Friday, October 20, 2017

Dead Reckoning

From Dave Brigham:

Ah, the dead! They let us walk over their heads and stumble on their crumbling architecture. They tolerate us rubbing their headstones and pondering their out-of-fashion names. They know that we only come out during the day; the night belongs to them.

To get myself ready for Halloween, I recently bothered the good folks at the Old & New North Cemetery in Sudbury, Mass. Here's what I found.

The first fellow I ran into was Abel Hunt.

I love the Biblical names you find in old New England boneyards. Abel, of course, was the good son of Adam and Eve. Slain by his brother, Cain, Abel nonetheless has won out in the end, as his name (which means "breath" in Hebrew) was the 137th most popular on some random baby name list I found online, as opposed to Cain (meaning: "possessed"), which ranked 750th. Take that, evil brother!

Abel's relative, Asahel, got a much cooler tombstone, but, man, that name had to be tough to live with. Yes, it's pronounced just the way you think it is. Don't stifle your chuckle. Just let it out. Anyway, Asahel is another name from Biblical times. And, alas, like Abel, Asahel was slain. His death dealer was Abner. No, not this guy. This guy.

The name Mehitable is brought to you by the Old Testament. A girl's name, it means "God rejoices," according to the Bible of online information, Wikipedia.

Haynes Road intersects with the road that the Old & New North Cemetery sits on. You'd think, therefore, that the family might have some pull and get the lichen cleared from the family tombstone. Actually, there are those who argue that lichen doesn't harm the stone, but rather gives older cemeteries a nice patina. I agree.

How cool is it that a family of pelagic seabirds is buried in this graveyard! Oh wait, what? Not puffins? Oh, Puffer. Anyway, they've got a nice spot.

Aren't Rebecca and Mary just the best? You can tell that Rebecca takes care of Mary. "Just lean on me," she sings. And Mary really appreciates that.

Adelaide Whelpley was the name that John Lennon and Paul McCartney planned on using for their song about "all the lonely people." But then through various lyrical twists and turns, the name changed a few times, before becoming a little something called "Eleanor Rigby."

Louisa means "renowned warrior," according to the Internet. I'm guessing not only is she safe in Jesus' fold, but that she provides more than a little protection for her fellow foldees.

Hoo boy. No goofy comments here. Can you imagine anything sadder than this tombstone?

These aren't the parents of the infant in the photo above. This headstone is powerful. Despite being cracked, this relationship is eternal.

The cemetery dates to 1843, but for the most part it holds up well. There are some signs of aging, however.

The most impressive memorial in the graveyard belongs to the Maynard family. I assume these folks are related to those for whom the neighboring town of Maynard is named for.

Below is a detail from the Maynard statue.

There are numerous graves of war veterans, as you'd expect. Still, I found the markers for these guys very cool.

(Spanish War veteran.)

(Grand Army of the Republic veteran, meaning he served in the Union Army, Navy or Marines during the Civil War.)

(Veteran of the War of 1812.)

Seeing these three veterans' graves made me realize just how little I know about the military history of this country. Ain't that odd....

(Speaking of odd, here's a guy who was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.)

And here's a video of an R.E.M. song:

So there are just some of the folks from your friendly neighborhood graveyard. Sit down and have a chat with them this Halloween.

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