Tuesday, August 9, 2011

By Request

Comments have been streaming in (Can't see them? Make sure you have your preferences set to "View Invisible Comments.") about how William Blake's picture of Cronos eating his children is not a very nice "summer vacation" picture for the blog. Cronos seemed like a good idea at the time, and it isn't always the crazed daddy I identify with. But onto other seasons! This season I've been digging up new material. Cemeteries in the North Country, it turns out, are treasure troves of Victorian names, and some of them are real howlers.

Apparently some families had a real poetic gift for choosing evocative names, and I'm sure they knew very well the provenance of the names they chose, internet or no internet. Even in temperance-friendly northern New York, you just have to let your kids be their own people.

Modern-day children with funky names are a great help in spotting the real treasures.

But some of the stones in these tiny rural cemeteries are so old, the names have long been obscured by lichens and mosses, as if the dead are so fashionably ensconced in the afterlife they no longer need the living to care for them.

Whoops! On closer inspection, this gravestone belongs to my Grandma Guthrie, who is alive and well and always did believe in planning ahead. You wouldn't want your children messing around with your final resting place. In their grief, they might get uppity ideas.


J.G. Wilder said...

So many people have been asking, I have to break down and tell you. The nail polish I'm wearing in the first picture is "Dude Blue."

Susan said...

I think this post was even more shocking than Cronos. And not because of the Dude Blue (rock on). I am awed by Grandma Guthrie's self-effacing planning. A modesty and efficiency so profound that your gravestone is unreadable long before you go is...just...wow.

Amy said...

Damn, woman. You are as good with photos as you are with words. This is a deeply well crafted post (deeply well crafted? I've had too much coffee this morning). As usual, I can't wait to see how this material makes its way into your novel, transformed by your interesting mind.