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.
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.
I think one of the best things about being born and living your entire life in the same city is nothing really changes, not really. Yes new streets are paved and old ones torn out, buildings go up and are torn down, people move into the city and move out, but your memories in the city never change. I can drive down any street in my city and it will bring back a memory, some sad, some not. Change is hard for all of us to some degree or another. Most of us when we are young we see change but it doesn’t seem to bother us a lot. Now as we age we have a tendency to resent change. I’m sure you have heard others say, “ things were better in our time” or “things aren’t as good as they used to be” These statements are true of course, or maybe you just roll your eyes when you hear someone older than you express that sentiment. The loss of someone you love is heartbreaking and of course this brings change. Change you are never ready for , but still it comes- relentlessly. I have found this to be true , this time right now, this very moment is everyone’s moment. As long as you are alive this is your time.
Six years ago my daughter gave me a gift that transformed my life. I realize that is a bold statement but I genuinely feel that way. The gift was an iPad. Now understand that I learned windows on a desktop with lots of tears and bad words. I could email, look at the internet, and do some graphics but nothing like my iPad. It was easy to use, I never felt like the iPad would blow up if I hit the wrong key, and no tears were involved. No I understand you might think that my daughter helped me learn but no she told me I was on my own after setting up my email and cloud account and showing me where I could find apps to download. I taught myself and opened up an online store. I worked social media and with three different printers over 4 years I could master anything. I do almost EVERYTHING online. The reason I tell you this rather long winded story is this: I’m not young. I cringe when I have someone tell me that they can’t learn computer, they can’t keep up, or they don’t want to. I cringe because I am the same age as the people telling me this and all I hear is fear. I help when they ask a question in regards to “online questions” and I even go so far as to do a lot of things for them online which I don’t really mind at all. I do worry how isolated seniors will feel as technology flies at the speed of sound these days. Each year a senior doesn’t learn the more they will not understand what the generation below them is talking about, the more they won’t understand the world and how to function within it, and the more they will be afraid.
I must start by telling you that I am so grateful for my following of customers. Just the thought of someone understanding what I do and why while meeting their needs is the best feeling in the world.
One of my customers wrote me a message some time ago and I have not forgotten his words since.
You might like to hear that I took the orange cross to the plot of ground that was once the house where my mother was born, in East Baltimore, 101 years ago, on her birthday this past August. It was a fine and fitting memorial to her and my aunts and grand parents, in Orioles territory. Doubtless many noticed and admired it on that green space walk way yet no one bothered it during the entire week that I was there.
I’m one of those people that notice my surroundings possibly more than others but I have always enjoyed the strange and unique world we live in.. Have you ever seen something outside and wondered why it was there? Maybe it was just one shoe in the middle of the road, or a ribbon tied around a pole, a hat in a tree, or a bunch of balloons floating by?
We may not always know the reason something is were it is but by just taking note we have become one piece of someone’s small patch in time, part of a small remembrance.
I decided to become part of his story and created this cross for him as a gift of gratitude.
Now I should start this post by telling you I’m a baby-boomer, and the millennial generation is a favorite group of mine.
First let me remind anyone reading this post that we were all young even though we are very selective with our memory when it comes to how we behaved, our opinions, our attitudes towards others who were older than us. I can remember thinking that I was smarter, better acting, and our opinions were ,of course, so much more important than our elders. Now having said that, I think we could agree that feeling “all knowing” when you are young is just a normal part of growing as a human.
What really bothers me about the next generation that follows mine is that they are being bombarded by the internet , as well as my generation, as to how pampered, babied, or spoiled they are. Now don’t get me wrong I suffered the same comments when I was young by the generation before mine, but the internet and news seem obsessed with the Millennial generation.
Let me remind anyone reading this that EVERY generation of humans has had a burden to carry: divorce, wars, depressions, social change. And it is completely human to think that our generation was the most remarkable group of humans that ever lived. The Millenials will suffer from this selective memory as they grow older just as every generation before them has.
Now that I’ve covered the WHAT I’m going to tell you WHY!
My children are all of this generation, and as a proud parent I just can’t imagine criticizing an entire group of people from which my children belong. I admire what I have learned from this generation and I have learned a lot. The tech age arrived so quickly and as a mother I had to learn right along side my own kids in order to help them with school and their futures. The tech age surpasssed my knowledge quickly and by the time they were teenagers I was asking them for help learning about one new tech item or another.
This generation holds no fear when it comes to the truth and never ask one a question you don’t want to hear the answer to. My generation was more about hiding truths from our parents than confessing or explaining them. I admire their fearlessness as a group. They don’t fear trying new things, going new places, or starting their lives over and over in various cities and job markets. I never even imagined living anywhere but where I was born and you stayed at a job as long as possible!
Now don’t get me wrong there are some things about Millennials that concern me like tattoos for instance, I do believe the generation following the Millennials will have some comments to make in regards their obsession with body art. I’m also concerned the stress they endure will have on their minds and bodies as the societal burdens they carry will become very heavy, national debt, retirement, parenting, politics, the list is long.
What I pray is that the Millennial generation will come out the other side with some of these current problems solved so they can grow old and complain about the generation that follows.
This past weekend I spent the day with my oldest daughter and a good friend of hers. In between shopping and while at lunch several conversations were discussed. Jasmine ( the friend ) talked about how the industry she worked in was full of ” older men” who had a fear of technology and often that fear came out in very cranky phone conversations. It was interesting that she could recognize the reason for the cranky phone conversations. She went on to explain that my daughter and herself were part of an “in between generation”. She said that they weren’t Millenials and they weren’tBaby Boomers but that they feel into a large group of people in which technology was growing at just as fast as they were as people. This group had cell phones in college- not grade school. They had just really gotten use to downloading music- not buying cd’s.
Later in the day I stopped to think about the differences from my generation and the one before mine. The world changed quickly for my generation. I think my childhood and teen years were simple but I wasn’t really paying attention to the subtle changes until I became a parent. Electronics were everywhere and we fought to keep our children’s youth as simple as ours even with the game systems, DVD players, and MP3 players. The “nuclear” family was changing from what we understood it to be just like the generation before me struggled with the idea of “single parent households”.
What I realized between the conversations is that EVERY generation has its struggles and learning curves to deal with. Some people view the change in society as a curse or not worth learning to adapt to. Some amaze me with their willingness to learn. I have a neighbor that is 82 years old and very efficient on her iPhone and iPad.
My daughter’s friend said she had heard I was selling online and wanted to see what it was all about. I showed her my online shops, my Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and of course this blog. When I was finished she ask me why people buy my crosses and I explained some of the reasons and how much I enjoyed sharing what I do with others. She looked at me confused and said, “I don’t get it , is this a generational thing”? I couldn’t help but to smile.