Brompton Cemetery part two: Ann's life reminds me of why I love history.
She didn't leave my head.
It's late at night when I write this. I have just pressed the "publish" button for another article that I just finished, an article that I wrote earlier today. About a grave I saw at the cemetery.
Her name was Ann, she lived 1777-1860. And she is buried at the cemetery, with her husband Benjamin, who died a year later, in 1861. For some reason, she has stayed on my mind throughout the whole day, she just seems to want to stay there.
When I came back, I started googling to see what London would have looked like and been when her and Benjamin were alive, but I couldn't really find anything to attach myself to. Got a bit frustrated with the situation, but then it just clicked on me.
I typed 1777 on google, just to see what had happened that year, her birth year, maybe I would get some clues about what London life was about, and the surprise that I got, nearly made me backflip off the chair.
The year 1777 was when James Cook made his first voyage to Australia, but I knew that, I just hadn't thought of it. The year before, 1776, the Americans had signed their declaration of idependence, the US was only a year older than this woman! I knew that as well, but it hadn't crossed my mind either.
But it didn't stop there. She was born the same year as Napoleon's sister. Eliza. She was born the same year Joseph I of Portugal died, and when George III was the king of great britain.
When she was 12, the french revolution came, but I am wondering if it affected her any. When she was 16, they killed Marie Antoinette! Marie Antoinette! I just couldn't believe it.
The list goes on. In 1827, Beethoven died, she lived during the same time period as one of the most famous composers of all time. She was only a couple of years younger than him. (He was born 1770) The same year, 1827, Braille, typing for blind people was invented.
From one thing to another, when she grew up, slavery was legal, it was abolished in Britain in 1833, the year she turned 56. Three years later, at almost sixty, in 1836, she probably heard about London's first ever railway connections.
Before she died in 1860, she could talk about the fact that the United States of America, consisted of 33 states. If she knew. Come to think about it, I just realized that she never knew about Canada being and independent country, becoming a nation in 1867, seven years after her death.
Wanna know more.
Now I am even more fascinated by her and Benjamin and the life that they must have had. It must have been so much simpler back then. Or harder, depends on how you see it.
What I've realized is that she lived in a world that was very different from the London of today. Instead of big red double deckers, they would have had coaches. The cemetery would have been at the end or outside the city, and probably smaller than today.
I catch myself thinking it is so, so long ago. 1777, in the late 1700's this woman grew up. I wonder what her husband must have looked like, how they met. I wonder how you met someone back then, courtship? When did they get married? 17- or 1800's?, she was 23 the year 1800.
I wish I could travel back in time and meet her and Benjamin, to see how things were and what they looked like, meet their kids, if they had any.
They have become like persons to me now. I realize they lived and worked and had thoughts, wonder what they had to worry about. Just like us, they probably had better and worse days.
I am spinning now, I should go to sleep. Maybe tonight I will dream about them, sometimes that happens when I go to the cemetery and "obsess" about dead people.
Tried to talk about it.
I've been so excited and fasinated by this the whole day. When I came back to the house and started googling, I got excited and tried to tell my room mate about this, but he didn't want to hear anything, he just said to me " those are things you should write about, not tell me", and I realized he was not interested. Tried to tell other people here at the house, but they were not interested to listen either. But I won't let it hurt me. I just won't. Even if I am tired right now. I am happy. Happy that Ann and Benjamin reminded me of why I love history.