Harold and Maude's odd proclivity for strangers' funeral services brings them together again, this time at a church. The scene was filmed at St. Thomas Aquinas, the oldest (1902) church in the suburban city of Palo Alto, seen here in a recent photo.
Then ... St. Thomas Aquinas' stained-glass windows bookend the sparse gathering in this symmetrically composed shot. Both Maude on the right side of the aisle and Harold on the left sit well back. She sidles up behind him. "I heard he was eighty years old", she whispered, "I'll be eighty next week. Seventy five is too early... but eighty five is too much time". A foreboding comment? We shall see.
... and Now, a recent photo reveals only minor changes
Outside the church the rousing arrival of a passing band counterpoints the somber departure of the deceased. Life goes on. This is the Sunnyvale High School Marching Band from the city of Sunnyvale, close by Palo Alto. During the 1970s the band distinguished itself in competitions and at many major events including the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Disney World.
Then ... Perhaps sensing Harold's formal upbringing she introduces herself appropriately. "I'm Dame Marjorie Chardin but you must call me Maude. I think we're going to be great friends, don't you?".
... and Now, the church is at 751 Waverley Street at Homer Ave, Palo Alto, kitty corner from Heritage Park (map).
Then ... She hops into the Volkswagen conveniently parked in front of the church, makes a wild U-turn and darts across Homer on the wrong side, barely avoiding a collision.
... and Now, across the street Heritage Park has since been built (it opened in 2006) on the former site of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic.
Then ... The priest looks on in astonishment ... "That woman... she took my car!".
... and Now, the houses opposite are still there but leafily hidden by sidewalk trees, ubiquitous throughout Palo Alto today. The sturdy tree down the pavement on the right is the matured version of the one above.