Friday, May 25, 2012

I will remember you. Will you remember me?

Most folks think of history as a timeline of the past--a linear procession of events & dates that someone somewhere determined you had to know.  But that's not history, thank God, its just how bad history teachers teach~*
History is the study of that which is recorded-- either in letters, journals, articles, newsreels, 8-track, 8mm, whatever.  It is a paper trail that traverses time.  It isn't history if it isn't recorded.  Historians have to prove what happened, & you can't do that without some sort of factual record.  History is not a matter of perspective-- perspective is how some people interpret the events that happen to or around them, but it doesn't determine the event itself-- and history generally isn't found in the Barnes & Noble bestseller list {saying that every book written about a historic event is historically accurate is like saying every news show is..ahem..fair & balanced}.
For those of you lifestyle bloggers out there, pat yourself on the back.  You are doing more than chronicling your comings & goings or recording your child's development, you are leaving a record-- and somewhere, ages from now, historians will be able to find you & that matters.  Because nobody wants to be forgotten.


Nobody wants their name erased from history.


I am happy to know that so many of you like to wander through cemeteries-- for the vast majority of folks, those markers and names you see etched on them are all that is left of the lives they represent.  Yes, many of them had children, & those children live on, but that isn't what I mean.  Lives are more than genetic material passed down through generations.  Life is emotion, passion, glory & sorrow, wee memories & day trips, farmer's markets & cold beers & laughter-- all the things we think of when we ponder our own lives.
That's why I like to go to cemeteries-- I have a sense of obligation, a need to remember the people who came before.  


So there it is and here you are & please allow me introduce you to some folks.



Belvadora Margaret and her infant sister haunt me a bit.  Was it a fire?  A fever?  How old was Belvadora?  Why are they buried together?  I can find nothing on them.  Eugenia McInturff seems like she would have been an absolutely awesome dame to know-- was sayonara her catch phrase or her last words? No clue, but I kind of hope the latter.  I was able to find her death certificate-- she was 72 years, 9 months and 29 days old when she died of heart disease.  




If you are in the need of a name for a future child, might I suggest Cicero B. McNees, Tennessee Lusk, Ezekiel Rambo or Wiley Christian? I wasn't able to find much more than their names; just a few census records & general info on Wiley's unit during the Civil War-- fun fact, most military men from the Civil War in this area fought for the union.  No fear, with names like these all you need is a bit of  imagination to envision the glorious lives they must have led.  {Seriously, I think it is of vital importance to the happiness of humankind that there always be a Cicero B. McNees somewhere in the world, don't you?}

The children's graves are always the hardest to research-- most were not around long enough to leave a paper trail.  Burgess, son of Elizabeth Hughes, died when he was 3.  There was a poem on the stone as well, but it is illegible.  The three lamb graves all came from the same family-- they died the same day they were born.  The stone on the right was worn beyond visibility, until I loaded the pic and tinkered with it.  If you look in the lower half, you can just make out the name "Josephine" in moss.  It is all that remains.

That is what I have for now & tomorrow we will be back to living our own lives instead of researching others.  But for today, take a minute to remember the forgotten-- all those who came before & who left the world a bit better for the trouble.  

Here's hoping you spend your weekend making memories~*



Incidentally, if you ever come across someone you'd like to know more about on your wanderings, please send along a picture of the headstone & I'll see what I can do {that goes for family genealogies too-- its what we do in our spare time}.  Send pics &/or info to theclosetintellectual[at]gmail[dot]com~*