One of the things we did a fair amount of on our trip back east was visit cemeteries. When you're visiting Boston and Philadelphia, naturally there's going to be a lot of "Here is where Samuel Adams is buried," or "Here is where Benjamin Franklin is buried." I don't know that I was really all that interested in finding out where Benjamin Franklin is buried--nothing against him, but he doesn't exactly stir the emotions of my heart, like, say, Louisa May Alcott might do--but I enjoy walking through graveyards. Not at nighttime, of course. That would freak. me. out. But during the daytime, I think they're very interesting, in a melancholic, picturesque, philosophical kind of way.
Boston had some really interesting cemeteries that were right downtown. We'd be walking along the Freedom Trail, and then randomly stop to wander past some tombstones.
I have a hard time capturing the feel of graveyards through photography. It doesn't help that some people (*ahem* you there in the upper left-hand corner of my picture) tote their Macy's shopping bag through the graveyard. That really ruins the feel of graveyards. More than that, though, there's something about the three-dimensional aspect that my non-fancy camera just can't quite get. Nevertheless, that didn't stop me from taking pictures.
Plus, cemeteries on the east coast are so old--well, comparatively old. Here in Oregon you don't find too many tombstones that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Also, not a lot of skulls and crossbones either. Which I'm fine with. I definitely do not want a skull and crossbones on my tombstone, no offense to Cap. Nicholas Gardner here. It's just not my style.
Philadelphia had more famous dead people. Famous people like Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Benjamin Rush just happens to be Jason's Great-great-great-great-great Grandfather's cousin. Yes, rebelliousness goes wayback in Jason's family. Fortunately it's patriotic rebelliousness, so I can excuse that. Except when Sydney wanted to paint a flag on the wall with magic markers. In our house there may be a little bit of tyrannical oppression when it comes to certain freedoms.
One of the things we did while we were DC was go on a ghost walk through Alexandria. Our guide--a chipper college student with a knack for storytelling--narrated our way up and down the streets of Alexandria, regaling us with horrifying tales of ghosts and graveyards. And when I say "horrifying" I really mean "funny with a gory twist." Like Fargo. Except more family friendly. And without the wood chipper. Or the fabulous Frances McDormand.
The end of our tour found us gathered in a graveyard where our guide told us a final tale of a tragic love story.
We laughed, we cried, we were distracted by fighting squirrels. And then off in the distance, I thought perhaps I too could see the ghosts of children playing by the tombstones. I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped a picture of them.
Oh what tragic tale surrounded these poor little children that they were doomed to wander the graveyard for all eternity? I will say that the little middle ghost wouldn't stop laughing, but the other two? I think they really wanted to be at some fun playground rather than a cemetery. But they kept showing up, so I kept taking pictures.
Now, wait a second...
Those little ghosts look awfully familiar...
And that name on the tombstone...I recognize that name...
Stout? Well, now that I think about it, I have seen these pictures before. These and a hundred others just like them that fill our family's photo albums. What's that? You think it's morbid, all these pictures of smiling children on tombstones? Well, then, you never had a mother who was a genealogist.
I knew there was a reason I felt a connection with graveyards.
Although I'm definitely not feeling the connection with those shorts.
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