Decay On An Angel Headstone

With the lethally hot weather in central Virginia, my daily walks have been early in the morning.  That doesn’t stop me from wanting to leave my desk at noon and get a break.  Lately, I’ve visited the Hollywood Cemetery during lunch to drive around and see the various graves.  I get out of my car for some walking and photoshooting, but mostly I drive it.

I’ve generally loved cemeteries – the quiet and peacefulness of a final resting place.  I found it sad though that so many of the women buried here have only their names engraved on the headstones.  Some listed whose wife and daughter they were, others mentioned the words mother or sister.  Many more of the men had accomplishments on their headstones, from politicians to doctors to confederate soldiers.

One woman, Mary Elizabeth Frayser – 99 years old when she died – was celebrated for being a “pioneer leader among teachers, social workers, and organizers of rural libraries in the south”.  The headstone of Pulitzer Prize winning author, Ellen Glasgow, said simply “tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new”.  Susie Starke’s headstone read, “those who knew her best loved her most”.  They were some of the few to have something inscribed that told you about their life.

There was also a great tribute to love from Leigh & Alice Robinson, whose joint headstone was engraved with “their hearts were fashioned alike”.  William & Elizabeth Taffner’s joint headstone said, “another step into Trinity’s great dance, to which we are all invited.”

The grave markers go way back to the early 1800’s (maybe even earlier – it’s a pretty big cemetery).  There is a large section for confederate soldiers, many of whom died miles from their homes.

While taking my pictures, I’d noticed the decay on this angel’s face, but the statuary was beautiful nonetheless.  Not all the grave markers have so much decay, some look so new that I suspect they were replaced sometime in the last 20 to 50 years.

Word for tomorrow – SUBSEQUENT.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.

To see how others might interpret today’s randomly selected word, check out other challenge participants in the box at the right.  For more information on participating in the challenge, click  the tab marked “challenge invitation”.


dogear6 View All →

I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at or write me at dogear6 [at] gmail [dot] com.

14 Comments Leave a comment

  1. As a youngster cemeteries frightened me. Hawaiians are very superstitious by nature. But since moving to the mainland and becoming so enamored of olden times, I think headstones are romantic. They tell a story…of a life that once was…and of those lives that were left behind. :)

  2. This reminds me of the picture my son once took for me of a very old angel statue at Harper’s ferry.

    I love Virginia. It’s not my hometown, but it’s the place my daughter and I want to live out our lives in–Harrisonburg, Virginia. We must be almost neighbors?

    • I looked at the map and I’m about two hours away from you (near Richmond). Do you ever come to Richmond? I’d love to meet you. I’m not sure when we will go out to Shenendoah Valley, but I will certainly let you know if we’re out that way.

      It took me a while to get used to Virginia, but I like it. I wish I lived closer to my daugher in Atlanta, but this is much closer than we’ve ever lived by her.

    • It really bothered me to see how diminished so many of the women were – their identities were that of their husbands and parents.  Almost none of the men were marked as “son of. . .”. 

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