I started selling my fall crosses in July and have sold all 40 crosses so I decided to make more. Here is a sample of the new batch of memorial crosses.
I found these cemetery symbolism charts on Pinterest and thought I would see if I could find a few of them when decorating my family graves on Memorial Day.
A member of the family had posted to Facebook a power point about Romania. History and Geography are my favorites so I watched the 60 sec. slide. As I watched I learned some interesting facts about the people, the castles, the terrain and so on. Then a slide appeared about the only Merry Cemetery in the world!
What? A Merry cemetery? What is that all about?
Well to the Google search I go….
The Merry Cemetery is a very colorful and vibrant cemetery located behind the Church of Assumption in the small village of Sapanta in Romania. It began in 1935 with one man by the name of Stan Loan Patras. Mr. Patras would carve these beautiful oak crosses and then paint onto the cross something about the life of that person.
Mr. Patras passed away in 1977 ( yes he has a headstone about his life too ) and the job was passed down to another local craftsman named Dumitri Pop. Dumitri has created hundreds of headstones over the 30 years he has held the job and hopes to pass the “torch” to another craftsman to keep the tradition. The wood paintings on each cross may tell the story of their occupation, their personal life , or how they died. Each headstone also has an epipaph or poem about that person below the picture. The families come to Dumitri and ask him to create a cross for their loved one. The families don’t get to choose what goes on the tombstone, that is left up to Dumitri….. NO exceptions. There are 2 things you can be sure of when visiting or having a loved one buried there:
- Your loved one will be visited daily by many, many people from all over the world.
- The pictures displayed on the headstones make it possible for you to understand no matter what language you speak.
Like all of the cemeteries I will be posting, Roll cemetery , once way outside the city limits, is well within the city limits of Haysville, KS. Now Haysville KS is butt up against Wichita KS. You don’t realize you have left one and entered the other. I have blogged before my curiosity comes from my business , content for this blog, and the YouTube channel Sidestep Adventures. Kansas doesn’t have as long of a history as the state of Georgia which is where Sidestep Adventures takes place, but the history can be found in its small country cemeteries. This is Roll Cemetery and the Roll family is buried within. Family cemeteries were very common in the 1800s to early 1900s and Roll Cemetery displays that history well.
Like the others I have posted Roll Cemetery has a beautiful handcrafted entrance and is well cared for. The fence came years later to keep others out and to mark the area which is designated as cemetery.
Roll cemetery is on about an acre of land but runs along the side the dirt road and it’s length is greater than it’s width.
In my last post I wrote about my inspiration for posting pictures and comments about Kansas cemeteries. Not the huge mid century cemeteries and their big Masoleums or the newer cemeteries with flat markers, big statues and biblical names for each section. My inspiration is a YouTube channel called Sidestep Adventures. On this YouTube channel they take you through Georgia and Alabama cemeteries that many don’t realize exist and are so old they aren’t even mapped.
I’m starting in my own county of Sedgwick in the state of Kansas. Prairie cemeteries mark the harsh realities of what life was like in the early to late 1800s. The cemeteries are small and some of them are no longer hidden due to urban sprawl. Marked in stone is the life the prairie provided for the first that settled Kansas.
These pictures are of Eldridge Cemetery near Colwich KS. This is a farming community outside of Wichita KS. Colwich was once miles outside of the city but today is only 7 miles away from Wichita. There is no one named Eldridge buried here. The first grave that I could find belonged to a child named F. Arthur , age 1 year- 9 mos. Little Arthur is laid to rest with his father who shares the same stone maker. Most of the graves are from the late 1800s to the very early 1900s with very few exceptions. The majority of the graves are of infants, children, and young adults, with their parents following in death. There is one small mausoleum building with no identification of its owner. The cemetery is well groomed and some flowers were placed at one grave. The legacy of this Kansas cemetery seems to be the hard life of early farming in Kansas.
I follow a YouTube Chanel called Sidestep Adventures. The host takes you through the past of Alabama and let me tell you it has a lot of past to view. I’m a bit of a history buff and I find his episodes on old cemeteries fascinating. Of course Kansas doesn’t have as many historical cemeteries, slave cemeteries, plantation cemeteries as Georgia and Alabama but we do have a few hidden gems. The difference being that our Kansas cemeteries are not hidden beneath bushes, wisteria, and huge oak trees. Kansas cemeteries are of the plains. The plains of Kansas were very harsh to the settlers of the 1800s, lots of sun, wind, and dust, and not much more. I have no doubt that many of the small farm cemeteries are long gone, plowed over and forgotten. The ones that do remain are quaint and quietly taken care of. The host of SidestepAdventures would tell you the cemeteries that remain almost own themselves. In other words, if a cemetery has been photographed and reported to the county that land can’t be sold or built on, so they just work around them. I will have to check out Kansas law on cemeteries before my next post.
