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I See Dead People!

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Photo & Post by Aunty Katydid

This little cherub guards forever the soul of a boy in Linwood Cemetery.  I first er…met…him on a cool October morning when Sgt. Grumpy and I decided to spend some quality time together walking there to explore and take some pictures.

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My initial photographical intent was to find interesting textures and architecture.  I like the way that light and shadows play on shapes and figures.  I like getting down on the ground or climbing up on various things to get a unique point of view.

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However, as my love and I walked through the grounds, I was struck by the sense of history one can find in a place like this.  Linwood Cemetery was established in 1828 at the same time as the city itself.  Everyone who was anyone in the history of Columbus has been buried here.  When the boys of our fair town by the river were called upon to serve the beloved Confederacy, those that gave their lives were buried with their brothers in arms in two special plots set aside especially to honor them.

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I could post all the pictures of the final resting places of all of our local historical celebrities, but of more interest to me are the stories of the folks who weren’t of much note — at least not by anyone outside of their loved ones.  Many of the um…residents…of Linwood have been forgotten over time and much of the history chiseled into their headstones has been washed away by years of rain and sun and wind.  I wonder about such families, laying side by side for eternity.  Did they get along well in life?  Is there some poor woman enduring close proximity to over-bearing in laws until the end of days?

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I wonder about the fate of little Willie Isam who met his end in the local Orphan’s Home at the tender age of four.  How did he come to be there?  Why did he die?  Did he ever feel truly loved?  How old was he the last time some caring adult scooped his little body into their arms and nuzzled and kissed on his neck until he was nothing but a ball of wiggling giggles?

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By far my favorite Linwood residents (I call them residents on account of they are so alive still in my imagination that they seem real to me — to call them corpses would just seem crass) are the Ferguson brothers.  They are buried side by side with their brothers, sisters, and parents in the family plot.  Who were they?  What were they like?  Were they handsome?  Did they survive the war?  These boys in particular have lead me on a search through the internet, libraries, museums, and other warehouses of local history to find out more about them.  It is currently an ongoing adventure.

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My strolls through the cemetery aren’t merely pretty walks that get me out of the house and provide me with some exercise in a beautiful (if slightly bizarre) setting.  I find that connecting to the history of Columbus helps me to feel more a part of my adopted hometown and as an extension, more engaged in life in general.

  • Michele - I adore cemeteries for this very reason. Who were they? What were they like? What did they believe in? Who loved them? Maybe it’s the historian in me or maybe the librarian or maybe the genealogist that needs to answer these questions. Prolly all 3.

    I’ve always said; “I seek dead people”.ReplyCancel

  • Kath - I have the same thoughts when I see old homes. If only walls could tell the story of the lives that have all entered there.

    Our home was once upon a time a hotel/brothel. Not sure I want to hear ALL the stories it would tell!

    Lovely post!ReplyCancel

  • Rosa - I love to walk through cemetary and read the writings on headstones…. There is so much to learn from them.

    That last picture is beautiful!

    Cheers,

    RosaReplyCancel

  • Aunty Katydid - Michele — I wish I’d have thought of ‘I seek dead people’ first. I would have used that for my title instead.

    Kath — I think I DO want to know the brothel stories.

    Rosa — I’m rather fond of that last picture. When I took it I was wondering if trees have memories.ReplyCancel

  • kerry - some gorgeous photos.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - On a funny/gruesome note, when I was about 10 or so my friend and I walked a few gravel roads to a country cemetery… so old most of the white tablets sticking out of the ground were completely smooth. One interesting headstone was an obelisk that had metal plates all around. A rusty hinge was on one of the panels and we figured out how to open it ~ convinced we were going to find “treasure” (robbing graves??? where was my mother??). Instead, we opened it to find a pile of ashes. Yes, you guessed it, I blew really hard, getting our faces blasted by who-knows-who-or-what. We then realized what we had done and were sure we would be haunted forever by the poor soul that was displaced by my foolish decision! I kept reassuring my friend it was probably the ashes of said “resident’s” dog or horse or something.
    When I walk cemeteries, I always think of how many tears were shed over each grave ~ and what joys and regrets were thought of ~ and how many visits each grave got and how long before they stopped coming ~ and had that person had one more day, what would he/she do?? How would he/she spend it? What would that person tell me if he/she saw me living and walking that cemetery?ReplyCancel

  • Laura - If those trees have memories, then I wish we could find some way to listen in.

    I have family buried at Linwood…I love to walk through and just ponder how much like them I am.ReplyCancel

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