Thursday, October 7, 2010

Meet Sue Jones, author of "Sleeping Gardens and other final resting places . . ."

The seventy first in a series
featuring a member of the
Graveyard Rabbit Association


Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you.........

My name is Sue Jones and I live in Saffron Walden in Essex, England. I have only been a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits since the beginning of this Summer, however my interest in the subject goes way back to childhood.

As children, my cousin and I would slip off to enjoy the peace and quietness of the local cemetery as it was far more interesting and a whole lot less dangerous than a boisterous playground. We would search for the graves of other children to discover their ages and also any headstone that described a particular cause of demise. We also knew, as children so often do without having to be told, that these were places of quiet respect and usually the domain of visiting adults. So we invented an excuse, should we happen to be challenged about our presence there, for we would simply adopt a Grandmother on our way in and say that we had simply dropped in to see her. They wouldn’t deny us that surely ?

For children have a natural curiosity of things of a morbid nature, and love nothing more than to listen to ghost stories and legends of things that ‘go bump in the night’, even though they remained scared of the dark and needed to sleep with the light-on well into adulthood. My Grandfather had a superb sense of the theatrical, and filled my head with all sorts of nonsensical yarns. These tales simply fanned the flames that fascinated and terrified me in equal measure all the more.
But growing up and putting childish things aside, as you do when raising a family of your own takes over for a while. Then after they have grown and leave to raise families of their own, you can indulge yourself in those simple pleasures that strolling through a cemetery or churchyard can bring. Only now that you are an adult, no one will question your motive for being there, even though you arrive with a camera instead of flowers and flit from tomb to tomb taking photographs and making notes, rather than visiting just the one relative.

I am most fortunate that my husband, also enjoys these visits of discovery, although it must be said, that his interest is prone to wane far sooner than my own. However we have a cunning plan, by firstly locating the nearest Pub before entering the chosen ‘Sleeping Garden’ so that when he is done with looking around, he heads off for a beer.
Or two.........

Over the years my family and friends have all gone along quite readily with many of my other quirky little interests, so I think that they have resigned themselves to accept me and my foibles rather than go to the effort of raising a quizzical eyebrow. They are an open minded and tolerant bunch on the whole and my close friends will even offer to stop the car when they spot a tombstone or two themselves, without any prompting from me, even when we are supposed to be on a shopping trip at the time. They think it’s rather cute to see my face light up when I find a little treasure – a Tutankhamen moment - and so they have even accompanied me on a visit at times, at their own suggestion I may add.

I was interested in joining the GYR association, because I had always believed that I was rather alone with my interest in things funereal. I had bunches of photographs, but just like ‘Billy no Mates’ I had no one to share them with, for they were not generally appreciated when shown as a part of your holiday ‘snaps’ collection.

I was quite happy though, just to wander in the tranquillity of the great outdoors and enjoy the monumental masonry, especially that of the Victorian era, for they really knew a thing or two about making a lavish statement.So it was the serene Art of these places that lured me back into visiting them again as an adult and as my husband and I travelled the world, we would often locate a cemetery of interest and go along for a look and take a ‘few’ pictures.
I have not yet been bitten by the personal genealogy bug, but I do find it fascinating to dip into the past of others, like a bran tub, you never know what you may end up pulling out. It’s a bit like being an Historical Detective and good old ‘google’ is a wonderful magnifying glass for revealing some of the stories behind the names on the headstones.

Up until I became a member of the association of GYR, my collection of tombstone pictures had been no more than a collection of images. It was only through reading the fascinating blogs of others and what they had discovered, that I realised that each headstone was like the first page of the novel of someone’s life story. So I felt that I should really know a little more about the owners of the gravestones that I had taken photos of and now I’m hooked, line and sinker.

And if you were wondering where my blog name Holisticrocs comes from, it is because of the work I do, as I am an Holistic Therapist and I’m currently training as a Shamanic Practitioner, so please feel free to have a look at my other blog ‘Banging the Drum’ which has a link on ‘Sleeping Gardens’. And if you should care to follow my blog, then I look forward to meeting you then.



StoneGardens said...

Nice to finally meet you Sue! Are you the one from Nottingham, that's been visiting my blog - Stone Gardens? If so, thanks for looking (not many do)!!

Anonymous said...

I smiled to see the Crack the Whip sculpture in your post. There's another copy of it in my hometown of Flint, Michigan, in Sunset Hills Cemetery.