Here is my first attempt at showing small Kansas cemeteries on the prairie.
#1 RUBY Cemetery. Although this cemetery is close to Clearwater KS ( population 2500) and Wichita KS (population 400,000.) You can see by my pictures it is a prairie cemetery of years ago.
March, April, and May are busy months for me as are the holidays. My customers are loyal and kind. All of my family are buried in small country cemeteries or Catholic cemeteries. I realize that some of the larger cooperate cemeteries have strict rules on what you can or can’t place on graves. There are cemeteries that have timelines stating when how long grave decorations can remain on a grave. Here are some pictures of my husbands family graves this Memorial holiday.
I’ve seen this picture online at a couple of different sites but never with a title or location. I find the picture haunting and beautiful. When first seeing it on Pinterest the first thought I had was that looks like a stairway to heaven. Yes , I am a Led Zepplin fan.
What thoughts do you have when you see this picture?
Do you know the title or location?
Every year we drive up to Minnesota to see our youngest daughter and her partner. It’s such a long drive from Kansas (12 hours) that unless we have planed ahead we simply just drive, and that’s a lot of highway.
When we do pull off the highway, and as long as it doesn’t take us too far off the path, I try to locate local cemeteries. The small city of Cameron, Missouri has a population of around 10,000. Give or take a few thousand. This small size city has the daunting task of taking care of 5 cemeteries. All five are large cemeteries and all five belong to the city of Cameron. The cemeteries are: McDaniel 600+, Packard 2000+, Graceland Memorial 1000+, Graceland 2000+, Evergreen 1500+, the numbers represent approximately how many are buried at each cemetery. Cameron had a historical board as well as a cemetery board and with that many cemeteries to maintain its easy to understand why they have the boards. I’m in awe of how such a small city manages to maintain so much cemetery acreage.
Now the title may fool you into believing that I just might be writing about something other than cemeteries but I’m not. I’ve been visiting cemeteries for most of my life. It started when I was around 10 my mother would let me come along on Memorial Day as she decorated graves. Her only rules were ; you can’t talk, and you can’t ask a lot of questions. My mother knew me well. I took the job over at 19 when my oldest brother died and have been visiting the resting places of my nuclear family for the last 35 years. I do have a few questions that still wonder from time to time….
Where are all the graves from the west migration in America (1865-1900) . I’m a child of the 70s and so I watched a lot of westerns in my youth and it seems to me that they buried people just about anywhere and marked with a makeshift wood cross.
I’ve learned that there are many unmarked graves of Americans and cemeteries that were sold with property were often destroyed. Many small towns that no longer exist had small town cemeteries that no longer exist. The answer , like most things in life, is not clear. It depends on how far west, how close to a town, and if the town had an undertaker, or a church cemetery. It was the Wild West and many parts of eastern civilized American life took time to reach the bold frontier. Indigenous people have been buried in American soil for thousands of years and they are the history of this nation as are the burial sites they once preserved. I do know one thing, my mother would be frustrated with me if she knew I was still pondering the same questions.
Like every state in the union Kansas has many small Cemeteries. Mount Zion is one such cemetery. This quiet little piece of green earth is along highway 160 and almost appears as a highway rest stop. Some of the earliest buried there are from the 1800’s with the latest burial in 2020. Mount Zion was once referred to as the Kellogg Cemetery. I can only assume that the cemetery sits on land that was once owned by the Kellogg family. There are four Kellogg family members laid to rest there in the late 1800s and early 1900s. When you visit this cemetery of roughly 200 souls on Find A Grave you will notice two things; one the family names are repetitive and very few died of old age. The Hubbard family have 7 children all under the age of 17 buried there, all with different dates and years of death. The Hubbard parents and extended family are not laid to rest there, which makes one wonder if they had too much of the Kansas prairie and left for a better life and less painful memories.
