Eastside 101: Xmas at Resurrection Cemetery

(click on the images for a larger version)

Resurrection has got to be one of the liveliest most active cemeteries around; it’s always packed with people during the holidays and they never seem to be mourning. I’m sure a few are but mostly it seems like visitors come to be closer to their departed, do a bit of grave site cleaning, and maybe even have a one way conversation with the loved ones. On this recent trip I saw a guy hold a cell phone to the patch of grass so some other relative or friend on the other end could say a few words to whomever was buried on that spot. I don’t dare imagine the roaming charges for dialing up the dead. But one of the most striking features of Resurrection is the way many families decorate the graves, no matter what the holiday may be. This time around, there are lots of tiny christmas trees all over the place, and more than a few large ones as well, like the one in the picture above. I only took a few pics this time which you can view by clicking ahead. I hope to come back soon and do some extensive nosing about, like taking a pic of the sign that sez ‘no drinking, no lawn chairs, no party atmosphere.’ The need for that sign makes me proud to be Chicano!

I recommend clicking on the pictures to see the larger version, as my camera and lack of photo skills collude to lose lots of the details. The pic above is a quick drive by but it still captures a bit of the holiday theme at the panteĆ³n.

Poinsettias and people, all mixed into the background. Not all of us leave LA to see our families.

A couple of santas bring xmas cheer to the six feet under crowd. I should mention that even though Resurrection Cemetery is in Montebello, beyond the East LA boundaries, it’s still part of the Eastside landscape. Most Eastsiders know of someone buried here, or are possibly making arrangements to make it the final destination. Which just goes to show that if any boundaries are “fluid”, it’s most likely in defining the Easternmost edge of the Eastside, in cities like Montebello, Alhambra, and Monterey Park that I doubt want to have any association with that label. But Eastside culture is accustomed to crossing arbitrary borders, even where it’s not wanted, just so you know!

Resurrection Cemetery
966 North Potrero Grande Drive
Montebello, CA 90640

Google map of all Eastside 101 locations.

10 thoughts on “Eastside 101: Xmas at Resurrection Cemetery”

  1. It’s true about how the eastside ranges. The area looks like a totally boring suburb, which it is, but it’s also “Lomas”, a wide ranging gang area that served as the milieu for Luis Rodriguez’s book “Always Running”.

    This cemetary is across the street from Tozai Market, one of the last commercial remnants of the Japanese American community in the area, and also a great place to get cheap sushi. Down at the other end of Arroyo, there’s the Cheesecake Cafe, the only soul food restaurant in the area (and they make cheesecake!)

  2. That’s so lovely. I used to have to drive by Forest Lawn in Griffith Park on my way to work, and I loved seeing the graves there decorated for the holidays, but Resurrection pwns FL all the way.

    Places like this make death a little less scary, imo.

  3. I haven’t been back in Resurrection in a while (almost ten years) and I don’t look forward to going back there anytime soon. It’s a nice place, but cemeteries are not for me.

  4. If you want a real Dia de los Muertos experience in Los Angeles, Resurrection is the place to be. The place is packed with roaming mariachis and trios, marigolds and throngs of families disobeying the ‘no party atmosphere’ rule.
    I also heard Cheesecake Cafe was a good spot. Next to Tozai was a place called Midori (is it still there?), one of my favorite places to eat when I was still a carnivore.

  5. Where is the cheesecake Cafe exactly? By the 7/11 down arroyo?

    Anyways, my abuelo is buried next to the saint (?) de pobres and there is a cholo grave a few feet away, complete with his gang name and neighborhood as well as a pic of his and his homeboys. His cholo parents dogged us once.

  6. My grandparents, great aunts and uncles, cousins, father, and sister are all there. I suspect the rest of the family may lie there one day as well. Always an experience.

  7. Many EastLosAngelinos have the older school familia buried at Calvary (the big yellow cross of the 60 in ELA between Downey and Eastern, badass gravestones and mauseleums)cemetary and the newer generations at Resurrection. It seems to follow the migration of chicanos from the motherbarrio along the 60/10/5 corridors, and makes for a hectic dia de los muertos in my family.

    My abuela sold their plots at Calvary for a mausoleum at Resurrection and my gramps crapped his pants, never totally forgave her for that one(him and me).

    I also saw a fat trashy guy eat someone else’s tamales left at a nearby headstone, and then responded to his disgusted family with “what? it shouldnt go to waste” all disdainfully.

  8. Oh yeah, and my nina (godmom) lives in the apartments behind the cemetary. The pool has a view of the graves, creepy.

  9. My grandfather died just a few days after Christmas in 1996. When we buried him on the 31st lots of the gravesites still had decorations. It was kinda weird to me, but it certainly made the funeral a bit more festive.

    I had an idea for a similar post.

    I was talking about this with a friend last night. His father is buried at Resurrection and he told me his family had gone a couple of weeks ago t decorate.

    I know a few people buried at Resurrection including my madrina and a friend from college who died in July. My parents, grandparents and a few aunts and uncles also have plots there. It’s weird when they point out the area where they will be buried some time in the very distant (I hope!) future.

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