Friday, April 30, 2010

Broken Tombstones and How to Repair Them

I am always amazed how many broken stones you see in some of the cemeteries you visit. We are spoiled in Fremont they work hard at keeping them repaired in the city cemetery but some of the other surrounding areas are in sad condition. Between just plain old fashioned age, vandals, accidents, weather, etc. they have taken their toll.

I look at these broken stones and wonder how did they break? Can they be fixed? How?

I have been told that if the stones have some structural integrity they usually can be put back together. But warning it is not as easy as it sounds. The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of stone it is made of. Putting metal bolts, drilling etc. is no longer advised. Duct tape will fix anything but not advised for grave stone repairs.

Many of the new epoxies work great some can be repaired with mortars to join broken fragments but this method often makes the stone look sloppy and unattractive since the mortar is usually thick and mats.

My husband’s family bought an old train depot several years ago and found an old broken tombstone underneath it. My Mother in Law has spent many years researching the woman it was for and her children. She has always wanted to repair it and set it on her grave site. The story of the broken tombstone has been told at Cemetery Walks and different events in Newaygo County. Now it is time to help her get it repaired. So our summer project is to learn all we can on this subject and get it done. Wish us luck. She has written a story about Sarah Utley the lady it was for. At a future date I will add it for your reading pleasure.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why do we do the things we do?

So many of us have traditions that we do over and over and have no clue as to why. I have always put a stone on top of grave sites when I leave them with a short prayer why? I was told this was a Jewish tradition but I am not Jewish. My Grandmother how ever worked for a Jewish family in Detroit when she was in nursing school. Did she pick this up and pass it on to me? Maybe it is just because I have a thing about stones and rocks and love them. We actually asked our guest to bring us rocks as gifts for wedding gifts for our garden when we got married, so I do have a rock thing.

While watching the new show on television "Who Do You Think You Are" I noticed Lisa Krudow
very quietly do a silent prayer and place a stone on a memorial. And I started wondering where did this tradition start and what was the reasons behind it.

Here is some of what I found out.

The Jewish faith tells us that by leaving a pebble is in a way the erection of a small, new monument-a tomb- stone to honor the memory of the dead. So in a sense it is a way of saying; Here lie the remains of someone worth remembering. It is a way of showing that someone did come and remember.

It also is a symbol saying that the love and memory are still strong and as enduring as the rock.
Some people suggest it is a simple counter telling how many people had visited the burial sight leaving a prayer. A sign of respect.

The Internet is full of reasons and speculations going back to Medieval Tales when graves were thought to contain some remainder of the soul left by the departed. The belief goes by leaving stones they were creating a barrier to prevent the soul from leaving and haunting the living.

So regardless of who started the tradition or why I continue to do so as a sign of respect and love of the deceased and tradition, regardless if I understand why or not.

Sandy is back!

Monday was my first day back to work so this has been a long week! But it is good to be back. I do enjoy my job and the people. I was feeling rather isolated at home.
My husband took me for many little drives to get me out of the house and we managed to drive through or past a few cemeteries. One thing I noticed was how many have Spring flowers that come up where some one had planted bulbs. I planted bulbs a few years ago on Grandma and Grandpas grave site. But never noticed the amount of them until now. I did it because I always worry that one day I won't be able to get there with Spring flowers and bulbs will come up on their own. Must be others have thought of this also. It is nice to know even if someday I can't get there the graves will have a bright sunny blanket of blooms to welcome Spring.