Dictionary 8. Rest in Peace

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A routine check of the main building on the Rest in Peace Cemetery in Santa Fe turned up thousands of cardboard boxes containing the remains of cremated people. An inspector from the state's Cemetery and Funeral Bureau found the boxes stacked neatly in various rooms of the cemetery's main building. Instead of having names of the departed, most boxes simply had dates inscribed on them. The dates went all the way back to June 14, 1930.

The owner of the cemetery, Mrs. Marbles, said she had just bought the property a year ago. She said she had never even been in many of the rooms of the main building. She said that she had bought the cemetery solely for its land value.

"As we all know," she said, "God keeps making people, but He's not making any more land. It's only a matter of time before all this land is going to be needed for the living. When that happens, this property will be worth at least ten times what I paid for it. I'm already in discussions with several condo developers."

The inspector said that it looked like most of the remains were from the 1930s to the 1970s. He figured that the people were probably homeless people whose bodies were never claimed at the funeral homes. The funeral homes cremated the bodies and then gave the remains to the cemetery for proper burial. He said that even though these remains were up to 75 years old, they would be buried with dignity and respect.

"After all," he said, "all of these people had relatives at one time. They might even have children and grandchildren living right here in Santa Fe."


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