Montclair, New Jersey: Statue of Mother

William Freiday wanted people to remember his mom, Annie Baker Freiday, by commissioning this lavish grave marker. Mother!

Rosedale Cemetery

Address:
Orange Rd, Montclair, NJ
Directions:
Rosedale Cemetery. Entrance is on the west side of Orange Ave., just north of Ridgewood Ave. When you enter the cemetery, make a sharp left turn just past the office and follow the road as it twists and turns. In a little while you'll see a road to the right that has several dashed lines painted down its center. Turn right onto this road. You'll quickly see Mother straight ahead, at the top of a hill, backed against the cemetery's perimeter fence.
Hours:
Daily 8:30 am - 5 pm.
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Mother.

Statue of Mother

William Freiday clearly wanted people to remember his mom. He was a wealthy businessman, and in 1936 he hired Charles Keck -- designer of a U.S. gold coin -- to sculpt his mother's likeness, which was then placed before the Freiday family tomb. Annie Baker Freiday, who died in 1935, has her name only on the crypt's back side. Out front, she is simply, "Mother."

The elements have not been kind to Mom, turning her Statue of Liberty green. Black facial streaks make her look like a movie zombie. Even when she was fresh, Mother was not cheerful. She's shown in old age, not as an idealized, vigorous super mom. Her shoulders sag, her eyes stare blankly ahead at the cars driving up the hill toward her grave. The inscription behind her perhaps explains her weary pose: "Life's True Happiness is Found in Loving Service."

Several famous people are buried in Rosedale Cemetery, including Michelle "Myra Monkhouse" Thomas, girlfriend of Urkel on the 1990s sitcom Family Matters. But the cemetery office manager told us that Mother is by far Rosedale's most visited grave.

[Roadsideamerica.com Team, 05/02/2011]

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