|3555-3557 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago|
I had been warned that Oak Woods Cemetery is in a bad neighborhood, and they weren't kidding. Oak Woods is a HUGE cemetery (183 acres). It's not as large as Rosehill (350 acres) but it seemed much larger to me, maybe because I was unfamiliar with it. I've been at Rosehill so many times it feels like my own backyard.
Oak Woods is surrounded by a stone wall topped with barbed razor wire, to keep intruders out. Other than the staff in the office I didn't see another living soul the whole time I was at Oak Woods, but I did not feel the least bit afraid. Both Oak Woods and Rosehill are now owned by Service Corporation International (SCI); however, unlike their colleagues at Rosehill the office staff at Oak Woods could not have been more friendly, or more helpful. Without my asking, the man in the office went back and pulled the plot card for Alvina's plot to see who, if anyone, was buried in Lot 913 besides Alvina. It turned out that Alvina has Lot 913 all to herself.
So, with my trusty map from the office, I set out to find Alvina Schaeffer to see if her last wishes regarding her burial were carried out.
Here is a photo of Alvina Schaeffer's tombstone. It is a substantial monument, about 6 feet tall.
Standing in front I could see the inscription:
I think I can safely say that very few people have thought about Alvina Schaeffer in over 100 years. She and Henry Schaeffer had no children; her brothers never left Germany. I have said before that one of the purposes of this blog is to see that the people I write about are not forgotten. We'll never know if I stumbled upon Alvina's story by accident, or whether I was "guided" by someone to find her story. But, thanks to the miracle of the internet, Alvina Schaeffer and her story will not be forgotten.
Alvina Schaeffer - "Here Lies the Sleeping Beauty" - May she rest in peace.