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FF Sparks (Casual)

Accumulated Posts

Today, we got up fairly early in order to get to Meeting and bury the ashes of grandma, uncle Bob, and uncle Gordon. The headstones have been there for a while, but the ashes hadn't been buried -- in Gordon's case, for six years! -- yet.

There's a funeral home not too far away, which has been run by one particular family since the 1800's. Wally, the one of them currently doing it, will dig graves at the older graveyards that don't have an actual undertaker, for a fee. For grandma and the others, he didn't charge... but he did wait around to bid his own farewell to her when we put the ashes into the ground, and said the Lord's Prayer (grandma always insisted it be read at the end of interments at the meetinghouse, so we didn't dare disobey) with us, and helped bury them. One more time I see how grandma had touched other people's lives, leaving them wanting to say their own farewells.

The meeting graveyard is old by American standards; there are Revolutionary War soldiers buried there, and many old and worn-down headstones. It's also a little odd to stand in an empty spot of land in this old graveyard, and to know 'someday, this spot is where my own ashes will be buried.' It's even more odd, granted, to see Eloise' headstone already in her grave plot, when she's still alive and kicking. (Eloise, another of the older folks at Meeting, believes her children will be too busy and not together-enough at her death to get the headstone ordered and such. So she already ordered it -- just left the date of death off -- and had it put in her grave plot so her children won't have extra work. It's still, regardless of sentiment, slightly creepy.)

Now the ashes are buried; we'll be going back in a little while, after lunch, to plant some flowers atop the graves. I'll bring the digicam to take some pictures of the Meeting graveyard and the meetinghouse itself.

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We went back to the Meeting graveyard and planted several types of flowers by the graves, as well as seeding them with grass (and hitting a few bare patches around the graveyard in general). I took various pictures of the meetinghouse and surrounding area, as well as the graves themselves.

The meeting graveyard is a little funny; it's an old one, the ground isn't even, there are places where trees have eaten gravestones (literally), and so on. There's also a big empty place filled with wildflowers, which is where all the victims of mill accidents used to be buried. Since the millworkers ages ago used to be folks where they didn't know if they were baptized, or were Native American, or so on... most of the graveyards wouldn't accept them for burial. Marion Meeting would take them in and bury them in that field, and now it's like almost a snowfield of tiny white wildflowers which covers the grass there.

I also took a couple pictures of the meetinghouse itself, the old hitching-area for horses and carriages, and of the General Wayne Inn just down the driveway. The meetinghouse was built in 1693 or so, and the General Wayne was built in 1704. The General Wayne is a fairly historic building; in addition to having had Revolutionary War figures plan things there, it's also where Edgar Allen Poe used to sit to write, it's where Ben Franklin ran the post office out of until the post office had its own building, and so on. It's also very, very haunted; do a Google for 'General Wayne Inn' and 'ghost' and you'll find a lot of stories.

The General Wayne seems to have an interesting history, in that anyone who doesn't decide to get along with the ghosts (or insists they're not there) tends to end up losing somehow. A friend of our family's, Bart Johnson, used to own and run the inn as a restaurant; when I would come and visit during the summer when I was younger, Bart would take me into the kitchen to get sorbet. Mmm. And he'd tell me stories of the ghosts, and I actually met one of them briefly. But eventually Bart sold it. Of the two people who bought it later, one of them was found dead, and the other was suspected, and it dragged on for a long time. Then it stood empty for a long while. Now it's been bought by a Jewish group who are turning it into a meeting hall...I hope they get along with Sadie, and the Hessian soldier, and all the others.

I also took pictures of the Manor Road house. I wish the carriage-house wasn't full of stuff; it would have been neat to go in and take pictures. But the stable stalls are all filled with old furniture and antiques of my great-grandmother's (the one who got herself kicked out of finishing school for stealing the ferry, yes), and the carriage-house itself is full of even more stuff of hers, and the only reason the stableboy's loft apartment above the carriage-house is NOT filled with stuff is that no one could get past all of great-grandmother's stuff to reach the stairs up to the loft, in order to stash more things up there. Gwaaah! Too much to sort. I'll post the pictures sometime later.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I love Seattle, and it feels like 'home,' but in Philadelphia is a sense of family history and continuity that I find nowhere else in the world. I may prefer Seattle, but Philadelphia is probably one of the only other places I could call home.

Anyway, we're headed off soon for an art show of one of the students in the same painting class as aunt Sally, and I don't know if I'll be on again later tonight or not.

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