When driving through Kansas backroads it is not unusual to come across little country cemeteries. These cemeteries will pop up surrounded by fields of maize, wheat, sunflowers, or corn. FindAGrave.com has 9 cemeteries in Kansas names Mt. Zion. The picture below is a small cemetery outside Winfield, Kansas named Mt. Zion. This cemetery, like many others dotted around Kansas, sits by a dead end road surrounded by a field of green growing maize. Less than 200 people are buried there but the cemetery is set beneath shade trees and is well groomed and cared for. These little country cemeteries are so very peaceful and prideful.
They were having some mowing problems at the cemetery where two of my brothers are laid to rest. My youngest brother’s favorite color was orange so I made this cross for him while working on my Fall Crosses. The bright colors help me to locate his grave until this mowing disagreement is over.
The link above is a story that most wont take the time to read but I’m not sure that is if any importance to the people who made sure that these veterans were remembered.
I took this cross to baby Paul’s grave today for Christmas. Below is my original post from 2016 about baby Paul.
Can’t see the forest through the trees.🌳
I tell myself that starting with the New Year I will learn to slow down and take a moment to see what is in the world around me. Living in the present is what it’s called, to take note and of what is around you and learn from it, value it, an awareness of time.
Now there are two things I have learned about living in the present. The first is if you are a parent raising children you are living in the moment ALL the time, the only problem is you are so busy that you barely have time to appreciate a shower much less “the moment”. The second it is so much easier to live in the now and appreciate the world around you when you are older and have finished raising your kids.I experienced one small example of this the other day.
Two of my brothers, my stepfather , and stepbrother are all buried in a small area of a local cemetery. I have been visiting and decorating their graves for various holidays for over 20 years. I know every section of that cemetery, every tree, every new grave. When I visited the cemetery with a friend to place some of my holiday memorial crosses on the graves my friend ask me if this baby’s grave was a relative. Baby grave? What? I looked at the stone that was inches away from my family and read the dates; birth June 16 1895, death July 6, 1895. It’s not that I hadn’t noticed the grave before. I noticed it was old, alone, and it had a male name inscribed. I had also noticed how close it was to my family graves. In 20 years I had never stopped once to actually read the marker. I was somewhat embarrassed to admit to my friend that I had never noticed it. My mother would call that not being able to see the forest through the trees. In other words, we are so busy with our own little world that we don’t acknowledge what is around us.
You can purchase a cross for your loved one(s) at
Or under the same name Floralmemorials
Cemetery names are often the same as the small town the cemetery is near. Often cemeteries will have religious or saint names. Some make reference to water or flowers such Riverside or Rose Hill. Greenwood and Evergreen are very popular names for cemeteries. You would be hard pressed NOT to find an Evergreen or Greenwood Cemetery in every state of the United States.
These pictures are of one such Greenwood Cemetery. The difference is this Cemetery is on Madeline Island, Wisconsin. The Island is on Lake Superior and is beautiful. The Island has a population of 300 – 1500 depending on the time of year. I spotted this cemetery ( the only one on the island ) and wanted to take a look. I might have missed it if it had not been for the iron fence entrance. I did not enter any further than the gate which was open and welcoming, it just didn’t seem right to disturb such a small peaceful place and moment.
One of the items on my life bucket list is to travel to as many national parks as possible. I was able to travel to South Dakota where in the western part of the state are the Badlands, Black Forest, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Monument. South Dakota didn’t disappoint as every mile of it was beautiful.
It is easy to forget when visiting any popular national park, site seeing city, or beach ,that even though it is for tourist, people live around those spots, some of them their entire lives. As we were leaving the town of Custer just past Mt. Rushmore I spotted a small quiet place off the road, a small cemetery. There were no giant statues, or handmade water features. There were, however, plenty of trees, unique and individual headstones, small winding dirt roads, flowers spotted throughout, and it was beautifully maintained. The cemetery was in a small valley off the mountain and it was a reminder that this is a community of people who live their entire lives in the midst of Mt. Rushmore and were laid to rest with much less fanfare.
A few months ago I published pictures I had taken at various family cemeteries and deliveries I made Memorial Day. There were some photos that needed to be shared in a post by themselves. I have written about this little cemetery in Sedgwick , Kansas before. I have someone laid there to rest and every year when I go to decorate the grave I always smile when I first drive in. Hillside Cemetery in Sedgwick is a small cemetery, very well cared for, shows the pride of the community, and its very peaceful with lots of trees and history. ( blog post – May 2, 2015 )
This year when I drove into the cemetery a lump formed in my throat. Every dirt path road had a string of US flags decorating the way. These were full sized flags on poles and it was one of the most moving and breathtaking sites I have ever seen at a cemetery. I’ve posted the pictures below, but I have to say, they just don’t do the moment justice.
