Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mary Richardson's Defaced Grave

I hadn't been in Eastern Cemetery lately and decided to drop in there this past weekend, to check on its latest state of decay. I am pleased to report that the volunteer preservationists have been doing some good works - many gravestones that have been toppled and laid face down in the mud for years have been hoisted back up and remounted onto the bases of the markers.

Unfortunately, the ongoing vandalism seems to be getting worse. For all the remounted stones I saw, I also witnessed many more knocked over that hadn't been so the last time I was here.

And then I saw this grave. Someone took an astonishing amount of effort to eradicate the person's name from it. Manufacturers of gravestones engrave the lettering very deep, so you really, really, really have to want to remove a name in order to get it done, and you probably have to spend hours working at it.

So the question before us is, why would someone go to so much trouble to obliterate this person's name? And not only the name, but the dates of birth and death. My first thought was that some idiot kids did this, but you know and I know that kids of today probably don't have the attention span necessary to devote so much time and elbow-grease to any task, not even one of evil mischief and of their own desire. No, I hate to say it, but I feel like somebody really hated somebody here, enough to desecrate their final resting place - and in so doing, perhaps remove the last trace of evidence that this person even existed.

Well, they failed. They left untouched the text on the reverse side of the tombstone, which is for one Joseph Richardson 1901-1974. So once we know that Richardson is the surname for our mystery person, it becomes clear when we look at her side again. And from there, after close scrutiny, I'm certain the name is "Mary".

Someone out there has to know who these people were. Anyone?

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