Friday, April 30, 2010

Years, Months, Days

One of the most common questions I get from people who
accompany me on graveyard adventures has to do with a common practice of spelling out the years, months and days of a person's life. I remember reading years ago (or did I hear it in a college history class?) that the reason for this is that in the 1800's (the period from which you commonly see these gravestones) lives were often short. We're talking lives plagued by cholera, consumption and dysentery, to name a few. When some reached old age, such as the person whose gravestone is shown in this photo, the family was damn sure to list out every single moment the person was alive. But it applies to very short lives too. Sadly, many old cemeteries are filled with the graves of children, most likely victims of the diseases of the time. Many times you will see the graves of multiple children from the same family who died in a short period of time. This stone reads "Ages 1 Yr & 6 Ms."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


When I was in college, my parents would come and visit sometimes and we would go to nearby Shawnee State Forest. On one of these visits, they introduced my now-husband and I to geocaching. I remember at first thinking they were insane. "Let me get this straight," I said. "We are looking for boxes of junk?" Oh, how wrong I was! From the first geocache, I was hooked. For the uninitiated, geocaching is locating small containers filled with random items and a log, or sometimes just a log, with a handheld GPS. More information can be found on

There's something about the thrill of the hunt and finding something that has been hidden, found, and re-hidden for months and even years! It's so cool to look through the log and see who has been there. Sometimes, you will find that someone was just there hours or minutes before you.

Geocaching can sometimes take you to some out-of-the-way places you might not ever visit otherwise. Cemeteries are a great example--we've found many old, interesting cemeteries when looking for caches. We always stop to admire the symbols on the headstones before leaving.

This stone was found in a cemetery in Pierce Township. The dogwood flower is a symbol for Christ, resurrection and innocence. Floral motifs were very common in this cemetery, and the cache was in a cool place. If you've never tried geocaching, I encourage you to do it! I guarantee you will find something you've never seen before.