Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Heaven and Hail

Today I spent an interesting couple of hours in a small town cemetery.
Last year, a fellow Blogger Brooke introduced me to a group called Find A Grave . It is an organization that has volunteers take photographs of graves from request. I have been wanting to do a shoot for awhile, but every time I attempted one, something either got in the way or someone beat me too it.
This morning, I got an email request for a small town just south of where I live. I know the area, and knew it would be a small cemetery. Typically you can find out the area of a grave, through the cemetery website or groundskeeper. This cemetery is old, and has no office/groundskeeper on the grounds. It also did not have the information on line. Just a confirmation that the grave I was searching for was indeed there.

It was a beautiful but windy day. Perfect for photography.

Have you ever really paid attention to the detail in the Headstones, Memorials, or Markers? Particularly in the older ones. They are amazing. Some are outlandish and some are simple. Some have a lot to say while others are brief and to the point. Some are downright creepy.
This cemetery only had one Mausoleum. Must have been a very prominent person. There were side windows that were Stained glass, with light pouring inside the mausoleum. I felt it would be disrespectful to take a photo at the door where I could see the colorful light pouring in.

Benches were popular here as well.

It was fascinating to see the detail and consideration to age..years, months, and days. To an exact.
Here lies siblings. Just to the side of their parents Headstone. Each child died within two years of life. Life was hard back in the 1800. There certainly wasn't the medical knowledge or immediate care that we have today.
Some Tombstones are so old yet grand. The smaller one is of a child, and there is a sleeping lamb craved on top. The old Oak tree is magnificent in the background.
I noticed a lot of older Headstones with the hand pointing up.
Then I saw this one...
Which freaked me out. Actually scared me.  Did I mention I was all alone walking this Cemetery for two hours?  Did I mention how the ground is very uneven and I found myself tripping now and then? Or when I stopped to take a picture, my foot would start sinking into the ground?  To make up to these souls I did a lot of praying for them and their families (especially for the many young people buried here). I also picked up a fallen cherub or two.
I saw a few of these old broken tombstones. 

In all I saw hundreds and hundreds, maybe a thousand tombstones, headstones, memorials, benches, markers... whatever you are comfortable calling them.  The problem... with all those I read (and I read every name searching for my assignment), I could not find her grave. This teenager that died so young, that I went on a search to photograph her grave for a loved one, and I could not find anyone by her name.

So I went home without the picture I sought after.

Now about the Hail part of my post.
Tonight the weather got really weird. The sunset was so bright. Scary bright. Then the warm air got really cold! The weather alerts were on the tube and just like they predicted, this came down loud and hard.
It hurts when Hail hits you. But I had to get a picture. 


dopenbri said...

When me and my daughter were working on our family tree, we had people take pictures for us from South Dakota. I think it's great that there are people who can do this. When you can't always get out of state to look for ones in your family tree, I always thought it would be nice to do this. It’s nice that you try to help others out.
Your old friend, Lee

Scott said...

I seem to be the family historian/genealogist so I've walked several cemeteries. I love visiting them. It is my chance to "meet" these relatives who may have died a generation before I was even born. The hunt is exciting, but it always seems the relative whose grave I most want to find is the one with the missing stone, or acid rain and lichens have rendered the stone unreadable. My one problem with cremation is that I lose a grave to find and visit. A few times I have had to rely on the kindness of others like you who go out and find and photograph graves. So thanks for being one of those people who give their time to help other researchers or family members.

Linda said...

Wow, hail! We didn't have any of that but we did have heavy rain in the evening.

I love, love, LOVE cemeteries!!! So much, as you know, I walk through one during my lunchtime walks (for the past 3 years). I'm fascinated by all of the same things you mention and I think it's great that you're involved in this helpful project.

Love, Linda

ellen abbott said...

I love old cemeteries. they have so much more character than the sterile ones of today without monuments, just plaques on the ground. who would want to wander around in a modern cemetery?

Reality Jayne said...

We have a couple of scary like cemeteries around here. One is way out in the country, and it is very pretty in the fall, but still kinda creepy

Mark Pressley said...

I like the mixed title and message very original!

I have a grave and a head stone it’s a long story but when we visit I always feel obligated to lay down under it and ask Nanc how I look, she sees no humor in this. I think ya need to be comfy.

I have a friend that has a grave yard in his side yard I’m out on that!

As to hail we had freaking snow this morning, I’m going to the beach!

Bee Lady said...

Hey janis,

When my husband and I vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, we always tour the cemeteries. They are absolutely beautiful there. OOOOOOOLD trees and unmanicured. The ghosts love walking around in them!

I heard about the hail. My Sissy lives in Hamilton Co and they had golf ball sized hail.

Cindy Bee

janis said...

Thanks all for the input. Im glad you didn't think I'm a creepy grave stalker.
Mark~ You do crack me up. And I see why Nancy is driven crazy with you. Where is your grave?
Me? That is a delicate subject w/ Hubby and I. While we are both Donors, we have a difference of opinions about what to do with our "remains". I refuse to have a $20,000.00 funeral & burial. In fact the thought of being buried is one I can not fathom. I want to be cremated, in a $200 cardboard box not a $2000 pine box, or $10,000 casket. No Funeral Homes for me with there high prices! I dealt with that before and think they are a rip off. A little Life celebration is fine, but rent a hall not a funeral home. Also, I do not want my ashes to be in a mausoleum, or in the ground... which leaves us a problem since Sergio does. I think I can agree to the Crematation gardens at many cemeteries. And a tiny mausoleum, would be agreeable in there... but...ewe. Can't I just be tossed in the ocean like Grandma & Grandpa Texas?

Honey at 2805 said...

Like you, I find old cemetaries so interesting and enjoyed seeing your pictures.

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