I like to visit cemeteries when I travel

I like to visit cemeteries when I travel

 

By Chuck Woodbury
ROADSIDE JOURNAL
I like to visit cemeteries when I travel. You can usually glean sometime about the people buried there by examining their headstones. You can learn about their towns and sometimes about hardships of living there, for example when you see many children’s graves or those of adults who died young. In many Old West ghost towns, it seems every other grave is a child’s.

Sometimes you come across a headstone that makes you laugh — like this one of Douglas Kiss. Whether he wrote the epitaph himself or someone else did after he was gone, the message is a good one. I think I would have liked him.

When I visit a cemetery I almost always pause at a few graves to ponder the person below me. Who was he or she? Most often you can’t determine much, but I enjoy just stopping to say “hi.” I hope that long after I am gone someone will visit me, too.

I believe the best headstone slogan of all time is this one:
Remember me as you pass by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
Prepare for death and follow me.

##RSJ 1-18-10; ##RVT800

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10 thoughts on “I like to visit cemeteries when I travel

  1. Judith Hanks

    I thought I was the only one who visited cemeteries! One of my most interesting visits was to an old one on a hill overlooking Silverton, Colorado. If I remember correctly, there’s also a book with information on those buried there. Lots of history.

  2. CJG

    Go to the one in Virginia City, Nevada and it makes you realize what life was like there. The average age in that boot hill was about twenty mostly from being shot. Sort like Chicago is now but on a smaller scale.

  3. Lisa

    Google the “Parking Meter” headstone in Oklahoma. So interesting!

  4. Steve

    I find this interesting also. Especially, the cemeteries in the Southeast. The dates are fun to check to see how long ago the people lived and to think about the times they lived in. I like to compare the issues of today and from their time. They sound like a lot smaller issues years ago, but to them, they were just a big as what we face, maybe larger as their issues meant life or death in many instances.

  5. Onwego

    If you’re ever on the Oh-My-God Road from Idaho Springs, to Central City, Colorado, stop at the frontier-era cemetery along the way. Read the headstones. Then contemplate how close we came to losing that spirit. Forever.

  6. Ronald

    Hey Chuck,there is a company in the U.S.A,thats installs a video screen on stone,with a short video,perhaps someone has heard of this,I cannot remember when,was several years ago,not sure if it panned out,or what the costs would be,or the interest…..

  7. Charlotte

    When I first was married and moved to Massachusetts, our first apartment was across from a big cemetery. My husband worked swing shift so after he left I would walk over and read the headstones. Since then, cemeteries have become one of my favorite things to do.

  8. John Koenig

    Let us know where you’ll be “planted” and we’ll come and visit!

  9. Tommy Molnar

    We live in Nevada. We boondock in the ‘outback’ extensively. Stopping at cemeteries is always a must. Sometimes we run across a lone grave in the middle of nowhere, all by itself, and we try figure out why. It’s all history, and very interesting. Times were harsh in those ‘olden days’, and the people hardy.

  10. Carolyn

    It is interesting to read headstones, and imagine what life was like at that time. I also like your headstone slogan. Here’s something I keep by pictures of my past family members.
    In those we love,
    we find a strength
    which gives an added meaning to our lives,
    long after they have gone.
    I don’t know who the author was, but it always brings out a good emotion for me.

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