Day of the Dead Countdown

by Jessica Ehlers, October 18, 2011

It was his Auntie's idea. She was like, "Ok, your little man wants Halloween decorations? Let's go to the cemetery and do gravestone rubbings." So we bought some large newsprint from Racines, grabbed our shoebox of crayons and made an afternoon of it.

The little man's Auntie and the little man himself in the Fort Bragg Cemetery.

This is one he was very proud of. It creepily read "Mother" and "Father". We talked about family plots and how people can buy them ahead of time. He wanted to know if there was anyone in the cemetery that I knew and I am sure there is, but I can't remember where they are. Most of my close family that has passed away are all buried at the Hayward Cemetery. I told him we could take a trip down there some day to see all my grandparents.

More rubbings. We found it works best with over-sized crayons. Still, you have to push quite hard. Some of the older grave stones are unreadable even while rubbed onto paper, washed away by rain after rain, decade after decade.

This was a strange section of the cemetery. Wooden "stones". This was a very old patch of  where children and babies had been buried. There were a lot of sections like this, more than I expected. There were a few in the newer section that were dated the same year my son was born. It definitely gave us cause for pause. Cause for hugs.

He ran up to this wooden statue and posed. He's quite the charmer.

We decided we needed to cut the rubbings out and glue them to cardboard so that on Halloween night, we can have our very own graveyard right at our house!

Some close ups.

"With a cheery smile and a wave of the hand she wandered off into an unknown land."

Johnny Lee broke my heart.

C.V. Starr has more roots in the community than I had realized.

All in all it was a very cool project. I encourage it for everyone. Not only is it artistic, it is also a strange mortality adventure. The names, the dates, the lengths of lives, the marriages, the placement of stones or wooden markers or even aluminum markers. A history we don't see everyday. A quiet we don't have every day. In the spirit of Day of the Dead, it is gearing us up for all the exciting goings on.

Follow this link for all the happenings locally for the Day of the Dead. I encourage everyone to participate. We did most activities last year and it was amazing and heartfelt and a beautiful ceremony.

See you all there!

 

3 Responses to Day of the Dead Countdown

  1. Connie Webb Reply

    October 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Nice project. Lots of history there at that cemetery. I think it is great to let the little ones do a project like this. My kids did this at their schools, too. Makes death not be such a scary thing. I think that is what is great about the Day of the Dead ceremonies in town, too. It is about celebrating our passed loved ones who have gone before us. Nice there are lots of activities in town celebrating the Day of the Dead. I went last year to a few events and it was a real interesting event and I learned lots, too. Take care and thanks for sharing your day with your little one and his Aunt. What a good idea with placing the gravestone rubbings on cardboard to decorate your yard for Halloween, too. Happy Halloween!

  2. Susan E Lindley Reply

    October 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    This was a wonderful project. It answers a lot of questions kids have, but are sometimes afraid to ask. Very grown-up and heartfelt. Love what you have to say. I’ll look more closely at those stones.

  3. casey Reply

    November 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    this is awesome!

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