WANDERINGS FROM YOUR PRESIDENT
by Gayle Stuart
CEMETERY: (n) A marble orchard not to be taken for granite.
Have you ever thought of a cemetery as an orchard? Think of a tree that puts out roots and bears fruit. Some of it is good and some years not so good.
Many of us, in doing our research, go to cemeteries to find stones of our families. What we find may be wonderful and give us all sorts of information or not much of anything, maybe just a name and a year. Much like an orchard that is not taken care of, stones can become unreadable, weathered away, tipped over and look neglected. Some have sunk down into the ground, because they do not have proper footing under them. When we go to a cemetery to look for markers that we have not seen before, we can be in for some surprises.
Markers can be of different materials – limestone, granite, marble, cement, iron crosses; early graves were marked with a wooden cross, which did not last. These are graves that we may never find. If we know that a grave is in a certain cemetery and in a certain place, we may be able to have someone witch the grave for us.
When we find stones that we are looking for, we have our camera ready to take pictures. On some of the stones that are hard to read we have done rubbings; this can bring out the writing. One way to do this is with a piece of pellon (used in sewing) and a crayon. This does not harm the stone.
Stones need to be cared for so that future generations may have the pleasure of finding them the same way we have done. Just like an orchard, they do need some work sometimes. Some of them may be too far gone to be fixed, but maybe they can have a new beginning, just as an orchard needs at times.
I have one relative’s gravestone that says “Grandma Olson 1828 – 1925”. Now how do you know you have the right one? In this case one of the relatives that lives in the area knew. Of course we had our camera ready, so we do have a picture of her stone with identification.