This post is in response to a post by Dear Myrtle to Share A Memory Contest.
The year was probably 1992. I’d had two young children and as a stay at home mom of two little ones, who’d always worked with the public, I was slowly losing my mind amidst diapers, formula and very little sleep. I adored my two newborns and was thrilled to be a new momma, but I was isolated and alone with them a lot of the time, since taking two little ones out alone was a daunting task.
Shortly after #2 was born, I bought a computer online for myself. Hubby greatly encouraged me in any activity I wanted to do, and so I got into genealogy. My great aunt had asked me once if I could help her find my 3rd great grandfather’s father and so I had a quest.
Soon I was traipsing through cemeteries all over Rutherford County, Tennessee with my dad, James, while Mom stayed at home with the two infants. She was in heaven and so was I.
So in October of 1992, Dad and I found ourselves in the Carlton Cemetery.
Dad and I were like most genealogist of the time. We’d heard that if you use shaving cream the stones would stand out more, so we headed to the cemetery with a can or two in hand to take pictures. When we got there, our cans wouldn’t spray. So dad suggested I stay there, and he’d go home and get some more cans. Anyone who knew my father, James, knew he never did anything in a hurry and he was prone to getting lost. He was gone forever and I was left sitting on my ancestors tombstone waiting.
Finally around midnight, he returns, several cans in hand, and with the light of the car, we took our pictures. We did bring water to wash off the stones. Note: We did not realize what we were doing was harmful to the stones. I’d actually heard to do this in a genealogy society meeting I’d went to a few months earlier. Shortly after we photographed this cemetery, we learned that it could be harmful to the stones and stopped the practice of using shaving cream. I must admit, it greatly sped up the process of photographing cemeteries!
As we photographed the cemetery, dad just happened to mention that no one ever came to that cemetery anymore, because it had so many rattlesnakes. A point he’d neglected to mention several hours earlier when he suggested I stay and wait on him! Luckily, we did not see any that night.
So that is how I came to sit in a cemetery full of rattlesnakes with shaving cream cans on Halloween 1992. Yup, seems we’d forgotten the date as well!
As for the 3rd great grandfather’s father: It’s been 21 years, 4 computers, another child, thousands of hours researching and alas, I still have no idea who his father is. That one will remain a mystery for the ages.
My father was an avid helper of me photographing cemeteries until his death. He loved helping me find the cemeteries in rural Rutherford County, TN. We encountered many rattlesnakes, horses, vicious dogs, and many overly friendly cats over the years. After his death, I haven’t had a lot of time to go cemeterying. I live 2 hours away from the place my ancestors settled. Now I mostly just blog when other people send me pictures of cemeteries they have done. But someday I hope to get back to the hobby my dad and I so loved doing together. This time I’ll go with a GPS!