Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The "ghosts" of Stoneking

They're telling Stoneking Cemetery "ghost" stories again over at a Facebook site I visit sometimes. I know it's all in good fun. I'm sure the folks who on multiple occasions have toppled Stoneking tombstones, fired a few rounds at granite and marble, maybe shot up the new cemetery sign (left), and otherwise driven Stoneking descendants and Pleasant Township trustees to distraction were just having a good time, too.

I'm over-reacting, probably.

On the other hand, while mouthing "damnfool redneck Lucas County yahoos," I got to wondering how these guys would feel if these were the graves of their parents, grandparents and other family and friends.

There's nothing "creepy" about Stoneking --- it's a lovely place on a high hill above Cedar Creek out in Pleasant Township. I've sometimes wished there were a bench there, so I could sit and look and listen for a while. Of course if there were a bench, it would have been vandalized or stolen, or both, by now.

Remoteness has been Stoneking's blessing and curse. Probably since the advent of automobiles it's been a favored site for partying, drinking, sex among the tombstones and other varieties of carousing. There's probably less of that going on these days --- youngsters don't stray far from their wireless connections any more. Besides, it's likely the major damage to the fabric of the place has been done by older "kids" anyhow.

Cemeteries in some senses are like books --- and can be read chapter and verse. Each tombstone has a series of stories behind it and many of them are accessible with a little effort.

In some cases, the stones speak for themselves --- announcing aspiration, self-perceived prominence, affluence, poverty, guilt, religious convictions, love, interconnectedness, isolation, duty, sacrifice, even exile.

We probably need to focus more on cemetery literacy, too. 

The inscription at the bottom of this tombstone, shared by Joseph and Lucinda Stoneking, seems to be one of the sources of excitement about Stoneking --- the less insightful, not realizing that it's merely a version of one of the oldest epitaphs around, look upon it as a curse.

In fact, it's a reminder of mortality addressed by voices from the grave to all who pass by --- including those who shot up the new cemetery sign. That's about as ghostly as the old place gets.

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