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Friday, April 11, 2014


I enjoy looking around at the magnificent homes in Hudson on my several trips weekly to the high school. This year is my first time through in spring; Hamilton’s jazz group practices after school twice a week.

Crocus in Hudson.
The house is being repainted.
Last night I pointed out a discovery to Hamilton—a yard full of crocus. It is so wet this year they do not look their best, struggling up through puddles as they are. They made me smile, and remember planting crocus around my brother’s grave. 

Today I enlisted my sister to be the driver when I took pictures. Not to mention, she’s the only person who can still find our little four square of family graves, our brother, our uncle, mom and dad.

Mom and Dad
Uncle Bill and Mel
The four of them are together in Crown Hill cemetery in Twinsburg. I wanted to see if, almost forty years later, there still were crocus around my brother’s plot. I've been to the cemetery three times before. Mom was too pragmatic to take us there when dad was buried; it was twenty below and chest deep snow the winter of ‘77. I do not remember Uncle Bill’s funeral. I do remember Mom’s and Mel's. And, once we took Michelle to show her Grandma’s grave and her dad’s.

The story is the cemetery, not the crocus. I was going to tell how Shelly and I got locked in the cemetery the night we planted them. As we drove Jan said she was sure all crocuses were drowned by now. We arrived, and the poor place looked shabbier than ever. The detritus of winter, soggy all over the grounds.

It’s a perpetual upkeep memorial grounds. It’s always struck me as a Hansel and Gretel kind of place, Crown Hill cemetery, crooked fences, funny stone houses. There are no monuments, only flat markers. That appealed to mom, but it didn't work out so well at Crown Hill.

I wish I knew a little more about the history of the cemetery, but I didn't find much on the internet. I won’t call the office; they want me to preplan my use of the three plots mom gifted me.  They call me so often I may need to see what I do to get rid of them.

When I was a child passing these walls they all were intact. Now they are falling and fallen, sections filled in by old iron fencing. We stopped for a closer look and think the walls were built of old paving stones, blast furnace slag and even big chunks of coal. 

I cannot believe the walls and buildings of a cemetery were folk art fantasy. The cemetery was founded in 1929 and I wonder if the depression influenced the construction.

Instead of planting crocus and being locked in the cemetery, I think I’ll follow up with the story of Mom’s funeral. Everyone has a good funeral story, and I have hers.


  1. I'm ready to hear "the rest of the story"... Really, though... your cemetery is quite interesting... artsy-fartsy brick walls... embedded with coal... quite a fantasy land. Let's hear more! (please)

  2. Every cemetery has some skeletons in its closet. (sorry) Looking forward to your funeral story and I'd really like to learn more about your crocus planting.

  3. Very interesting cemetery, Joanne.

  4. Are you going to tell us about the boots?

  5. That really is an unusual wall, isn't it?

    Looking forward to any story you care to tell!

  6. OK, Joanne, have them throw your ashes to the wind and I will plant the Lytle crocus in my yard-if I survive you. and it is time to get rid of the icicles...Snow maybe, but no more icicles. you will always be in my heart and even my yard and garden..The crocus yard is amazing.....thanks to you and Janice.

  7. They may have forgotten the words "perpetual upkeep" in caring for that cemetery. It is interesting though.

  8. This is certainly a work of art cemetery -- folk art that is! Find the stone (and coal) fences so interesting. I think you might be on to something about the depression era influencing the the fence construction. If you ever find some history of this unusual construction -- it sure would make a great post. -- barbara

  9. I do want to hear your mom's funeral story. The cemetery seems to have a lot of character; I think I would enjoy walking around looking at everything (I know sounds weird but I do like to walk around cemeteries; reading names on tombstones grave markers, imagining the people who lived before, that sort of thing; unfortunately my husband doesn't share that passion though). When you are ready, might be a good thing to take up their offer to pre-plan especially if you already have a site "assigned" to you. One of the wisest gifts my mom gave to us was pre-planning her funeral and paying for her years before she passed. When she passed, one phone call to the funeral home and everything was taken care of except for ordering the flowers for the top of the coffin. Conversely, when hubby's parents passed, they had nothing planned except "bury me in this" that hubby and brother were running around "like chickens with their heads cut off" trying to plan every thing, trying to second guess what their parents wanted (like it would matter then), etc. I need to take my own advice here to heart and pre-plan my own; its there in my desire to do so, just got to get up and do it.


  10. Dear Joanne,
    that is a very unusual cemetery, but interesting: the wall alone a symbol of life and of vanitas - man can make plans and try to create order - or sense - but the big picture might look different. One uses what one gets - and if one doesn't have a stone handy, one uses a block of ashes.
    And the good thing is: everybody who wants is free to plant crocusses, or whatever takes his fancy, to lighten life up.

  11. I'm surprised that you found what you were looking for that day. I love walking through cemeteries, but I doubt I'll end up in one.

  12. Sort of place Tim Burton would film in!
    Jane x

  13. Isn't it lovely how the crocuses in the first picture match the blue of the house.
    And the cemetery has such personality - quaint stone houses, whimsical stone walls.

  14. What a wonderful place. Too bad they let the walls fall into disrepair. I don't like the flat markers. They sink into oblivion and are characterless. I much prefer monuments and statuary.

  15. Grrr! My computer is playing up, this is third time lucky, I hope...otherwise I am giving up on commenting. I really love the church and the house - they look to be built of similar materials to the walls. It is a place I would enjoy visiting, perhaps Betty and I could do the tour!

  16. Interesting final resting place. My parents are buried above the Mississippi in St. Paul. I noticed you like Jane Austin and invite you to read my first time reader of Pride and Prejudice review on my blog Troutbirder...:)

  17. Hari OM
    Phantasmagorical uncle is one of that diminishing breed, the dry-stone dyker. He would turn somersaults at the sight of such a mish-mash wall. It is such a shame that is has been permitted to drop away.

    Something tells me we are in for a quite an 'exit' tale... &~) YAM xx

  18. Any or all of those stories would be more than welcome.
    And I love the wall (even broken). Such a peaceful place.

  19. The weather was so bad here for so long that I didn't even see my crocuses come out. Nor did I get to enjoy the sakura blossoms on the neighbourhood. When I went out to look earlier they were all dried out and dead. I know that some neighbourhoods were more fortunate but I didn't get out to them. I can't believe I missed out this year. But I am glad that sunnier weather has finally come. I hope your weather continues to improve.

  20. I love that higgledy-piggledy fence and it's a shame to see it falling down like that. I hope it gets repaired.