Yopp’s Meeting House is the oldest church in my town. It is also the site of the only segregated cemetery in our little community. It should come as no surprise that the “white” section covers about three-quarters of the cemetery. It encompasses the front of the property,wraps around to the right and extends to the back. The “black” section is located in the left rear corner. It’s covered with shade trees and it’s the only place in the cemetery where you can hear the creek.
As I walked through the cemetery, I stopped periodically to read the headstones. I found Charlotte in the segregated section. She was about born in 1895 and died in 1905. My first thought was to wonder what had happened to her. Had she been sick? Was she the victim of a tragic accident? My thoughts moved from how she died to how she lived… I wondered about the little girl she must have been. How did she fill her days? Did she have a favorite doll? Was she scared of the dark? In my mind’s eye, I could see her, wearing a light blue dress, chasing a butterfly across a field, her laughter ringing in the air.
In the “white” section, I found E.A.R.’s headstone. Surrounded by markers much more eloquent, this stone squeezed at my heart. Who was E? Male or female? What was he/she like? I wondered at the family’s circumstances, marking their loved one’s grave with such a humble stone. I imagined an old man, bent from long days toiling in the sun, lovingly preparing a marker for his spouse.
Cemeteries aren’t usually on my list of places to visit. In fact, the only reason I stopped by today was to get pictures of tombstones. My family is working on our Halloween decorations and part of our front yard will be a cemetery, complete with the Grim Reaper and an open coffin. (I know, you’re breathing a sigh of relief that we aren’t neighbors!) Anyway – there I was, intent on getting pictures of various stones when my muse did her thing… Grave markers became people and those people had stories to tell!
So, where were you when inspiration struck?