Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Old Calton Cemetery

I hadn’t planned to go there – either in person or in post – but the last post just sort of led us there, didn't it?

Bill's brother-in-law, Chris, is famous for needing to see every crook and corner of any place he visits and, though you might not know by looking, he has way more stamina than sense to quit.  I remember my first trip to Australia when he tried to show me every thing there was to see, bless him, and I was walked off my feet.  Jane has developed some coping strategies, I gather, but she has my fullest admiration.  


We were waiting to get in touch with Simon and Sarah who had been off doing their own thing for a while and so we had time to take in this unexpected find.  It wasn't until I was inside that I realised it was the exact place I'd photographed from above.

There were the usual large stones with entire families listed, including any number of very young children and multiple wives who probably died in childbirth, but also quite a few folk in their 70s and 80s.  

We found these little enclosures interesting, with writing on the outside walls or plaques within.  Only one had any sort of roof, just metal bars across the top so I couldn't tell how they were originally intended to look.


The other thing of interest was this  large monument to the deaths of Scottish-Americans in the American Civil War, erected about 30 years after the fact.  Maybe it took that long to scrape together the money, I don't know.

I'm always up for visiting an old cemetery, strange as that may sound.  I'm in awe of the huge monuments and fascinated by the outline of a family's existence and passing recorded there; it's just enough of a sketch to let you begin to envision their lives and the time in which they lived.  


No doubt the actual life stories would normally not be that interesting if written down, but give my imagination something to chew on and it's away!

Do you feel that way about old cemeteries?


Jo said...

Yes old cementeries are interesting seeing how far back the dates are. Did you go to Fort Reno when you were going across Route 66? That is interesting not only to see the dates, but the countries people came from. It is hard to believe that soldiers were sent all the way to OK.

Shelley said...

No, we didn't make it to Fort Reno, I don't think. Where were the soldiers from and why were they sent to OK? (What war?)

Jo said...

It was during WW II that German and Italian were sent over. Here is a website. Interesting!

Rick Stone said...

German and Italian POW's were brought to Fort Reno, and other places throughout the country during WWII. The idea was to remove them from Europe so if they escaped they could not rejoin the war effort. Several of them died while at Fort Reno and are buried in the old Fort Cemetary. It has been said that many of the German prisoners were convinced that Germany would win the war when they arrived in the US. As they were taken to prison camps, by train, across the country and saw how big this country is they then decided there was no way Germany could defeat us.

Struggler said...

I'm not sure how I feel about cemeteries; they're definitely somber places, and perhaps a reminder I don't need of where we're all headed one day.
As you say, there are always some poignantly short lifespans on the stones.