Friday, January 04, 2008

Inky SPRUNG! Aunt Aggie's Bone Garden

It is completely obvious that Inky will say and do anything to get attention.

Even claim credit for ideas that are SO not his own. Yes, you -- like me -- may have secretly found his putative 'Xmas Bonetree' intriguing, even endearing. And you, like me, probably gave him full marks for originality and effort. But now I know the full truth, I have a good mind to drop the whole thing down the deepest hole in the darkest Oubliette that MoD boasts.

Not only was he ripping the idea off -- he ripped it from a DEAD woman... who had been a slave to boot!

Somehow he must have found out about Aunt Aggie's Bone Yard, a former roadside attraction in Lakeland, Florida (That's in the United States of Amerika for those who are geographically challenged... Inky you know who I'm talking about...).

Aunt Aggie's bone yard: Lake City, Florida ca. 1915. Aunt Aggie Jones on the right with a visitor. Photograph from Imagesof Florida's Black History

As you can see, it was quite sight and between 1900 and 1918 it was very popular with courting couples and young families (apparently the kids loved autographing the bones... tagging has a very long history). Then, they bulldozed it and put up a school on the site. Typical. Now all that is left is a small display about it at the Columbia County Historical Society.

Aunt Aggie (Aggie Jones) was born into slavery but when she and her husband gained their freedom she set to creating not only her remarkable garden, but also a natural history museum inside, which contained snakes preserved in jars and alligator skeletons, as well as a human skeleton hung in the hallway. Although she planted conventional plants and laid white sand walkways, its raison d'etre was "amazing gateways, arches and trellises from bones, wired together to form fanciful structures." Aggie Jones never charged entry, but she sold produce and food, made customised bouquets and reputedly worked a little magic, telling fortunes using the time-honoured cup, key and bible combination. On special occasions, she donned an Indian outfit and danced.

Slightly more info at Roadside.America.Com

Anyway, given that Inky has paved the way with his appropriation... I'm considering recreating at least a section of the Bone Yard in the grounds of the Museum. But that will be an homage... not a rip-off.

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