Trespassed in a cemetery today

This evening, trying to distract myself from the ever-worsening feelings of gloom that have been clouding my thoughts for weeks now, I climbed over a cemetery fence after hours and had a walk. It’s a Catholic cemetery a few blocks from Michael’s apartment. It was still light out. I went around and looked at the graves. I like finding interesting names and imagining the people’s lives. I found a few items of interest: a German couple named Zylpha and Hildebert (feel sorry for both of them), and another stone where the birth year was listed as 1891 and the death year was blank. Apparently it’s been set up in advance for the oldest person in the world. Either that or they just forgot to carve in the death year, but I prefer the first possibility.

I was a habitué of the local cemetery as a child, from age eight or so up into my teens. This probably goes a long way towards explaining why the kids at school thought I was creepy and I had no friends. I cleaned the weeds off the neglected graves, set back into place the really old stones that had fallen over, etc. My fascination with cemeteries may go back to my brother’s death in a car accident when I was two and a half, 23 years ago last month. One of my earliest memories of visiting his grave shortly after his death — the overturned soil was still fresh — and Dad trying to explain to me what had happened to him. He was in a car accident and they kept him on life support for a few days, but he was killed more or less instantly. Word of advice: don’t try to explain the concept of brain death to a two-year-old. Even many adults don’t get it, never mind a toddler who isn’t quite sure even what regular death is.

I might have stayed at the cemetery a long time, but mosquitoes chased me out after 45 minutes or so. Then I went to McDonald’s and ordered a large meal. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of it, so I took it home and gave it to some friend’s of Michael’s who were over. Thanks to my depression they got a hamburger, a cinnamon melt and fries.

22 thoughts on “Trespassed in a cemetery today

  1. Kat June 6, 2011 / 9:03 am

    Hey, I love doing that! I really enjoy the quiet and reverence and imagining how people lived (and died). I used to ghost graveyards myself. I don’t think it is acutally trespassing. I wish I could get back to it, I used to take rubbings and stuff, and we used to clean up the decades old graves. I love the old names too. I didn’t name my son anything too weird, but I’m sad some of the more unusual names from back in the day have died out more or less. BTW, my grandma’s name is Hildegard. So it’s not too bad :). They call her Hilde. Oh, and as for the death thing, I have a bunch of old cats, so I just tell my son they ran out of batteries, etc. Not fancy, but something he kinda gets. I wouldn’t recommend trying to explain death. I don’t even get it sometimes.

  2. Princess Shantae June 6, 2011 / 9:34 am

    Most of the old names that have died out died out because they deserved to. lol I had a patient once who was called Peaches. That wasn’t a nickname either it was her real name. We called her Miss Peaches, but I always felt a little silly everytime I said her name. I mean, it’s a cat’s name!
    Maybe the 1891 gravestone doesn’t have a death date on it b/c the person it was meant for had a change of heart and didn’t want to be buried there after all.

    • Kat June 6, 2011 / 10:21 am

      Gad, look at Bob Geldof’s kids. Or maybe it’s his ex with Michael Hutchence. Those are Hollywood names never to forget.

  3. Princess Shantae June 6, 2011 / 10:40 am

    Peaches Honeyblossom, Fifi Trixibelle, Little Pixie, and Michael Hutchence’s daughter is Heavenly Hiraani Tigerlilly. And Peaches has a lot more middle names. They sound like two kinds of bubble bath and two nasty little poodles with painted toenails. lol
    There’s a TV chef called Jamie Oliver and he has three little girls called Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo and Petal Rainbow something. I mean, realy. Its like he let a little girl name his kids after her Pretty Ponies or something.

    • Kat June 6, 2011 / 11:06 am

      Bwahahahahaha! You’re not kidding! I mean, good thing some of these kids are rich or how else would you deal with it? Antonio Sabato just named his newest kid with newest wife Antonio unpronouncible Jr. It is supposed to be a Hawaiian name for “gift from heaven” or some such, but I say, leave it to Hawaii. At least they won’t spell it wrong at every turn. Some people have no idea how they mess up kids from the womb…

  4. Terrie June 6, 2011 / 11:20 am

    Well, some names just sound odd because they’re foreign names. Others…. are always going to sound bad. At least there’s wasn’t any kr8tv spelling. Worst name I ever saw was “Heaven Unique Krystyl [last name].” Talk about a name that says “I was born to a teenage mother.”

    Cemeteries are neat. I love the older ones.

  5. Princess Shantae June 6, 2011 / 11:21 am

    My own name isn’t all that wierd but I do have to keep spelling it for people and it gets mangled fairly often. This is why my own kids have easy names. Jillian will only have to remind people to spell it with a J, and Ben and Courtney shouldn’t have any trouble at all.

  6. Princess Shantae June 6, 2011 / 11:45 am

    Worst name I ever saw was a little girl named Miracle Heaven. The sad thing was she was the most neglected, untrained child you ever saw. Its like her parents thought all they had to do was give her a name like that, they didn’t have to do anything else with her or raise her or teach her anything. It was like Wow, how can you say we don’t care about her when we named her Miracle Heaven?
    Oh, I once saw a missing poster for a runaway named Dusty Pitts. I’d run off too if somebody named me that. Did she have a brother called Harry and a sister called Sweaty?

