Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in the Cemetery I

As this small country cemetery is at the end of my street, I drive by it daily and have visited it many times. It is a bit unusual in that the newer stones face one way and the older stones face another.

It is written in many books on cemeteries that New England cemeteries face all in the direction of the inscriptions facing West so that on the day of Judgment (as many Christians believe), when the angel Gabriel blows his horn for the second coming of Christ, those buried will rise up to face the East. [Source: Carmack page 158]

Personally, I think it was a matter of space in later years that caused burials in different positions but this cemetery is an unusual case in my town.

Orange St. Cemetery has two gate openings, this one shown here from Walnut St. and one on Orange St. As you can see, this one is missing a gate.

One Christmas season, my husband and I were driving by this cemetery and got a big surprise! An elderly lady had driven her car through the opening here and right up to the graves. Talk about getting close to your loved ones at Christmastime!

She was busily attaching a Christmas wreath to one of the larger stones to the left out of range of this photo. Naturally, I was wondering if she could navigate her car back out through the granite posts. When we returned home, driving by again, she was gone so evidently she was quite used to doing this yearly! I have been looking for a car that is scraped on both sides...

I have been waiting for her to come this year so that I could take a picture of the grave with the wreath on it. She did not come back, at least not yet.

The wreath used to get brown and ugly as the winter wore on. She didn't come back to take it down. I often wish I had stopped to find out if she lived far away and could I help her take it down after Christmas. It made the winter cemetery scene look sad and lonely.

As I live in a town with a prison, the town has made an arrangement with the state to have our cemeteries cleaned several times a year by prison work crews. They can be seen in orange jumpsuits busily raking and taking away debris.

Sometime ago, a Boy Scout made the wooden signs of all of the small cemeteries here with the date and the name the cemetery is called in this era. If you look closely, you will see it says "Pratt Town Cemetery 1828" which is the date for this newer section.

This cemetery has been recorded and transcribed and that information can be found here.

1 comment:

Wendy Hawksley said...

I love this cemetery.

But my real favorite back home is the one on Conant Street. It is just about 2 houses down from where my in-laws live, and whenever I want to get away from noise or chaos during a visit, I go sit at the Conant Street cemetery and appreciate how quiet it is!