If you listened to episode 11 of The Big Séance Podcast on Cemetery Grave Adoptions, I promised to keep listeners updated on this year's adoptions. Well today I took advantage of an absolutely splendid autumn-like day (finally!), and headed on out to a local cemetery that I've heard a lot about, but until today had never been. I had flowers ready to go, and I intended on finding two graves to adopt. I spent a little over an hour just taking photos and checking the place out.
Shortly after arriving, I met a Abby, who was very happy to see me. Once Sabrina, her owner, caught up with her, we had a very nice conversation about cemeteries and how much we enjoyed them. After Sabrina gave me some tips on where to find some of the older headstones, and after Abby (a dog, if I wasn't clear enough) gave me a few last slobbery kisses, she got bored and ran off to find another friend, forcing Sabrina to follow. There were several four-legged friends and their owners enjoying the cemetery today. Just before leaving two hours later, a cute little doggie ran up to me as I was getting into my car. This little doggie looked almost exactly like my dog Meril, only smaller.
I was really having a hard time making this decision. After such a great experience last year, I really felt pressured to just be drawn to two graves. As I've said before, lately I tend to float through the cemetery with more of a photographer's eye. Other than the ones I kept photographing, I wasn't really feeling like I was being drawn or pulled toward any specific grave for adoption purposes. Then, like happens so often in my school gig with things like auditions and solos and choosing who gets spotlighted, I kept feeling guilt for passing up all of the other hundreds of graves and monuments. Don't they all deserve to be adopted?
I couldn't narrow it down to one named grave and one nameless (as I suggest in that same recent podcast episode), so what did I do? I decided to go with four of them. I may regret his decision in the busy month of October.
So here they are. I've done no research or genealogy at this point.
Schwester (Sister) Maria Georgia (1862) & Schwester (Sister) Maria Germana (1872), Requiescat in Pace
Sister Maria Germana's monument is broken off of the base, which is right next to Sister Maria Georgia. One leaning on the other, it makes a beautiful photo, and I can't help but wonder about the friendship these ladies must have had in life. I took so many photos of their crosses that I just knew I was adopting them this fall.
H.W. Rühenpohl (1812-1850)
I'm not entirely sure of the name on this soul, but the base behind the rest of the monument says “W.H. Rühenpohl”. To the best of my ability, the monument in front says “Hier Ruht” with a smaller inscription that I'm not able to make out (probably in German), and then “Rühenpohl”. Someone has tied the base and the top together with wire.
I'm really hoping this stone marks a grave. I can't imagine it being anything else. It must just be incredibly old and weathered, or perhaps it is the base of a monument that no longer exists. This stone rests right in front of the crosses of Sisters Maria Georgia and Germana. I decided this was a good thing, because otherwise I'd have a hard time finding it.
The Tradition Continues
Today I introduced myself and explained my intentions with this grave adoption tradition. I'll now return every two weeks (at least), leaving flowers or gifts, visiting with them (should they choose to be present), and praying that their souls are at peace. Hopefully I'll be able to do some genealogy sometime soon. I'll be sure to keep you updated.
Want to learn more about this cemetery grave adoption tradition? Again, check out episode 11 of The Big Séance Podcast to hear me discuss last year's project, my inspiration for starting it, and my 8 tips for starting your own grave adoption tradition!