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Crazy Cemetery Stories - Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Updated on June 13, 2012
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Time for lucky number seven in my wacky series based on my years as a cemetery office manager. For this set of stories, I venture outward a bit into the neighborhood. By now you know that within the gates there have been all sorts of odd folks, living and deceased, plus some head-scratching and side-splitting events. Well folks, why keep all the fun locked inside? Turns out the neighbors can be loads of fun too!

Is That You, Lord?

This story was shared with me by a woman who lived in the neighborhood immediately next to the cemetery.

New to the neighborhood, this neighbor was still getting used to the routine sights and sounds that become so commonplace that after a while you no longer notice them. Among these was the tolling of the cemetery bell tower. She could hear the various tolls and chimes as she enjoyed her yard on a nice day. She enjoyed them and quickly grew accustomed to them. They were set to a rather low volume and did not chime terribly early or late and she thought it added quite a nice touch to the neighborhood.

One Sunday morning, she was awoken by the chimes. This was out of the ordinary because she was so used to them that she had no trouble sleeping through them. On this particular morning they were louder than usual. They also seemed to playing a rather lengthly hymn. Then they stopped. And she heard a voice! “He has Risen!” She sat up in shock. Who on earth, or above it, was that?! The voice continued to speak! And then it dawned on her. This was a sermon and that was the voice of a minister. And then she had her second epiphany. It was Easter morning. She was hearing an Easter Service broadcast over the bell tower.

After she realized what she was hearing, our neighbor settled herself back in bed, and listened to the remainder of the service. Her nerves much calmer once she realized that the voice was being broadcast over the graves, not coming from or high above them!

Every Easter Sunday, since around 1940, the cemetery holds an Easter Service beginning at 7 am. It can be heard throughout the grounds so that families can gather at their loved ones’ resting places or their favorite spot in the cemetery to listen. Now each Easter Sunday she enjoys the hymns and sermon. And has a little chuckle over her first Easter in the neighborhood when she was jolted out of bed by the voice of well, you know who.


Source

The Lover’s Quarrel

“Dana, it’s Becky.” Oh no. Calls from staff members out ion the grounds attending services were almost never good. What could she possibly want? “You need to call the cops.” That was undoubtedly worse than anything I could have imagined her needing. And why do you suppose the police were to be summoned? Well becuase the neighbors across the street were arguing and they could hear it at the graveside service.

This is really an emergency? I am sure she could sense my hesitation because she promptly began to summarize what it was that was being yelled at ear splitting volume. I will spare you the details and only say that there were vulgarities of the like that make even this girl cringe a bit. Oh, and death threats. She also was pretty sure at least one item had been thrown. So, burial service disruption or not, it seemed like a call to the boys in blue was in order.

I quickly made a phone call to the authorities, insisting that they come right away. And was met with the same hesitation I had shown. Rushing over to quiet disruptive neighbors did not seem like a priority that day. I then gave the details of the quarrel in all their shocking glory. Unedited of course. That did the trick. She assured me an officer would be dispatched right away.

All that was needed now was for me to give her the address. I did not know it. I might drive by those houses every day, but I surely did not memorize the street numbers as I passed. She decided she would settle for the color of the house. I wasn’t sure. I never asked Becky exactly which house it was. There are only about four on that stretch. Just when she was about to ask me for another identifier, I not so politely said something to the effect of “It’s the house across from us with the screaming couple out front! I think he will be able to find them!” She assured me someone was on thier way.

The police quickly arrived. At that point I realized I had a partial view of the house from one of the office windows, so of course I watched what transpired. You know, just to be sure everything was ok. The couple was brought into the house where I assume a very calm and rational conversation took place. Because obviously calm and rational is how these two operated. There were at least no shots fired and that is always a good thing. I was interrupted by my work (always hated when that happened), so I did not see if anyone accompanied the officer back to the police car. I do know he was in there much longer than it takes to say “Sir. Ma’am. Can you please keep it down.”

As serious as any possibility of domestic violence is, we still found humor in that day as we always tried to do. Can you imagine being up at that graveside as the minister’s sermon was peppered with profanity? I certainly hope little Billy’s mother covered his ears! If not, she might have had quite a bit of explaining to do on the drive home. Not the sort of vocabulary lesson you would expect after grandpa’s funeral!

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    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 4 years ago from Ohio

      MartieCoetser - I am glad you liked this.... I agree with what you say about shouting. It really is an awful behavior. As is letting anger get the best of you - silent or loud... I bet your children were positively terrified. I would love to see that. When it comes to parenting, you do need to have the "mean" side that lets the kds know who is boss! :)

      I hope you do read a few more of these. there are a few great stories.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      I never-ever heard my parents argue. Their whispering behind the closed doors of their bedroom was the only sign to me that they might be angry about something, and silly me always thought that I was the one who had done something wrong....

      So, in my adult life, when I get angry, I tend to talk softer through clenched teeth, And this is when my children knew that I was ready to punish them about one or the other misbehavior....

