Feeling Divine in Towson, Maryland

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I was a latch-key kid growing up and was left pretty unsupervised after school. I would come home, do my homework, start dinner and then pretty much flipped through whatever was on tv. Because of this, I was exposed to a lot of things far earlier than I probably should have been in my life. I saw my first Vincent Price movie (House on Haunted Hill) at the age of 9, watched Rocky Horror, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and my first Roger Corman movie around the age of 13, and was introduced to John Waters my freshman year of high school.

I always remember Divine being larger than life on my tv. She was a presence that held your attention whenever the camera was on her and I loved her. I grew up loving John Waters’ strange sense of style and filmmaking, and to this day he is always one of those people I would love to just sit and talk to. When I went down to Maryland on a road trip I wanted to visit Divine’s grave. I was happy to see that it wasn’t too far away from where I was going to be and so I visited it on the way back.

The cemetery is in a pretty busy intersection and I was worried once I got in that I wouldn’t be able to find it. It’s a small cemetery though and with only one road going through it and no parking, I had no choice but to follow it. This stone sticks out like a beacon, and I spotted it from a mile away. With no choice but to just pull over a little and pray no other cars needed to get past me, I headed over to the brightly graffitied grave.

It is beautiful and horrible at the same time and I have to admit that I loved and hated the graffiti. On one hand some of it was so irreverent that it seemed to be the exact way Divine’s grave should look, but on the other hand I felt like her parents would probably not want to see some of the more graphic items on the stone when they come visit so perhaps out of simple respect, some people should have curbed what they wrote or left. Either way though, it was a masterpiece she would have been proud of.

On my way home, I discovered that I was slightly weeping in the car. The trip had been more emotional to me than I expected, and being there was almost like a pilgrimage my 17 year old self would have been jealous of. I cried the whole way back to NJ, and so far, this visit has been the most meaningful.

To the Queen of Filth!

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