Tuesday, November 8, 2011

But Wait, There's More!

November 7, 2011

The Friends Meeting House is on Old Jericho Turnpike in Jericho.  Easily overlooked, next to a multi-story professional building on the edge of a commercial area.  The cemetery behind it is hidden by trees from Route 25, and about ten feet above the roadway, so you'd never see it driving by.  I noticed it on my map, and seeing it was near a few others, decided to see what was there.  Walking in I knew right away there wasn't anything to interest me: all the markers were identical, two and a half-foot high dark granite stones, all mostly 20th century burials.  The meeting house dated from the 1700's, but any stones from that period must have weathered away long ago.  Worse, all the stones faced north, away from the light, and this type of granite is hard enough to read even in good light.

I wandered about anyway, after all, I was here, but frankly, this was a boring place. But there's always something...  

Now, I've been to dozens of cemeteries here on the Island, and I've seen every sort of phrasing possible carved on gravestones; from tortured verse on the passing of a child (Lynbrook - "Ah, no more can we list to her laughter/nor see the fond light in her eye/Like a flower she blossomed and faded/T'was God's will that the dear one must die.") to extended descriptions of the manner of death (a 19th century man in Commack, 'by a waggon loaded with hay running over his brest') to the diseases that killed them (Southampton, 'died of the Smallpox', late 18th century).  I've learned that 18th century wives were often referred to as 'consorts', and then 'relicts' a hundred years later.  I've seen huge stones with space for a half-dozen names yet having but one, often that of a young woman, carved off to one side, with the rest of the stone blank.  I've even seen a gravestone for a man who survived a shipwreck.

So here's to Andrew Dott, Jr., the newest addition to my list of odd stones, for the past forty-two years beckoning passersby to 'See Other Side' and read his wife's curious verse:

Quaker Cemetery, Jericho, N.Y.

.

13 comments:

Sharon said...

That is odd indeed. "Genetic disc?"

Francisca said...

That doesn't translate into any language I know. LOL! A humorous addition to Taphophile Tragics.

Peter said...

Sounds like you have found some gems, the first headstone picture is hilarious, glad it didn't say 'turn over'.

freefalling said...

Yep.
You're right.
"There's always something..."!

Dianne said...

Yes I've noticed that expression "relicts" used often on gravestones and old newspaper clippings - I didn't realise that if you had departed this life for over 100 years you suddenly become a relic!! the word sounds mournful.

Ann said...

"See other side". That's great. The text sounds a bit "new agey".

Gemma Wiseman said...

Such quirky wording on the headstones! "The other side" has quite a dark ambiguity! But "genetic disc" offers quite a challenge to possibilities of meaning! Fascinating post!

tapirgal said...

Like . . . "turn the page" . . . so strange!

hamilton said...

I took that "see other side" literally, though I guess it then should have read 'see you on the other side'

Julie said...

I love how the comments have taken this inscription and run with it, Neil. Such a great find. I agree with you: there is always something ...

The use of the word 'relict' is quite distinct from the word 'relic', the former being a reference to ownership, as a wife was deemed in those days. I have seen headstones in my local Camperdown Cemetery with similar inscriptions.

Oncea again, a nicely phrased yarn to ease us into your world. Thank you for your continued contribution to Taphophile Tragics.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

An odd and amusing find. Maybe Quakers in the audience can tell us about genetic discs.

Joan Elizabeth said...

There is sometimes beauty in symmetry and sameness and other times boring.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Epitaph trends come and go - and the language of death often obscures anger - or resignation. But 'genetic disc' is a real original!! WAAAAY before her time!!