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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lives of the Past

 It was a beautiful day outside today. Much too beautiful to spend inside watching TV or, heaven forbid, cleaning! Bazinga had been left alone for much of the day most days the last week, due to my new job, so leaving him behind was not an option.

We climbed into the car, with no specific goal in mind. I started the car, pulled out of the drive, and just drove. I turned the car east on federal highway 136. When it curved to go into Danville I kept going straight onto Illinois 119, which changed into another highway once we crossed into Indiana. We ended up on  George Rogers Clark memorial highway. Finally, we ended up in Attica, Indiana. There were interesting old buildings in the downtown area, which I may post on a future blog. Today though I have other thoughts on my mind.

 Not ready to just turn around and go home I turned down a road and followed signs that would lead to a church. I was hoping to find an old church with a cemetery with very old grave stones. I was disappointed to find a church probably built in the 70's. I turned around and headed back toward Attica.
 Still not ready to go home, I turned down another road or two of the "less traveled" type. There I found what I had been looking for. An old country cemetery. It was in the middle of no where. It had stories to tell.

One story was about Hazel B. York. She was buried next to her beloved husband.  Hazel must have loved her husband dearly and faithfully. She was widowed at the age of 28, but passed away at the age of 94. Sixty-six years passed between the loss of her husband Arthur, and her own death.
 Yet there she was, faithfully buried next to her husband, still with his name. Presumably, she never remarried. Perhaps she had found the love of her life and could never find anyone that could compare. I thought to myself that, perhaps, they had had a child or two before Mr. York passed. Maybe the business of raising children kept Mrs. York happy and fulfilled to the point that she never felt the need to replace Mr. York.  I hoped that she had lived a full life despite being widowed so young. Sixty-six years would be a long time to mourn a husband lost, and a very lonely life.

There were sad stories of children that had passed much too young. It reminded me of how lucky I have been. I have been very blessed with healthy children that I happily watched grow into adults. I never had to go through the pain and I have to guess pure agony of losing a baby. Losing children was such a common thing at one time in our history.

 There was more than one large headstone flanked by two, three or even more small headstones of children that would never grow up. Still lovingly tended, even after nearly a century. It was touching to know that someone still remembers such tiny lives, and not let them be left behind.

This particular little cemetery was not next to a church, it was not close to a community that I could see. It was however, well tended and each grave carefully preserved.

Cemeteries hold the history of our country. Not the big history found in books and websites. The little history of the lives of the people that built our nation. The people who fought in the wars, the people who raised the children that grew into the history makers in the books. The people that sacrificed and lived and laughed and cried. Their stories are there.


  1. Graveyards have got so many stories to tell. One can not but start wondering about the lives behind the names... Thank you for sharing this touching post with us.