Graveyard Visits

For as long as I can remember, my mom would go around to all of the family graves for each major holiday and put flowers.  Of my mother's 3 daughters, I was the only one who enjoyed doing this with her.  I can actually distinctly remember the last time she ever made my two older sisters go but I will get to that a bit later.  I have very fond memories of visiting each grave and paying our respects and after I moved 800 miles away from where I grew up I really missed doing so with my mom.  This past Christmas the kids and I spent the holiday up with my mom.  I was so excited to visit the graves for Christmas and made my mom promise not to do it until I could be there.  It made me feel good to be there for this tradition.

This is for my grandmother and grandfather:

This is for my much beloved great-aunt:

This is for my aunt (my cousin had also been there):

This is for my grandmother's best friend who was always part of our family in love and also was my mother's godmother - we called her Ollie (like ole-lee) as that is what my mom called her when she was first learning to speak and it stuck for the rest of her life:

So a couple of things about Ollie's plot.  Her plot sits on a rather steep hill and one visit to her other family members while Ollie was alive and I was maybe 10 or so had me convinced that they were out and roaming.  We had lots and lots of rain and with the rain came some erosion.  Many of the in-use gravesites on that hill had caved in from the erosion.  I had already bounded up the hill while my mom was helping Ollie up and when I saw the caved in sites I just knew they had gotten out.  Funny thing was that I wasn't scared about it - just very concerned about how they were going to know where to come get back in and how we were going to find them to help them.  It took my mom awhile to convince me that they hadn't actually gotten out because to me, at the time, them digging out was the only plausible explanation! 

Also near to Ollie's plot was a grave that once had a big beautiful statue on top of a pedestal.  Some jerks had made their way through the graveyard one night and vandalized many of the stones.  The statue on the nearby plot had been knocked off its pedestal and broken.  I was young when this happened but I can still remember seeing the pieces laying on the ground and it made me feel so badly for that family.  I am not sure if there were any surviving family left or if they still lived nearby enough to visit but the statue never got replaced.  Well my heart couldn't take it so every time we visited I would pop off a flower out of the many we were placing on Ollie's plot and stick it in the hole left behind by the absent statue.  My mom took up this tradition for me once I had moved and no longer went to the graves.  Of course this Christmas I got to do it myself and we brought along a flower just for this purpose.  :-)

At one of the graveyards we visit there is a set of graves that we were always fascinated by.  They were big columns and big elaborate stones and some even had stone picnic tables on the plots.  On each of the stones were porcelain portraits of the people buried there.  After visiting our family plots we would always run over to look at the portraits.  Well while looking at the portraits one year my oldest sister nearly had a heart attack and never had to go to the graveyards again.  It was around the time of the movie Carrie where she reaches from her grave and pulls in the people who picked on her and also around the time where the style was Jordache jeans with the big giant cuffs rolled up.  It was also a winter visit so there were lots of dead twigs and branches on the ground.  So, while looking at the portraits and moving from one to the next, a rather large twig got caught in my sister's jean cuffs and she thought for sure that she was being grabbed and pulled into the grave and just about jumped out of her skin.  She screamed and ran and that was the last time she ever set foot in a graveyard!  What is so funny to me is that my oldest sister is not scared of much, is very logical and a realistic thinker and isn't prone at all to being scared of boogeymen.  She could walk through any haunted house alone and never jump or get scared but this grave grabbing about did her in!  I had Reagan stand near some of those graves just so I could show my sister!  LOL (Reagan was cold and tired here so she gave me a weird look when I told her to smile)

Here are some close-ups of the portraits:

I am still fascinated by those graves!


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