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Old Cemetery, Watch Your Step

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Shoeless Joe, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    I was doing some work in a Civil War era cemetery on Sunday trying to locate a couple graves. It was pretty much in disrepair, stones overturned, the ones that were there were so weather worn you had to get right up on them in order to read them, etc.

    When I'm any any cemetery, I am always ultra cautious on where I walk. I go to any lengths not to step squarely on a grave, tip-toeing in between. In the old cemetery Sunday, that was virtually impossible because so many of the graves were no longer clearly marked. Some places you could tell because there were depressions in the ground, but others I knew I was walking across the graves but couldn't help it.

    Is it just me, or is anyone else weirded out by walking across graves? I don't like it.
  2. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    I'm the same way. I tiptoe around edges.

    I find really old cemeteries fascinating, though they do creep me out a bit.
  3. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    I just don't go to cemeteries. Don't see the need in reminding my self where I will end up. The whole avoidance, don't want to think about it thing. Since I became an adult I have been in a cemetery once which was when my grandmother died.
  4. Brad Guire

    Brad Guire Member

    I've been to some cemeteries lately, doing some family tree research. It never occurred to me about stepping on people to check out the headstone for a birthdate or snap a picture for the book.

    With some old, weathered headstones, there's no way around getting on the ground to check out the carving to get the information.
  5. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    I guess it's whether or not you are into history. I like going to old cemeteries and looking at the dates, wondering what those people's daily lives must have been like. It's especially meaningful if the person is your ancestor. What I was doing Sunday was seeing to the upkeep of graves of Confederate soldiers, one of whom was my great-great-great grandfather.

    Through research, I have recently found the location of the grave of my 6x-great grandfather who died in 1806. Yeah, when you're looking at it all you see is a stone with a name and a couple of dates on it, and you know good and well there is absolutely nothing left there except some black dirt and maybe any metal that was buried with the person, but to me the connection is pretty cool that in a way your family DNA is separated by a few inches of soil and a few hundred years.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I'm the same way at cemeteries. I feel a little strange stepping on them, but sometimes it can't be helped.

    I also like looking at the dates, and especially wonder when I see a small gravestone with a child in it. How sad that spot must have been 100 years ago.
  7. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    You're right. It's a miracle and total luck that any one of us is here today considering the mortality rate. If you look at some of those stones, the number of children that lived only a matter of days up until two or three is spooky. If it was that bad 150 years ago, think about how bad it must have been 1500 years ago and beyond.

    Then, consider the vastness of someone's family tree once you get back even four or five generations. One misstep anywhere along the way and you aren't here today.

    It's also strange to note the ages when even the adults died. For example, my great-great-great grandparents: grandmother died in mid 30s and by that time she'd already had seven kids, two of which died before they were three; grandfather made it through the Civil War without a scratch only die of natural causes at the ripe old age of 41.
  8. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I'd read somewhere that the average life expectancy in the mid-to-late 1800s bounced around between 45 and 47. That just blows my mind when you think about today. By 40, you were over the hill.

    And if you look up a lot of 19th century ballplayers on baseballreference.com, you see them dying a few years after their careers end. Pretty jarring.
  9. EagleMorph

    EagleMorph Member

    I worked as a landscaper at a cemetery for three years. You get over the feeling of stepping on someone's grave when you have to 1) Run a weedwhacker around the headstones or 2) Run a lawnmower over it to cut the grass.
  10. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    I rarely visit my mom because there are side-by-side stones for her and my dad, who is still alive. Weird seeing a stone for him with his birth year and a blank next to it.
    But I do remember one occasion taking my daughter to the cemetery. My mom died two years before my daughter was born. We walked around awhile and I saw stones for 3-4 people I knew, who I didn't know had died. That was really freaky.
    I saw a stone for a guy I was in school with. When I saw his sister at a reunion a couple of years later, I mentioned this. She said her parents are telling people he died from pneumonia. But she told me he really died from AIDS he got while in prison.
    It is thought provoking to do quick mental calculations on how old people were when they died and some of the old upright stones.
    I talked with a woman who was visiting her parents nearby where my mom's site is. Interesting, she said her parents were from Canada and when they came to the cemetery to pick their site, they found a single maple tree. So they picked their site under the maple tree.
  11. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    I have a friend who lived near Forest Lawn Cemetary in Buffalo, He took me running through it a couple times (it's huge), and it was a fantastic place. Of course, I didn't know anyone there, so that part didn't creep me out, and we stayed on the roads.

    I've been to Arlington, to Hoillywood Cemetary in Richmond, to the national cemetaries at Gettysburg and Little Big Horn, to my hometown cemetary and the Portville, N.Y. cemetary where my grandparents and uncles/aunts are buried ... they're all pretty interesting, fascinating, peaceful places.
  12. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    The road race we sponsor winds right through a very old, historic cemetery. It's a good thing there were no freshly dug plots last year, because I was so out of shape I would've been tempted to jump right in.
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