The final resting place of those who sacrificed so much for their country is being neglected and forgotten. Retired naval captain Ralph Parrot has made it his mission to restore the respect and dignity to the oldest military cemetery on the west coast — but he can’t do it alone.
When local resident Nestor Aliga heard about Captain Parrott’s work, he started this petition to get the Veterans Administration to repossess this forgotten place in our Navy’s history. Your signature can help.
After the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA closed in 1996, responsibility for maintaining the Mare Island Cemetery slipped through the bureaucratic cracks – allegedly becoming the responsibility of the City of Vallejo.
Without a plan for ongoing maintenance from the U.S. Navy or dedicated funding from the city, the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair. Currently, only a small group of volunteers devote time to doing even the most basic upkeep.
Mare Island Cemetery is no ordinary interment park. It’s the oldest military cemetery on the west coast. It’s on the National Register of Historic places. Victims of the U.S.S. Boston tragedy are buried there, as is Francis Scott Key’s daughter and numerous sailors.
But over twenty years of neglect have left the facility in a deplorable condition. Critics point to leaning, fallen headstones. Meanwhile, other headstones and markers are being propped up with stray pieces of wood. All believe our service members deserve better.
Change.org Campaigns Team
I had wanted to post something like this earlier but I simply put it off over and over. With Memorial Day a few months away I thought I should post the video BEFORE I was ready to start a new one for this year.
Follow the link below to find the story of some true history keepers of Kansas
When I was in school many many years ago history was a class that always seemed to require the heaviest books. History class was OK but it wasn’t my favorite. Maybe the reason school aged children aren’t interested in history is because they have no real history of their own. Learning about of bunch of people and places that you have never known or heard of can be somewhat abstract to the young wandering mind. ( the heavy book thing doesn’t help either ) I have always been a visual learner and to be honest I learned more from watching TV about history than a book when I was a teen. Television may not have been the most accurate at times but at least I could see what a settler may have eaten, lived in, dressed like, well you get the picture. I loved television history series like North & South, Roots, and Bonanza ( yes Bonanza. I had a crush on Hoss)
The Internet provides endless amounts of historical information. Some information is accurate, some isn’t, and some comes at a price or membership. Cemeteries also provide historical information. You can find generations of families names and ages, what branch of military a person served in, what war they fought in, what illness they passed from, and how their families felt at their passing. Cemeteries are quiet, always open and you can set your pace for what you learn. You can even take the time to share history with others by contributing information found on FindAGrave.com. This free website has information about graves from one month ago to hundreds of years past. What can I say, history and cemeteries have become passion!
On a recent visit to my daughter’s house in OKC I ask if she would take me to a couple of cemeteries I had noticed previously when shopping in Edmond.
Memorial Park Cemetery was the first stop. The stone wall was intriguing to me. This cemetery is a mix of old world and new corporate cemetery. Dignity is the current owner and caretaker of this vast 175 acre cemetery.Yes , 175 acres. Dignity has preserved the classic buildings from the 1930’s while still providing for a variety of new that people expect.
Along with the stone wall the original chapel remains open and used when requested. The stone bell tower with reflecting pool is a piece of art and has a working bell in the tower. The ivy growing on one side of the bell tower makes you wonder if you haven’t stepped back in time.
The new funeral home has been built across the street which shows a respect for the original grounds and building. The staff was kind and willing to answer questions when I popped in on a Saturday.
This little cemetery located off of I-35 by the Kansas Coliseum is a reminder of the past and future meeting in time. The highway runs by the untouched country cemetery. It has had several names over time but is currently listed as Maple Grove Cemetery, Valley Center KS. Very few internments have taken place in the last century. The last record I could find was for 1965.
Andover KS has a beautiful and peaceful town cemetery. Like most small town cemeteries it is peaceful, well cared for, and unique. The cemetery has trees, all sizes and shapes of monuments, a gazebo, benches, and of course a well pump for visitors to use. The cemetery is behind a beautiful white metal arch and fence and flagpoles align the street entrance.