Monday, November 21, 2011

Ramona Epic #33: R.I.P. Ramona and Juan "Alessandro" Diego

This is the conclusion of this little "mini-series within the series" of blogs dealing with my time near Cahuilla Mt.

Let me preface this one by saying that I am going to be a little more sensative in how I present this than normal. I am not posting any GPS coords, nor any directions how to get to where I was. Although one could probably figure things out just by what I have said previously and what I will say now.

I could probably do everything as normal, but I want to be a little more respectful on this one...I hope anyone reading this blog realizes I try to be respectful everywhere I go. Technically speaking, the graves I visited are on reservation land which can be considered trespassing. On the other hand, the cemetery is literally right next to a casino that anyone can visit (yes, they want you to!) even though it too is on reservation land.

In doing my homework for this one I read a few books and articles. I then corresponded and talked to a few people about this. The main rule I found out is no drugs or alcohol in the cemetery. Other than that, I just used common sense and did not do anything stupid.

Let me also add there are other pictures I have seen of these gravesites on the web. In fact, some are better than mine because I went during the time of the year when the weeds were really growing. Also, I have been told, and read, that in the past Ramona Pageant people have come here and have acted out parts for groups of people. So, it is not like I am the first one to discover these gravesites, or done anything online about them since others have.

Without that out of the way...
The two grave markers in front of me are the gravesites for Ramona Lubo and Juan Diego. Of course, Juan's history was mentioned in Ramona Epic #31.In the above picture is the marker for Ramona Lubo. She was the wife of Juan, witnessed his murder, lived in that same area I was at for #31, then came down here, and lived out her life not too far from the cemetery.

Now below is the grave marker for Juan Diego. These markers were put in long after their deaths by people obviously influenced by the Ramona book or pageant.

Most pictures I have seen of these graves are always clean with no weeds, but forgetting about all the weeds growing nearby you can tell these graves are visited often by the items that are left for them.The woman we know as Ramona Lubo was probably not born with the name of Ramona. Helen Hunt Jackson commented as if it were a major coincidence, but more than likely the woman was given the Ramona name after the popularity of the novel.
The sad truth of the matter is she lived in poverty, and reporters would come to visit her thinking of the images they got from reading the romanticed story of Ms. Jackson's book only to be shocked by this woman's appearance. She was old and not the most attractive woman in their eyes to say the list.

Ramona Lubo was able to take advantage of her fame based on the novel by making some money from the people that would visit her. For example, some postcards were made with her. There is one I have seen that has her look as if she is crying near her husbands gravesite. The Ramona Memories book by Dydia DeLyser covers some more about her in her chapter on who the "real" Ramonas.

So is this the real Ramona? Well, Helen Hunt Jackson knew about this woman since she used the murder event of Juan Diego as the basis for her fictional murder of Alessandro. Other than that, there really isn't anything else known about Ramona Lubo that would connect her to the main character of the novel. However, with that said, she can probably be identified with the main character more than anyone else just based on that historical incident.

There are a bunch of women that have been considered candidates that came from a lot of the places I have been to in this series. More than likely, the main character is a composite of many people Ms. Jackson met, or just an ideal she came up with. At the end of the day it does not matter.

As for me, this was a fun one to come to. Ironically, it was almost one of the first things I did for the series. This one goes way back before I started really thinking about putting something like this series together. At the time I was just thinking of doing this and hiking to the areas I mentioned in the parts #31 and #32. That was all I intended to present. So, I guess you could say this was really what triggered the series. Had I not been here I probably would not have done this whole series.

As I remember from that day, I was only there for about five minutes. I got there, found the graves, took a few pictures, and I was off again. We drove by the cemetery again on the way to the hikes near Mt. Cahuilla.

When I come back to this series in December I will be putting the final touches on my official canon for the series. We are coming to the end, but I still have a bunch of things I need to cover on this one before the year ends.

Ramona Epic #33: R.I.P. Ramona and Juan "Alessandro" Diego (Youtube Version)

Ramona Epic #33: R.I.P. Ramona and Juan "Alessanero" Diego (Vimeo Version)

The short section at the end samples Wounded by Incompetech.