Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet Sandy Vincent Peavey and Linda Hagen, "The Newaygo County Cemetery Ladies"

The sixty third in a series

featuring a member of

The Graveyard Rabbit Association



I am Sandy Vincent Peavey and am the Local History Room Supervisor at the Fremont Area District Library. When it came time to hire some one else to work in here I called in my trusted friend Linda Hagen who also has a love of genealogy and cemeteries. Together we some how manage to keep the Local History Room going while still finding time to pursuit our love of cemeteries. We make a good balance I am a little more outspoken and unorganized, Linda is a little shy and organized. Together we balance each other out.

I was raised going to cemeteries with my Grandmother hearing stories about the people buried there. My Grandmother was my best friend, mentor and teacher so the experience of those afternoons left me with a love of history and genealogy. The peacefulness and beauty of the cemetery is something that both Linda and I enjoy. As Linda says it is where she met her Great Great Grandparents.

Preservation of cemeteries is very important to both of us as we see so many stones being destroyed by vandals, weather and just plain old age. We are both dedicated to preserving all the information that we can before we loose it. We are trying to photograph as well as record the written information on the stones when ever we can. In our Cemetery Walks that we put together yearly (we skipped last year due to my foot) we talk about "reading a cemetery" teaching people about the beauty of the cemetery, why we do the customs we do and where they stem from. We also do a impersonation of people who have been buried there from all walks of life. Linda does Calico Jane, a lumber cook, and I do myths and lore of death and dying. It has become very popular in the area. We are now helping others in the area do their own walks. Visiting a cemetery is a walk through history of the area. There is so much you can learn by reading the stones. Then there is genealogy, which is where Linda and I both started this passion. You have to visit a few cemeteries to do genealogy but what you don't realize when you start is it is just the beginning. One stone leads to another and before you know it your hooked!

Linda's favorite headstones are the handmade ones as she has featured regularly on our other blog Cemetery Divas . She enjoys the ingenuity that people have used over the years to make these stones. I also enjoy these stones but I love the ones that have carvings and are more of a piece of art. The stones out in the eastern part of the United States where my ancestors come from have such fascinating stones. To my step children's horror I can spend days just walking through the cemeteries. Apparently they felt this was slightly weird. My husband has gone along with me reading the stones and he even enjoys himself as long as it doesn't last to long.

Linda's Crazy Aunts go along with her cemetery hopping but her farm boys (Husband and two sons) just put up with her. To the two of us we find it the most natural thing to do is to slow down when you see a cemetery and if you have time a quick drive or walk through. Seems like the only natural thing to do to us.

We became Cemetery Rabbits one day at work when another site came up telling about it. I was fascinated with the idea and signed up right away. Linda was told about it the next day but knowing Linda I was certain she would jump on board right away. We love reading other Cemetery Rabbits sites and learning as we go. My biggest problem was I started getting over whelmed feeling I had to keep up with a schedule of postings. I now have learned to relax and post as often as I can but not pushing myself. If I push myself I loose the enjoyment I get from blogging. Linda does most of the blogging on Cemetery Divas blog and puts me to shame but as I said before she is more organized. We just have fun with it and hopefully others enjoy what we have to say. We love getting comments so we know people are reading our blogs and their feedback is wonderful. We started just because it was another format to share our love of genealogy and cemetery preservation and education.

1 comment:

Dorene from Ohio said...

You make a marvelous team!