      I know it is not always possible to control anger, but shouting is a bad habit not suitable for decent people....

      I loved the read, Dana, and want to read the rest of your graveyard stories asap...

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Docmo - That is a huge compliment coming from you! I would love to publish something. Haven't the first clue how to do it. I only started writng three months ago! I don't even have a website. You have given me a little nudge to start getting more serious. Thank you!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      I'm loving this series. Dana, you really need to publish them as a collection of 'Cemetery shenanigans' . These are truly hilarious.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Christy - It was quite a place! I am so glad to have had the experience. And glad in a way that I have moved on... That lady and I had a good laugh over her story. What a funny situation to be in!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Ooh your stories about your days working at a cemetary are interesting. I can just imagine in the first story the woman thinking she is hearing the voice of above!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      teaches -

      I still laugh at that one when I think about it. Odd voices from nowhere! Can you imagine what that must have been like?! They are all POSITIVELY TRUE stories. I change some names and tiny details here and there to protect identities and keep the stories short. Life (and death) really is that funny! And I am just nutty enough to want to share it in my own unique way. I believe "warped" was the term billybuc used :)...Thanks so much for reading. Glad you like them.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Laughing still at the bell tower Easter story. I don't know where you get these stories, but you tell them all well.

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Bill - thanks for stopping by. I went with a noticeably less morbid approach on this one. Don't worry. I will make up for it next time! :) glad I could brighten your day. You brightened mine as well with your kind words. Take care!

      Pamela - you are right. With so much on the internet it is easier to get family info without contacting the cemetery. One neat thing is that we would get a lot of people that found out through research that they had family buried there and they would make a trip to visit. It was alwaysfun helping them and hearing their stories. Thanks for stopping back! Glad to meet someone who thinks this stuff is as interesting as I do! :)

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Yes, as you said in your reply -- cemetaries are a very good primary source of genealogical information. It used to be so exciting (25 years ago) to write and request information, then wait for the treasure trove to arrive by mail from the kind, but busy person at the cemetary. Nowadays, we can get so much information online via cemetaries, but it's only three-quarters as exciting because there is no anticipation time involved. Either way, the cemetary records often can provide good information leading to the next primary records such as a death, marriage and/or birth record.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always a pleasure to read one of these; gets my day started with a good laugh. Well done my friend; I hope this finds you happy and feeling well. Great job Dana!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Linda (Sunshine) - OK you are off the hook. As for the folk lying arouns (ha ha very funny) I don't know about boring, I never asked them. But I do know that people are Dying To Get In There! (couldn't help myself!)

      Pamela Kinnaird W - I definitely share your view on cemeteries. The one I worked at was very well kept, full of flowers and ponds and places to sit. The old crumbly cemeteries are very interesting to me. Like gardens of stories! AND (more so in years past, but still today) cemeteries were places of record keeping (ages, causes of death, names, lots of geneaology - all required to be kept)... Thank you for the votes!

      Mr. Happy - Thnaks for stopping to read. GLad you liked it. Yup. Folks like me work at cemeteries. AND funeral homes. Oh the stories I could tell about them! There are a lot of "normal" people in the death care industry, but a lot of oddballs too. It takes a certain kind of person to work with death every day and not fall apart. We were always respectful, but we were a family too (staff and customers alike) and we had our share of good times.

      Karre - Thanks for stopping by to read another one. There are some great ones coming in the future. As soon as I can figure out how to write them and keep those involved anonymous and not shock the pants off my readers too much.... See you around. :)

    • Karre profile image

      Karre Schaefer 5 years ago from Eskridge, Kansas

      I'm hooked on your stories. These are great. Thanks. Karre.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I had to stop-by to read a story from someone who has worked at a cementary - I always found cementary jobs interesting to think about. Or the more interesting part in my mind always has been: "Who would work in a cementary?" Now I know. : )

      I like walking through cemetaries. It's quiet and peaceful, for the most part. Thanks for the interesting read. Cheers!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I enjoyed these stories. I like walking through a cemetary if I come across one where I'm visiting nearby. Some cemetaries on Maui are a profusion of newly cut flowers and silk flowers -- so beautiful -- while other cemetaries look as though no one has walked through them in fifty years. I especially like to walk through the neglected graveyards. I like to look at the names on the gravestones and wonder about the people who once walked the earth.

      Voting your hub up and interesting.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I've been to a few. Don't wanna go back. I imagine all those people must be so bored just lying around with nothing to do. Ha!!

    • DanaTeresa profile image
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      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Linda - Thanks! I considered it like working at a park where we happened to bury people. It is a beautiful place. Oddly enough, I learned so much working there about myself and about how to be an excellent admin (not a bad talent to have these days). I will have to show you around a cemetery one of these days. You will have a totally different perspective!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Your cemetary stories are a hoot and holler!!! You are a fine storyteller. I give you credit for working at a cemetary. I tend to stay as far away as possible from them. You got my votes!!!