Peace Scientists work for peace
Above, view from Ferry Avenue PATCO train platform of Harleigh Cemetery. Just out of view on the left is Lady of Lourdes Hospital. The road in front of the cemetery, which is barely visible, is Haddon Avenue, which ends in Camden at Newton Friends Meeting click here.
Below, more pictures of Harleigh Cemetery. The roses were still blooming on Dec 16, 2015.
Lilies in Camden. Nick Virgilio and Walt Whitman. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2015 v9n2p1214

The City Invincible

This is carved at the top of Camden City Hall, a stone structure towering over a city that had thrived until over 40 years ago when it was acutely wounded and left to slowly bleed. Campbells Soups hung on a long time - as did generations of electric companies that started with His Masters Voice - they were both there and employing a mix of suburban professionals and locals when I volunteered with the Sunday breakfast program of St Paul's Episcopal Church on Market St in Camden during 1988, 1989, and 1990. The major employers were vanishing, and one by one, buildings were torn down and parking lots paved over. During that time a prison was built on the waterfront.

In 2015, the waterfront prison has been torn down and the vacant empty lot is being developed.  No longer does the smell of tomatoes cooking hang in the air. The statue of the dog talking into a megaphone is still seen from Philadelphia, but it is on top of a building that now houses condominiums, instead of engineering laboratories.

Around 2000, in the middle of Camden, Cooper Hospital and Rutgers University started expanding. Camden is close to Philadelphia, with easy access to New York, aproperty is really, really cheap. Additionally, local and state governments are giving major cash incentives to big corporations to move in. In consequence, Camden has a green zone, which is increasingly becoming a safe zone, a rich zone, and our Newton Meeting House and urban farm is within the zone. And so is the Walter Rand Transportation Center, a hub for many, many folks who are hungry and who are given meals by a lot of good folks. We from our Quaker group Food For All show up every 2nd, 4th and 5th Sunday and feed between 70 and 200 meals we have spent the previous evening and that morning preparing. We do our best click here.

At the southern edge of Camden is Harleigh Cemetery, right next to Lady of Lourdes Hospital, a hospital I particularly admire for personal and professional reasons. I adore Roman Catholic nuns, and the hospital was built by a collaboration of some of the finest. For all eternity the Lady of Lourdes statue on top of the hospital is gazing away from Harleigh Cemetery, facing the opposite direction from the lectern that is the gravestone for Nick Virgillio, at a right angle to the grave of Walt Whitman. Nick and Walt are Camden's most famous living and dead residents. They chose to live in Camden, they chose to be buried in Camden. And those of us who are still living get to walk the 100 feet between their graves, and enjoy the lake and the gorgeous gardens, and the geese who happily and completely ignore all signs warning against swimming or paddling or generally misbehaving.

My first name I have been led to believe is a name that came from Hebrew and means lily, and I have always had an affinity for lilies.

I love that Nick's most famous haiku is engraved on his gravestone: lily out of water out of itself.
Poet Walt Whitman bought one house during his lifetime, that house was, and is, in the City of Camden, 200 feet from the saltwater Delaware River, see above.
Poet Nick Virgilio spent most of his life in Camden, and was laid to rest 100 feet from Walt Whitman, one hundred years later, see below.