Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ancient Burial Grounds

Mom's thinking often gets stuck in the 1940's. I know when she's in that frame of mind when she asks, "How do you find out where someone is buried." This is a discussion that we've had over, and over, and over.

Before she married my father in 1950 she was serious about another boyfriend. He was a bad boy. A motorcycle driving, drinking, ex-Marine that lived in the "city." My mom, on the other hand, was a farm girl that lived way out in the country. Her parents (my grandparents) eventually forbid her from ever seeing him again. And in those days, children did what they were told and there was respect for authority. So they broke up and she met and married my father some time later.

It's obvious that it was a terrible time in her life. Much to my grandparents foresightedness, the boyfriend was killed when he crashed on his motorcycle sometime in 1953. My mother is obsessed with finding where he is buried and exibits some resentment toward not being able to go to his funeral. The timeline here is a bit fuzzy and I suppose I will never really know how things happened.

I have tried and failed to find where he is buried, hoping to provide her with some sense of closure before she dies. The trail currently ends at a rural cemetery in Vermont. I will try to find it again this summer.


Max Ambrose said...

If you know what "city" he was from you can canvas the funeral homes in that city via phone/email. I used to work in the funeral industry and most funeral homes keep records forever. They would know where he is down to the cemetery lot number. The funeral home where I worked was in a fairly good sized city and we used to help people with these "fishing expiditions" all the time. A quick check will tell them if they handled the funeral or not. If not, just call the next one. But, does she remember his name? Through NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association) you can get info on every funeral home in the country.

You could also check newspaper microfilm....but as you said the timeline is a bit fuzzy.

Good luck with your search!

Gavin said...

Thanks Max. We did the newspaper search and found the obit last summer. The time table is weird because my mom's memories are mixed up...she recalls him dying before she met my dad but he actually died 3 years after they were married.

The obit said the cemetery where he is buried is in rural southern Vermont. I drove there in the fall hoping I'd stumble upon it but no luck. I can't find any maps that show it. I will check the site you recommended and perhaps someone knows more. I was going about this via the web and government. I hadn't thought about checking w/ a funeral home in the area!

Max Ambrose said...

A funeral home in the area will certainly know where the cemetery is...I hope you find it.