  7. Kat June 6, 2011 / 1:48 pm

    Well, your Courtney better watch out because I’ve seen it spelled Kortnie, Courtny, Courtnei, etc. I think Ben has it best! There is almost no way to mess that up. And yeah, I had a classmate in HS whose name was Destinee. She had her first kid by 15 and is now a stripper. I swear I am not making that up.

  8. Lisa June 6, 2011 / 1:55 pm

    I have loved walking though cemeteries ever since I was a kid. Very peaceful and interesting. I even bought a book my county put out that list what each (well most) person died of who is buried in the local cemeteries.

  9. Kat June 6, 2011 / 2:23 pm

    I just read a (fictional) book where one of the main characters was named Izannah. I liked that…course it was the old west in 1890 or something, but it would be unusual today.

  10. Sarcastic Bastard June 6, 2011 / 2:26 pm

    I am 45 years old and still walk in the cemetery and sit overturned flowers on the graves, upright, etc. I also struggle with depression and find the peace in the local cemetery, soothing.

    I read your blog often. You do good work. Thank you. I wish you well.

    SB

  11. marycarney June 6, 2011 / 3:57 pm

    I love old cemeteries. My husband is a pastor, and I was wandering around a cemetery after a service he had conducted. I found a grave with his EXACT name on it! After all the mourners left, I made him sit on it and took his picture 🙂

    Our little town has a cluster of older ladies named Icey! Gotta love it.

  12. Nicole June 6, 2011 / 4:26 pm

    I too love to trip around old cemetaries! I used to live out on West Ferguson Rd (there in the Fort) back in the 80’s, and back then it was really out in BFE. Anyway, there was a really really old small neglected cemetary I think it was actually on Coverdale Rd. I used to ride my bike up there by myself all the time at 10 , 11 years old. I have always loved the feel of the older cemetaries and imagining the people buried right there.

  13. Princess Shantae June 6, 2011 / 4:28 pm

    Your Destinee doesn’t even need a stripper name to work under. Or maybe she could use something like Linda or Karen as her stage name. lol
    We all had to read Johnny Tremaine in middle school, and one of the girls in the silversmith family he lived with was named Isannah.
    My husband is a fourth grade teacher and he has seen all the kreative names you can think of. He says he can’t even count how many Kaitlyns/Catelyns/Caitlyns/Catlynnss he’s had. Which is why Courtney is Courtney, the default spelling. I once did see Quortney.

  14. Suzie June 6, 2011 / 9:16 pm

    Often times the grave markers that are missing death dates belong to the last of the line of that family. Or else the family didn’t have the money (or didn’t care enough to bother) to add the death date to the marker.

    I spent a LOT of time in cemeteries as a child. My family has always been tight-nit, which always included the deceased. My main hobby these days is graving.

    On a side note, I’m afraid that my morbid hobby might be rubbing off on my children. Today my 6-year-old daughter drew a picture for me. I was cleaning at the time, so I asked her to put it on my desk. She said “Ok, I’ll put it by your computer. And after you die, I’ll put it on your grave!” Oh…. kay?

  15. Kathryn June 6, 2011 / 9:28 pm

    I love walking around in old cemeteries. It’s peaceful, in a weird way.

  16. KER June 6, 2011 / 10:26 pm

    i find cemeteries peaceful and interesting…don’t go as much anymore…funny though about the post awhile back “case for creative names” or something…then this one getting replies about creative names…my kids are jon and michael…nice generic names right…except they are female…lol…but they are named after friends…and myke is named after a female michael…also my grand-daughter’s name is the perfect stripper name

  17. Princess Shantae June 7, 2011 / 9:44 am

    I had a nursing instructor named Mike. Her real name was Michelle. She looked pretty masculine except she had this wittle teeny baby voice. It just sounded so strange coming out of that big square face.
    The lady that played the mother on the Waltons was Michael Learned, I think.
    What’s your grandaughter’s stripper name?

  18. LB June 7, 2011 / 12:25 pm

    I grew up by some abandoned pioneer and family cemeteries, so it’s always been a hobby of mine. Some of the old gravestones that are on private property, are taken off by farmers or utilized for other things; a few do respect the fact that people were buried there. I actually like the old time names; far preferable to all the Staceys and Dakotas running around.

    Besides the possibilities mentioned above, the gravestone without a date might be from a spouse who remarried and obviously was buried elsewhere. People were remarried back then just as much as they remarry now.

  19. T.T. June 12, 2011 / 3:03 pm

    I’d be too afraid to go to a cemetery, even with someone. What always bothered me is people (namely kids) who treat a cemetery as a playground. Like in the movie “Now & Then”, granted those girls were kids, but having a seance to begin with is creepy, but in there I just find it kind of disrespectful.

    I’m very sorry about your older brother, Meghan. Losing someone you love is never easy. May he rest in peace.

    • Meaghan June 12, 2011 / 6:51 pm

      It’s okay. I barely remember him at all, I was so young.

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