Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meet Karen Cooper-Ray, Author of "Taphophilic Musings"

The sixtieth in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association


What sparked your interest in cemeteries?
I think my interest in cemeteries grew more like a slow burning ember rather than a sudden spark. My entire life I've loved history and hearing my family's stories and lore. I'm very curious and love to ask questions. I also have a vivid imagination and cemeteries feed heartily my imagination and desire to question. Mostly, I love stories, and cemeteries are redolent with narratives that beg to be remembered and told.
Do you have a favorite cemetery or headstone and why is it your favorite?
That is difficult to answer because I find that each cemetery I go into has something unique and special about it. One of my favorites is the Cox Cemetery south of Salem, Oregon. It is an old pioneer cemetery on land that once belonged to Thomas Cox, an early settler in the area. It the cemetery is on a high hill that overlooks a winery and some of the beautiful vineyards here in the Willamette Valley. I love it because it is small and surrounded by old oak trees, and because I respect and appreciate the hardships that the early settlers who are buried on this hill endured. Often one of the vineyard dogs will accompany me on my hike up the hill. The Masonic cemetery in Eugene, Oregon is also dear to me because I took my husband there on our second date.
How does your family feel about your interest in cemeteries?
My entire family loves cemeteries as much as I do. They just haven't parlayed it into a full-blown hobby as I have. They'll be excited that I've become a Graveyard Rabbit.
Why did you become a Graveyard Rabbit?
For a long time I kept my love of cemeteries mostly to myself thinking that people would think me peculiar or morbid for enjoying lingering in cemeteries and reading headstones. Then I stopped caring what anybody thought, (one of the great things about getting older). When I got the idea to write a blog about my local cemetery travels I knew I probably wasn't the first to have this idea so I did a search on-line to find other blogs and websites about cemeteries. I found the Graveyard Rabbit on-line journal and was thrilled to find that there were others out there who get it, who appreciate the sacredness and mystery of cemeteries. I am inspired by the other GYR member blogs and wanted to get to know my fellow brothers and sisters in taphophilia.
For all the would-be rabbits - how about some words of encouragement to become a rabbit.
If you are drawn to any aspect having to do with the subject of cemeteries, go with it! See where it takes you! It is not only a great source of personal enrichment, but also valuable for our communities.

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