A cemetery is a place to put dead people of course, but there is much more to a cemetery than people actually think. A cemetery is a business evening if it is not-for-profit. But in the more abstract sense a cemetery is a park, a museum without walls, a place for remembrance, gateway to heaven, and the list can go on. This class, A Place as Text, has transformed my thoughts about cemeteries. I never was freaked out about cemeteries, but it has never been a happy place for me to go either. I didn’t realize how much I would learn whether it is Cincinnati’s history, a bird beak carving, tree types, stone types, different marbles designs, architecture, religion, plotting/burial designs, and the list can go on again. In my initial response about the class I stated that I couldn’t wait to see what Mrs. Hunley had in store for us but I had no idea that I would learn all of this. Each week I was eager to learn more. There were plenty of times were I would be explaining my class in Spring Grove to people and they would look at me like I was crazy when I was as enthused and as detailed as I was. A lot of times they didn’t even have a response because it was out of the ordinary to them. There were numerous of people, including my mom, who couldn’t understand that class was at Spring Grove Cemetery every week. I guess they could understand that there is things to be learned in a cemetery, because if they are anything like me then they only go to a cemetery to visit their loved ones and never really look at anyone else’s burial site. There is one thing I know for sure, when you visit Spring Grove you don’t have a choice but to look at other burial sites. Well you have a choice but how can you resist. I want to do my own little tour at Spring Grove and take my family and show them all the wonderful things there are to see. I am sure it will teach them some things as well, since Spring Grove has a lot of history to be learned.
A cemetery as I said before is a place to put dead people, but I believe it is also a place for the living. Living is who visits the burial sites. The living is who can learn from the history that is displayed in Spring Grove. The living, in some cases, picks how they want the burial sites for their family members to look. In most cases the living design the burial site the way they want to remember their loved ones, or how they want others to remember their love ones. A cemetery is a place the living can go for remembrance. If you think about the living are the only ones who interact with the cemetery. Of course we have to have a place to put dead people, but to create a cemetery and to be as brilliant as the founders of Spring Grove was, then we have an organized happy place to put our dead to be viewed for remembrance and for history.
A cemetery is also a place for self reflection. It makes you realize that life is short and you never know when it is your time. When you are looking at the different burial plots and you see what people have accomplished as far as careers or inventors, it makes you think about what you want to do in life and what you want to accomplish. So if you want to shot for the stars then you can do it because anything is possible. Being in a cemetery and looking at all the infant deaths really makes you realize that you don’t have all the time in the world to accomplish your goals. There are some burial plots that have an hour glass on them. This tells you that time is always ticking and it will eventually run out.
There is a lot to be learned in a cemetery as mentioned above. You can learn the history that is there to be learned. You can see a difference with the young deaths before drugs and doctors are as advanced as they are now. You can also learn how to read there, and I am not talking about how to read sentences but rather how to read symbolism. You can read a person’s story by just looking at the iconography on their plots to see their professions, their loyalty to marriage, their religion, their family history, and a lot of other things. You can also learn how to drive in a cemetery, which a lot of people said they have learned how to drive in Spring Grove.
During these last nine weeks I have been transformed, and been completely blown away by my experience here in Spring Grove. I have learned about my Cincinnati’s history. I have enjoyed looking at how beautiful the landscaping, architecture, and the art that Spring Grove displays. I have realized that there is more to a place than just the obvious. You have to look at the details and the story behind the obvious. I would encourage everyone to visit Spring Grove even if it is just to walk through as an enjoyable walk through a park.