I spent part of a lazy Sunday afternoon today at my kitchen table playing around on Find-A-Grave, lamenting the heat and the health issues presently keeping me indoors now that I've run out of old photos and new interments to contribute to the site.
Eventually my browsing turned into flipping through local cemetery listings to locate some of the people whose services I helped with as part of my job at the funeral home. The act was meaningful to me on several levels; the sense of recognition when I saw a familiar name on the list, like bumping into someone I knew in a crowded room; the ability to leave flowers on their memorials as one last gesture of service and respect; and the reminder, on a day when I needed a boost, that in the lives of these people's families I was able to make at least small difference at a moment when they needed it.
As I read through the list of names, looking for those I recognized, I noticed several family names that correspond with street names or park names in the area: Elms, Young, Conder, Swope, Rancier, and others. These brought a different, less personal sense of recognition, and a reminder of how much local history is contained in these older cemeteries. You could trace the whole history of the community from the names and dates on these burial lists, and the relationships pieced together between them.
(Cross-posted on my personal blog, One Day at a Time)