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Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Playmobil_reaperYou know, Ben's morbid bent doesn't surprise me anymore. Over spring break we rented an apartment in Boston, the better to let Charlie mingle with his people. As Ben and I explored the neighborhood together, he noticed a cemetery."It's convenient that our apartment is near a graveyard," he said conversationally, "in case one of us dies during this vacation."

He wouldn't drop the subject until I promised to take him there — but not that night, I told him, since we needed to get back for dinner. 

"Tomorrow," he specified. Sure, I said. "In the morning," he insisted. "First thing."

So to Auburn Cemetery we went, chilly, rainy, and early.


He was disappointed to realize, after I'd patiently read about two dozen epitaphs, that there was a pattern — name, birth date, date of death — with no gruesome details on offer, but don't worry! He perked right up when we came to a row of tiny children's headstones.


We only left when he fell to the ground, thrashing in misery. If passersby had seen him, it would have looked like he was flinging himself about in abject woe, perhaps over the loss of a loved one — too soon, too soon! — but actually he was raging. "WHY would they want to lock off the MOST INTERESTING PART of this graveyard?!"

I don't know, kid, but may I say I approve of your choice of mourning attire?

So knowing his fascination for what other people might consider, you know, kiiiind of creepy for a six-year-old, I wasn't concerned yesterday by the heap of Playmobil bodies in the playroom. It did give me pause that they were situated right next to where the digging happens...

Photo 1

...but that mild concern was forgotten once I noticed they'd all been scalped.

"Ben," I asked him, "where'd their hair go?"

"Wig dump," he said nonchalantly...


...and went about his ghoulish business.