’re not from the area that this part of Illinois has a long coal-mining history and one marked by violence against union organizers and members. So: she’s there among the people she fought for. I’ve got some pictures I’ll scan in and post eventually.
While we were there, Dad and I strolled through the cemetery and another one just across the road. It was at the latter that we came across the headstone above. That south-central part of Illinois is divided between Cubs and Cardinals fans. Here’s a case where those bitter differences were put aside for a lifetime partnership (I note that the Cards’ fan lived to age 90; his Cubs’ fan wife would have been 80 when this picture was taken.