I have been known to visit graveyards on vacations. When my husband and I see old tombstones in a cemetery, we often stop and take a look around. I particularly love church and family cemeteries. They often contain beautiful, intricately carved stones, especially those of children. These old cemeteries provide mature shade trees, hydrangea and rose bushes along windy pathways, a special kind of beauty and peace. In Elmira, NY, is one of my favorite cemeteries – Woodlawn. It lies at the very end of Walnut Street. Once, after we first moved to Elmira, I had an argument with my husband. I stormed out of the house and took a drive. I ended up in that peaceful place and searched around for Mark Twain’s grave there. I forgot about being angry. Since then, it’s become a special place for my husband and I. We have even driven through there in the rain. It’s just that nice!
My homeschooled grandson is studying Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), and my mom and I had a chance to visit the Twain family home last fall in Hartford, CT, along with my daughter and grandson. It was a wonderful tour and our guide was very knowledgeable. Now I’m waiting for my grandson to visit me so he can get his fill of Mark Twain in Elmira. Elmira proudly boasts of its connection to Mark Twain. Not only is he buried there, but his wife, Olivia Langdon, was born there in 1845 and the couple was married there on February 2, 1870.
Four children were born to Samuel L. & Olivia L. Langdon Clemens:
Langdon Clemens (1870-1872)
Olivia Susan Clemens (1872-1896)
Clara Langdon Clemens (1874-1962)
Jane Lampton Clemens (1880-1909).
Clara Clemens was the only surviving child of Samuel Clemens. She married Ossip Gabrilowitsch, and had one child, Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch (1910-1966). Twain’s direct family line ended when Nina died in 1966, with no children.
Jeff Glor, of CBS news, in his review of the book, states:
[He wrote] daily dictations over four years, about whatever he found interesting that day.
So was Mark Twain the first BLOGGER?
“I would say that is exactly right,” Hirst said. “Partly a journal, partly a diary, and partly recollection. So yeah, I think of it as a kind of blog, a blog without a web!” (Robert Hirst is curator of the Mark Twain Papers at UC Berkeley.)
Read more about Mark Twain & his Elmira connection by clicking the links below.