Grave and scary numbers.Posted: June 9, 2016
On Fridays, when the weekly prompt for the Post A Week photo challenge is revealed, I try to think of a way to respond that will suit the theme of my blog. My first thought for this week’s prompt Numbers was to seek out the number 13, but even though I kept an eye out all week, 13 was elusive. Other numbers, though, prominently featured in my week, in fact I was haunted by them.
As recent transplant to a new state, I’m desperately trying to figure out how to get around. This process is complicated by my multiple driving phobias. (High bridges, high speed, ramps, forced merges, and getting funneled against my will, to name a few.) I am determined, however, to establish some comfortable routes, and carve out a territory that feels safe. That means I’m spending an awful lot of time pouring over maps, trying to figure out how to stay off the roads that have numbers but no names.
I had one slight territory expansion success this week. I headed east from Raleigh, in search of two small towns promised by the maps. I found and explored both of them. (One even has a metaphysical shop just a block off Main Street, but that’s another story.)
The excursion was my last ditch attempt to find a good photo op for this week’s challenge. I meant to go to a graveyard — because a graveyard is filled with stories, histories, and mysteries, each told in a few cryptic words and numbers — but I failed.
(I drove past one that looked promising, but couldn’t figure out how to get back to it. Once the route is more familiar, I’ll make my way back.)
Luckily, I have a whole folder of photographs taken at graveyards. Here are a few I don’t think I’ve ever published, that have interesting numbers:
This was taken in the Old Burying Ground, of Beaufort, NC, a cemetery that is full of some of the most complete stories I’ve ever found in a graveyard. (There are more photos from the same beautiful cemetery here.)
The iron cross appears to have a ‘4’ on it, but it’s actually a confederate battle flag.
The ’12’ marker at this grave-site is keyed to a pamphlet available at the graveyard. The pamphlet reads:
“(12) Jechonias Willis (1838-1862) — A Beaufort man killed when Fort Macon was taken by the Federals. Beaufort members of the garrison were brought home on a flat and released on parole. The body of Willis was brought at the same time. General Burnside himself stood at the wharf witnessing the joyful reunion between soldiers and families. Then, as the pine box containing the body of Willis was claimed by sorrowing loved ones, sympathetic tears rolled down the general’s cheeks.”
This sad and simple stone, located in White Bear Lake, MN, is a glimpse into history, and we must try to imagine the story behind the memorial, using only the clues provided by the numbers.
This gravestone, which caught my eye precisely because it is disappearing, had just enough visible information that I was able to identify the deceased by using the excellent database at Find A Grave. There I learned that this is the grave of the founder of a northern MN city named Staples.
Which leaves me with a new mystery: Why is the founder of Staples buried in Anoka, 119 miles away from his namesake city?
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