Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | February 22, 2012

I Can Visit Whitney Houston Every Day…and You Can’t

Unless you were in Varanasi, India (like my friend Heather), you likely heard all about Whitney Houston’s funeral. All weekend. The newspaper had front page stories every day of the intricacies of the funeral service on Saturday (Bobby Brown’s entourage couldn’t sit with the family!), followed by Sunday’s stories of the burial.

For New Jersey, this is about as close to Royal Wedding coverage as we’ll ever get. Until Donald Trump gets buried in the cemetery he wants to build in New Jersey.

The more interesting story, however is that Whitney Houston is buried in Westfield, New Jersey. Yes, you recognize that town (it’s not a city!) from your holiday card address. This is the most famous thing to happen to Westfield since…the Central Avenue light was moved from the corner of Clover to the middle of the street 2 houses down. Okay, that’s just infamous in Westfield.  

Really, though, the Houston burial is the most famous thing to happen in Westfield since Good Morning America featured the Kaplan clan running errands for its Sneaky Teacher episode. That one made the Westfield Leader! And Houston’s burial did too (though she got the front page, and we didn’t). If only I was in town for the burial, maybe I could have gotten a stringer position for the Leader and stood outside the cemetery gates to interview mourners watching the hearse go by. A lost chance. I could have interviewed the woman who said, “And to think of people from Beverly Hills coming to little old Westfield.” Uh, yeah. Because we live in a higher end suburb???

Locals said the helicopters hovering overhead made the area sound like a war zone. Overhead at (at Fairview Cemetery – “Fairview” as in Desperate Housewives, though it’s been around a lot longer. Since 1868 in fact. The cemetery is eternal home to Virginia Apgar (your baby’s Apgar score anyone?), Claydes Charles (duh! a co-founder of Kool & the Gang), the family of murder John List, and a bunch of people you’ve never heard of.

Our town is apparently terrified of becoming a tourist destination. Because I’m sure our downtown stores would hate that. With the new Yappi Yogurt and Swirl Whirl, Gap, Coach, loads of restaurants and all.

I did drive by to pay my respects to Ms. Houston today. Okay, really I was driving by on my way home from tennis. It was the most direct route. The cemetery still sported several police officers by the front gates. Not that I was going in, mind you. I had to get home for a phone interview. But I’m comforted knowing I can go anytime. Once the police officers leave.

In the meantime, I’m going to track down the guy who made up 33,000 Whitney t-shirts to sell outside her funeral. He only ended up selling 3,000 because the police made the crowds stay away. And maybe I’ll buy a New Jersey flag to support Governor Christie. Because he wanted to fly the flag at half mast, some Michigan man burned a Garden State flag in protest. Burned it in his grill because the guy’s son died in Iraq, so lowering the flag cheapened its meaning. Others said the Governor shouldn’t lower the flag for a drug user.

Ah, New Jersey. Welcome home, Whitney!


  1. only the garden State could produce such a bizarre story! What a sad way for Westfield to have its 15 minutes of fame.

  2. I didn’t know she was so close to home! Good to know–but still, I’d much rather see her in concert than visit her grave. So sad . . . 😦

  3. […] the way home from tennis today, I stopped by to see my gal Whitney. Only the cop car was still sitting in the cemetery entrance. I tried to sweet talk my way in. I […]

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