December 23, 1864 – January 4, 1943
Charles Densmore was sexton for the Woodlawn Cemetery in Marine City , Michigan for 18 years. I believe that I have acquired my love for cemeteries from my Great Grandpa Charles Densmore. He loved them and I love them!
When I was a little girl, I often visited our local rural Cemetery in Washington, Michigan. As you can see from the Photo there are now house built all around it but when I was a girl it was surrounded by farm fields and 29 mile road was still a gravel road. You would see cows or sheep grazing with an occasional deer tossed in the mix. It was a peaceful place. I did not know anyone who was buried there. It was an old pioneer cemetery and I was fascinated by it. I can still recall riding my bike down the gravel road as fast as I could. I would ride up the sloping entrance of the cemetery into the center of the graveyard, jumping off my bike and dropping it in the middle of the grass.
For the next 30 minutes or so I would wander the cemetery reading the names and dates on the gravestones. In my mind I would create thrilling stories about these people and their lives. There was a Frost Family buried in the cemetery and I was sure that they could all write poetry like there famous relative, Robert Frost. (not really related that I know of but in my imagination they were...) When I found a child, they would become my playmate. One day we might play marbles and the next it might be tag or hide and seek, hiding behind the tombstones. A young woman would transform into a mother or a local farmer’s wife helping to milk cows, gathering eggs in her apron or hauling water to the kitchen. When I saw a military stone, I would imagine soldiers in their uniforms marching off to war and fighting in battles. Old men became like Grandpas letting you sit on their lap while they tell you about the old days, the really old days….Old woman became Grandmas that let you help make cookies and pies and a little mess once in a while. I wish I had written some of the stories down now. I came from a fairly large family and this was something I always did when I wanted to be alone. It was not a conscious thing as I recall but in a large busy family each member needs some alone time and this was mine.
Some times it was fun to lie in the grass and watch the clouds as they formed and dissolved and reformed. I would lay there with my friends who had been laying there long before me.... and have remained there long after I am gone...You might think that I am strange and that is OK... but there are very few places on earth that I like better than a cemetery!