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a post of a different feather

February 6, 2014

this is not the usual tongue-in-cheek blog post that i typically deliver.

it is, in fact, quite the opposite.

several things have occurred this week

that prompt me to tell a story that i have

carried inside for over a year.

i feel that its time has come.

i hope that this quote can explain in part

how this story began:

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 8.34.42 AM                                                             credit to Misty Mawn

********

when we purchased our property i immediately noticed

a small cemetery at an intersection near our home.

i knew that i would visit that place at some point,

and in january of last year, on a sunny winter day,

we stopped on our way home.

IMG_7175

around the turn of the last century

pleasantview ridge was a small community that had a church,

a cemetery, a schoolhouse, a railroad station, a general store, and a blacksmith shop.

it was surrounded by farms and for a while grew in population.

by 1920 the population had begun to decline,

and in 1925 the church moved and many of the remains of those interred in the small cemetery

were relocated to a larger cemetery in the neighboring town.

today all that is left of pleasantview ridge is the schoolhouse,

(now a private home), and this cemetery.

its hard to describe what i anticipated when i went there,

although it undoubtedly included a sense of history, nostalgia, and reverence.

there is a bit of a ghost town feel,

of stories blowing in the wind almost as if

the voices have come back to tell them

to anyone who will listen.

there are only a handful of gravestones left,

some of which are worn away by the elements

to the point where they are almost impossible to read.

IMG_7176

i wandered amongst them, trying to understand relationships,

ages, and possible circumstances of their stories.

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there was a feeling of displacement,

of being lost in time.

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this was coupled with a deep sadness of the short lifetimes

of so many of those laid to rest here.

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13 years, 10 months, 17 days.

why?

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the open space left between the markers

tells its own story.

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then i came to this small, double marker,

and walked around it to read the names of the east side of the stone.

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time has worn away some of the detail,

but the story is still there:

George C. Glazier

b. July 26, 1894, d. December 25, 1899

five and a half years old, almost to the day,

and died on Christmas Day.

Minnie Mabel Glazier,

b. September 23, 1903, d. September 23, 1903.

lived only minutes or hours.

Myrtle M. Glazier

b. March 10, 1904, d. September 10, 1906

two and a half years old to the day.

three little siblings who never met in life.

how does a family survive such incredible, repetitive loss?

i grieved for them and the loss they suffered over 100 years ago.

i looked for something, anything,

to acknowledge that suffering and pay tribute

to these little siblings who remain here together

for eternity.

and i found it.

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three small feathers,

one for each.

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i wanted to tell them that i was sorry,

that their lives had touched mine across the centuries,

that they were not forgotten.

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as i walked back to the car

i took in the vast expanse of rolling plains to the east

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and the mighty rocky mountains to the west.

i thought about what a beautiful place they were laid to rest,

an eternal part of this land.

and then i started my research.

i was on the computer well into the morning hours,

learning what i could about pleasantview ridge

and the three little babies who lived and died here.

the internet is an amazing resource.

i learned that they had an older sister who married and bore two sons,

dying at age 28 the year the second son was born.

she was also interred in pleasantview ridge cemetery,

although no marker remains to indicate a gravesite.

her oldest son died in WWII at the age of 30.

the parents moved away and were interred back east.

i could not find any clear indication that there are surviving family members.

********

these three little ones have been in my heart for the past year.

a beautiful sunrise makes me smile as i think of them

facing east into the explosion of glorious color.

when the snow falls i think of it blanketing them in their slumber,

snuggled together side by side.

i am determined that these children not be forgotten,

that somehow their brief story can live on through me.

at first i was sure i would share this story,

and then almost certain that i would not.

in cleaning the studio this week

i came across a vintage image transfer

that i did years ago from a photo that i found in a thrift shop.

it had a haunting quality that made me choose not to use it

in the project i was working on,

but for some reason i kept it.

when i found it this week

i knew that the time to tell the story had come.

vintage image transfer

********

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    February 6, 2014 3:11 pm

    Amazing! Shelly and I each found a white feather on the beach. It was a struggle getting him to go for a walk with me and when we found the feathers I knew they were from Ash, one for each of us to show us she was happy that we were both there enjoying the sand and sun.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 6, 2014 7:50 pm

      i have had feathers present themselves to me on many meaningful occasions and have quite a collection at this point. i pay attention to these signs. i also pay a lot of attention to yellow butterflies which to me are a sign that Ashley is visiting. we have had them land on the wet ground while we irrigate the hay field and come out of the chrysalis alongside the shed right before our eyes! when i’m out in the yard on nice summer days they float by and it always makes me smile.

  2. February 6, 2014 5:33 pm

    This is a very touching post. Your photos show the beauty and the loneliness of the wind-swept cemetery where these little ones rest. I think the three feathers are the perfect remembrance memento.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 6, 2014 7:55 pm

      thanks, Diana. i didn’t expect to connect so deeply with the discovery of their little gravesite but i believe that things present themselves for a reason. i guess it’s all part of being deeply human– they broadened my perspective in a very unanticipated way.

  3. February 8, 2014 2:47 am

    i feel like i’m late to the gathering.
    saw this post as soon as it was posted, was unable to comment.
    and now, i find this post to fit exactly what my heart is feeling.
    bless you for the reverance and the holding-close, the seeing and the feeling.

    xo

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 8, 2014 9:53 pm

      thanks for coming back, marie. this was, obviously, a tough post to write– not funny, uplifting, beautiful– yet it was something that wouldn’t leave me alone. when i found that image transfer, in my mind it was them without question. thanks for understanding the reverence and the holding-close. it means a lot to me. xoxo

  4. Katie Goldsberry permalink
    February 8, 2014 2:10 pm

    You have a way with words. Thank you for sharing.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 8, 2014 9:56 pm

      thank you, Katie. i really appreciate you being here.

  5. February 10, 2014 1:28 pm

    Oh Janet, your writing is beautiful. And this is a beautiful story, one that needed to be told.
    I bet it felt good and freeing to let it out. Finally.
    Like Marie, I read it and couldn’t comment. I said to myself, I will think about this, it deserves more time to ponder. I wanted to think about these three faces without names.
    How interesting and fantastic that you were able track down info and put the missing pieces together! It makes me want to know even more about this family who had such short lves. Especially Minnie, living and dying the same day! All the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’. Ya know?
    Those head stones, lonely landscape, winter wheat and the bright blue sky are simply breathtaking and thoughtful and the words behind them are heartbreaking and loving.
    Finding three feathers to give them brought you some closure and a lot of peace of mind.
    I hope the sun is warm and shining for you today! We could use a break, yah? xx

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 10, 2014 6:39 pm

      thank you for your thoughtful and reflective comment, lynn. i cannot help but wonder if, had these children been born a hundred years later, they would have lived full and healthy lives. i’m almost certain of it. i can’t imagine the helplessness that they must have felt in those days coupled with utter despair at their repeated loss. i’m trying to devise a plan to put flowers there in season, which no doubt would require contacting government agencies… perhaps simply scattering wildflower seeds????
      no sun today yet, just a frosty wonderland out there at present. the week looks promising though!
      xx

  6. February 11, 2014 1:20 am

    Yes yes yes!
    Scatter wildflowers. I’ve got a packet right here. I’ll send them off to you, tomorrow!
    What a glorious idea.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 11, 2014 6:57 pm

      you are wonderful!! i love this– a sure sign that these little ones are not at all forgotten more than a hundred years after being laid to rest! beauty for them from hearts that still care. xoxo

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