Growing Up Next to the Cemetery

In the early ’60s, my parents and I moved from our apartment to our new house . It was one of the first houses built on the street, which was right next to the town cemetery. Of course, when I told people where we moved to, I heard a lot of jokes about living in “Spookytown,” how quiet the neighbors were, and how people were just dying to get in, har, har, har.

But that cemetery was and is beautiful, peaceful (of course), and was a wonderful place to sit and read on a sunny afternoon. There were (and still are) flowering shrubs and bushes throughout, and some of the dates on the old slate stones go back to the 1800s. There is even the grave of a man who was a member of the Boston Tea Party.

As a teenager, I loved how you could smell the juniper and the flowers, and listen to all the birdsong. I never felt scared in the cemetery, and often walked up and down the “aisles” reading names and inscriptions, and seeing the little offerings people left on or near the gravestones.

Cemeteries have an unfortunate reputation; quite undeserved. It is a place of peace and beauty where we can go and remember the people we know who have gone on. It has become my habit these days to leave little stones or beach glass or other tokens on top of the pink granite “Bullock” headstone to mark my visits. I like to think that my people smile, wherever they are, and remember our lives together as I do.

My grandparents and now my mother rest there, and there is a place next to Mom for Dad. Me, I have no idea where my own bones will finally rest, but I hope that it will be in such a lovely and serene place.

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