For the last few days, however, I have been pulling up microfilm obituaries in the Bay City library, and making side trips to cemeteries. My favorite cemetery, from a purely aesthetic point of view, was the Heavenly Rest Cemetery in Linwood, MI. Even the sign was charming, as cemetery signs go.
The cemetery is out in the countryside, and obviously has less stringent rules than many other cemeteries have. People are free to plant and decorate the grave sites pretty much as they wish - and they do. Their endeavors were both creative and touching. One site even had wind chimes hanging from a tree over the grave of a man who died suddenly when only in his twenties. The chimes added an ethereal, beckoning atmosphere, and the small offerings at his grave showed he had been loved.
Some had surrounded the headstone with a ground cover of annual flowers. Some had left statues, pictures, messages, or flags. Newer gravestones had been engraved with colored images of things the deceased loved -- mountains, deer, and fish. One actually had a man and woman sitting outside their RV! There was one other adornment that caught my eye -- a natural visitor who added an eight-legged flare to the statuary:
When not at the cemetery, I was in the genealogy section of the library, where an odd thing happened. I had just finished looking up some obituaries (they are a treasure of information regarding relationships and who was alive when) and was on my way out when I decided to wander through their small area of books and reference materials. The last row had Bay City high school yearbooks. The main Bay City school has been Central High, and there were two rows of their yearbooks, lined up year after year, decades and decades of students. My mother was born in Bay City, and I found her picture easily in the 1935 book, housed on the top shelf of the two.
I looked down to the bottom shelf where a tiny collection of non-Bay City yearbooks were shelved, and saw a box labelled "Arthur Hill High School" that contained four yearbooks. Arthur Hill is an old school in Saginaw, 18 miles away, and it has been in existence for decades just like Bay City Central -- but only four of the yearbooks made it to this collection. My father was graduated from Arthur Hill High School in 1928. And, as you may have guessed by now, his yearbook was one of those four. So, against all odds, my mother's yearbook and my father's yearbook have been housed only two shelves apart, almost in a direct vertical line, in this small library in Bay City Michigan. Who would have guessed?
The photo below shows the two shelves of Bay City Central yearbooks and the shelf below it containing the non-Bay City books. Where I found my mother's is marked by the pink arrow, my father's, in the Arthur Hill box, with the blue arrow. I added their high school senior pictures from these yearbooks.