Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
4070 Mission Avenue, Oceanside
The rolling hills of Casa de Oro to the south are much unchanged since the Franciscans established this graveyard at the turn of the 18th Century. The extant headstones date back to the 19th Century, when the practice was to mark a grave with a simple stone cross bearing only a name or phrase -- "Henry Mebach," "Our Darling" -- or no inscription at all. Others give only the year of death. A white memorial with a simple cross on top, built in 1830, marks the "memory of all Indians buried in Mission San Luis Rey cemetery." One tiny headstone wedged into a corner of the walkway is inscribed "C.M. de B." Nearby, a large white marble headstone, grayed by the elements and adorned by a bas-relief weeping willow, reads, "In memory of Carolina Moreno de Bandini. Died November 19, 1873, Aged 24 years." Apples of light falling through the leaves of the trees -- pepper, oleander, catalpa, camphor, pine -- anoint these weathered monuments to mortality. Hours: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.