Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Old Cemeteries, Interesting Epitaphs, Touching Stories


Have you ever listened to Car Talk on NPR radio on Saturday mornings?

At the end of the show, Tom & Ray Magliazzi always say "Well, you've wasted another perfectly good hour listening to us."

I just spent way more than an hour cruising through some interesting online sites. And I know I'm not the only person out there who finds old cemeteries interesting.

Check out www.findagrave.com. Click on "Interesting Monuments" and check out a few. There are some fascinating stories to be found there. I mostly look at the earlier dates, especially the young women and children.

Look up the following names for starters:

Merchant, Christian B.
Poulson, Agnes F.
Warner, William Jr.

Christian Merchant's gravestone has a rather creepy tale that goes along with it. After you check it out on the Find A Grave site, go to www.ghosttoghost.com/htm and read how Ripley's Believe It Or Not featured the story on one of their shows.

The photo above is of Georges Rodenbach's gravestone in Paris, France. It was considered an excellent example of Victorian funerary art at the time. Imagine walking by that one October night when the leaves are falling. I don't know for sure but it must illustrate his belief in an afterlife. Rising from the grave? If you click on the picture you can get an even closer view.

On the Ghost To Ghost site you can read through some of the "Interesting Epitaphs". And I guarantee you will be amused and touched. I especially like the epitaph for Jonathan Pease.

Starting next week, I am going to do a series on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I've always wondered about them (Pardon the pun!)

1 comment:

  1. Not so long ago I visited my father's graveyard and spent some time there with some members of my family. We visited Dad and our extended family as well. It was early summer and we had just finished laying to rest a member of our extended family. After the show was over and the audience was milling about I took my sister on a walk through an older section of the grounds. I wanted to see again some of the sights of my ancient extended family (the ones who are only known through letters and historical tomes). We talked about a thousand forgettable topics as we walked... almost ran down the path. My sister cried out for me to wait for her as she struggled to keep up. I paused and she did. I opened my arms wide and beamed "Here we are now in the oldest section. Don't you feel it?" She looked at me as if she didn't know the half crazy part of me after all of these years. "Where are we?" she said. "We need to get back to the others..." and her voice trailled off as she looked toward me. I was standing at the base of an older grave from the early 20th century and next to some from late in the 19th century. I sat down on the soft, green carpet that nature had provided and said to her "Here is our ancestor's stone, isn't it beautiful?" She looked at it and said "...it's dirty. We need some water to clean it." I said to her "no we don't. It's perfect the way it is. Crumbling, covered with tiny lichen and kindly undisturbed. Who are we to interrupt that natural process?" She looked at me with the disdain only an older sister could afford and said "That should be cleaned up. It's dirty. The dead should be treated with more respect. Their family should take care of that stone." She was visibly upset with the condition of the headstone. I got up and embraced her. I said "Look at how the rain has traced tears down the side toward the flowers that are blooming now. Look at that lady bug clearing off the aphids that had infested the corner. Do you see that?" She squinted now as the sun was beaming through the trees into her eyes and upon the grounds. She said "It's ugly how it's been neglected". I said to her "It's beautiful how nature has cared for her. The dead aren't meant to stay young, just our memories of them. How about we go clean off Eddie Michael's stone?" She didn't see the beauty in the way things were and that wasn't her fault. She said "Eddie would have been your older brother." I said "He still is, and I look forward to meeting him." We walked up the path and met our other family members by our family's gravesite. We paid our respects and went to have lunch. Several lady bugs followed us back to our car and one landed on my sister's shoulder. She brushed it off stating she didn't want it to get in her hair. I told her if the ladybug wanted to ride with us for a time who are we to say 'no'? She said "Then you can hold it." and proceeded to get into the back seat. I saw the lady bug fly away towards the woods and thanked him for spending time with us today. And then I looked forward to lunch.

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