Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet Tammi Thiele, Author of "Escape To The Silent Cities"

The sixty first in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association



TAMMI THIELE



I've been interested in cemeteries for as long as I can remember. As a child my dad would take my brother and I to the cemetery where my grandparents were buried. We would spend hours trying to find the oldest stones. It was like a game for us, so I learned at an early age that cemeteries were not the scary places that many people believe them to be.

As a teenager I would spend hours wandering around trying to imagine what the people were like that belonged with the stones I would photograph. I have always been drawn to the older sections with the elegantly carved stones and individuality that can be found in almost every cemetery. As I would wander amongst the stones grand images of Victorian women in long elegant dresses and gentlemen in the finest of attire would fill my mind. These imaginary people would wander thru the cemeteries right along with me paying their respects to the long deceased family members.

As I grew older the whole concept of death and what happens afterward became a fascinating subject to me. So I decided to go to college to obtain a degree in Forensic Anthropology. Sadly I choose not to work in the field but it has opened my eyes to so many different aspects about death that I would never have thought about before.

Now as an adult, I still enjoy roaming around cemeteries photographing the unique stones. I love the angels most. But I am always excited to find a mystery that makes me want to know more about that particular person. Thankfully, the internet has made it much easier to discover the information that sheds light on the peoples lives.

My family and friends have always thought my obsession with cemeteries is odd and a bit morbid. But I am okay with that. I just say they haven't figured out how interesting they can be. They really began to think I was odd when I proposed the idea of having my wedding in a cemetery on Halloween, of all days. I had found the perfect one, it had a beautiful gazebo in the middle of the beautiful Fall foliage. Luckily my husband was all to happy to have our wedding there. Although he doesn't enjoy wandering the cemeteries like I do, he does put up with my constantly making him stop at new ones. He sits in the car and says, “Just tell me when to stop,” or, “You go, and I'll follow in the car”. Now tell me that isn't love. My nine-year-old daughter has her own camera she likes to use. Hopefully she is a Graveyard Rabbit in the making.

I enjoy this hobby so much that I have recently founded a small group of like minded individuals called Grave Addicts of Arkansas. That way there is never a shortage of people to wander the cemeteries with me or someone to chat about my new finds with. We venture out almost every week looking for new places to go and new mysteries to find.

I joined the Graveyard Rabbits Association to broaden my network of like minded friends. And so far I have learned much from the group and I look forward to learning more. And the best way to learn about neat cemeteries are from the ones who love them.

I believe this will be a hobby that will stay with me for the full duration of my life. Then, hopefully, someone will enjoy my headstone as much as I have enjoyed others.

Happy graving to each of my fellow Grave Addicts and Grave Rabbits!







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