Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Graveyard communications

This recent floral tribute with note attached caught my eye Friday at Last Chance Cemetery, so I sat down to read it. It is situated near the graves of William Saunders and the two sisters he married. Pardon the thumb (below). There was no other way to hold the card in position.

It's a message, complete with e-mail address, from Larry Castle of Centennial, Colorado, a great-grandnephew of Francellan and Ann (Castle) Wagner, whose graves it is near.

The note is addressed to the living, however --- Castle hopes to contact someone with a link to or information about the family this way. The card is laminated and should last a long time, all things being equal.

It's an interesting genealogical strategy, and I hope it works.


Laser engraving is among the newer innovations in tombstone technology, so it's not unusual these days to find a marker into which a portrait of the deceased has been etched. I like the idea, although it is expensive and requires a large stone to be used as a canvas.

The simpler technology demonstrated here, also at Last Chance, has been around since the opening years of the 20th century --- a photo image is fired onto a ceramic plaque which then is mounted on a tombstone.

You don't see it that often, but when you do it's worth taking a look --- into the eyes of those the tombstone memorializes.


I've been visiting with my cousin, the alternate Frank, about this graveyard dog at Last Chance, mentioned earlier. He's more closely related to Laura Belle (Berg) Exley, who died during the 1940s and whose grave it is near.

We're concluding for the time being that it marks the otherwise unnoted grave of Laura's husband, Fred Exley, who survived his first wife by more than 40 years and died during 1998. Fred, Frank recalls, was a renowned coon hunter, so this perhaps represents in a general sort of way one of his hounds although it was put into place some years before his death.

That's where this investigation will stand until more information is forthcoming.


Driving home from a meeting in Albia just after 8 last night we couldn't help but notice the diminishing length of these late August days. It was dark by the time the five us got back to Chariton. So cemeteries aren't the only place to consider time and its flight.

School started here last Thursday and the tomatoes have started ripening --- all at once (tomato blight is flouishing, too).

The neighbor sprays something onto his vines that seems to keep blight at bay and offered to lend me his sprayer, but I've never been comfortable with that idea --- so I'll enjoy the fruit of the vine while I can and otherwise let nature take its course.

Showers are in the forecast today, but the grass is cut so I don't mind. Then temperatures in the 90s are predicted again for the transition into September. It won't be long, however, before we start complaining about how cold it is.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Perhaps two or three times in my genealogy search have I run across graves of my ancestors that had recent decorations. It always made me wonder who had done it. I think the laminated card is an excellent idea and I should make a few of them up.

I like the picture on the gravestones because for me, the hardest part of my search has always been finding and then identifying pictures of my relatives.

The spray on the tomatoes was probably a copper based spray. But I'm like you and don't really want to resort to that. The best way to avoid blight (that affects production anyway) is to plant your tomato plants far enough apart where rain water can't splash from one infected leaf on one plant to another which is how the blight gets transferred. Also it allows more airflow and the dryer the leaves remain the better which is why they recommend only watering the roots and not spraying the leaves.