Evansville, Indiana extended:
At Oak Hill Cemetery among the hundreds of granite and marble monuments, lies the resting place of a family much different than many of their peers, the Harrison’s. Elizabeth Harrison was said to be a queen to a tribe of Romany gypsies that had emigrated to the United States from England sometime in the middle of the 19th century. The Harrisons became a prominent family in the area and it’s said, that when Elizabeth died, more than fifty Romany families came to the funeral, setting up camp in the area before her enormous funeral procession which was watched by most of the town.
The Harrison’s monument reads:
Mother and Father have gone to rest.
The ones we loved so dear.
A place is vacant in our home which can never be filled.
I have always had an intense fascination with nomadic cultures, perhaps the fascination stems from my own wanderlust. The idea of living a life consistently on the move, seeing new and strange places seems a Keruoac-ian cliche, but I spent a large portion of my childhood on long road trips staring out the window of our old Ford E-150 van. I’d watch as the Sonoran desert transitioned into the wide open spaces of the Great Plains, then to the trees and rolling hills of the South before finally transforming again into the dense woodlands and swamps of Florida. Each corner brought something new, each hill dropped our van into something new and wondrous. I still can’t shake that childlike wonder and I hope I never do.
Whenever I visit cemeteries, I’m so fascinated and at times overwhelmed by the veteran’s section of each cemetery. The stark white headstones and the humble plain etchings speak volumes to me and I cannot help wandering the narrow rows reading each name wondering who they were, what they did and the kind of men they were. The unmarked monuments I find always leave me with a profound sense of sadness, but also some satisfaction knowing that though they remain unnamed to us; they lie among their comrades in arms.