Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Little Red-Top House

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is Hanging out in the cemetery.  This is the 16th day of this challenge, and we've passed the halfway point.  Check out the Linky at WWFC for more telling tales from those still hanging around.

OK, now not only do we have to write about cemeteries, but about hanging out in them.  Over the years I have come to terms with cemeteries and their necessity. Cemeteries are both a part of life and death.

There was a time, however, when I studiously avoided anything to do with them.  During my teen years, my parents bought plots from a nearby cemetery that was just being developed.  It is a perpetual care cemetery which means a fund has been established for the continued maintenance of the property.  Many of the cemeteries are not allowed to have headstones, but have flat markers instead which give the cemetery a uniform look.

Getting back to the point, I thought it was morbid to even talk about cemeteries, much less buy plots, vaults, markers, and all the other things that go along with the process.  To talk about it went way beyond my coping ability.  I couldn't bear to think of my parents' passing from this life.  At that age it was a lot to comprehend, and being as close as were, it would have been devastating to me.

They, on the other hand, saw it as practical and economical.  They were right considering all those necessities cost about twice the price when purchased "at need".

Daddy would refer to their plots as the "little red-top house".  Honestly, I have no idea where this came from.  Any mention of the great beyond was known as going to the little red-top house.  Before that he called it "the happy hunting ground".  No, there is no Native American ancestry on my father's side that I know of.  It's just what he said.

Mom liked to go visit the cemetery where her relatives were buried...I thought it was creepy, almost like it was tempting fate just to be there.

Now that both my parents have moved to the "little red-top" house, I no longer find it creepy.  I still don't go very often, but with age comes a bit of understanding, and now I know what they did back then, they did not only for themselves, but for me as well.  Bless them for having made their plans years before they needed them.  By the way, they bought 4 plots.  I guess they really were planning ahead.

Now I neither like nor dislike cemeteries, but I seldom hang out there.  Ironically, I did work in the cemetery office for about a year...up until they made plans to move the office to the actual cemetery grounds.


  1. I absolutely hated them when I was a young girl too! Strange how we get less and less freaked out by them as we get older. More experience of death I suppose.

  2. When my son was in pre-school we passed a perpetual care cemetery everyday. When he would see the pretty grass and flowers, he would always ask why nobody was playing putt-putt.

  3. The good news is that I heard that cemeteries are the least haunted places because the spirits need life to draw energy from and everyone is dead at the cemetery! =))

    Did you ever play "Ghost in the Grave Yard" as a kid. Now that creeped me out!

  4. This was a really nice tribute to your parents' kindess in thinking ahead so you wouldn't have to. Very nicely written.

    My parents bought extra plots too. What creeps me out about cemeteries is when one spouse is still living but his/her name is on the head stone, with only the date of death left out.

  5. We only went once a year that I can remember when I was young; Palm Sunday. I made a little project of fashioning a cross out of the palms to put on Nana's grave. We drove there, just dad and me, and he stuck it in the ground.

  6. I don't hang out in cemeteries much either, but I must admit, I do find them to be very peaceful places. Meditative, almost. Not at all creepy. Mind you, I've always gone during daylight.

  7. This was a difficult post for me-having been to cemeteries too often in the last eight months. But, when not there to see a loved one laid to rest, I like visiting old cemeteries and reading the histories there and seeing some of the mind-boggling and elaborate monuments.

  8. Despite never truly being spooked by cemeteries, as I've grown older, I have found the history aspect and the memorial part of them to be very important. Glad you can now visit them!

  9. I never had a problem with cemeteries when I was young. My Grandmother used to take me round and talk about the history and stories behind some of the gravestones. My best friend died when she was 8 and her headstone was decorated with exquisite angels carved into the stone. In recent years a lady introduced me to the grave of one of Darwin's children that she takes care of.

    Creepy? Never!

    ExposeYourBlog! Joining up bloggers for over two years.

  10. Babs- Yeah, I guess it's a matter of exposure and understanding how life works.

    laughingmom- How funny the things kids say and think.

    Nicki- Nope, never had any cemeteries nearby to play in.

    Tina- Thank you. It was responsible, but I didn't like to know about. Didn't want to think about eventualities.

    notactuallygod- That was a nice project for the two of you.

    Nicky- They are usually peaceful and quiet. They don't creep me out anymore, but I still don't go much.

    Talon- I am sorry for the timing on this. There is a lot to be learned by reading headstones, etc.

    P.J. So am I. It's a little different now.

    Anji- It is good that you had that positive experience. There is a lot of interesting history and information to be found there.

  11. I used to be, and still am TERRIFIED of cemeteries. You will NOT find me hanging out in one. Yanno, unless of course, I'm dead.


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