>Stumbling through the cemetery

>My husband Fred and I had finally found the historic Alder Grove cemetery on our third foray up Highway 34. Finally armed with directions from the Waldport Heritage Museum, we only had to u-turn three more times before we turned right on the correct road. It had a subtle sign that said “Aldergrove Cem. Rd.” Duh. Sure enough, about a mile west, gravestones rose out of the knee-high weeds, elderberries, and buttercups.
The instant we stopped the car, it began to rain. It had drizzled off and on all day, but this was serious Oregon rain, and it showed no intention of stopping. Yes, even in July. We raised our hoods and set forth. The cemetery wasn’t well kept. The weeds were out of control, and the fake flowers were faded, but we enjoyed reading the gravestones, some as old as the late 1800s. My favorite, the resting place of a Mr. Kramer, said: Kramer’s Landing. Probably a fisherman.
We visited family groups fenced together, babies, dead soldiers, beloved mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.
It was a great find, so intriguing we didn’t even notice when the rain stopped.
So what does this have to do with freelancing for newspapers? First, I should always have my camera with me. The trip was unplanned. After lunch at the crowded Fish Tails restaurant in Aquarium Village, my husband said, let’s go find those cemeteries. I’ll probably never get out there again, and I had no camera. Second, there are stories in these places. Who were these people? Why are they buried way out here beyond the quarry? Do people still get buried there? Does anyone take care of this place? Who, why and how? There were little signs on some of the graves from the mortuary back in town. Is a project going on that ought to be written about?
We often visit old cemeteries. You can read whole life stories in the few words on a gravestone. Plus, walking among the dead gives a person perspective. And, sometimes, wet feet.
Freelance writers are never off duty. Stories await you everywhere. Be prepared.

5 Comments on “>Stumbling through the cemetery”

  1. Michele says:

    >Boy, it’s a shame you didn’t have your camera! I’ve had those days too. I agree, Sue. We, as freelance writers, must always be prepared with camera, paper and pen(s) when we leave home.You never know what will happen once we’re out in this exciting world! This weekend, while walking through a store, a thought crossed my mind while looking at an item. Immediately a light bulb went off in my head that this very thought was the perfect title to a story! Thankfully, I had my writer’s notebook and pen in my purse (I try to keep it with me at all times) and the information wasn’t lost.Also, while having dinner at a restaurant that same day, a family member said the most remarkable, funny things and I documented that as well–a great story will come of it, no doubt.Gear up, a story awaits!

  2. robin says:

    >For my birthday I got a padded bag with a place for money/wallet stuff. So now I always have the camara with me! It’s just not quite big enough for the notebook to easily slide in and out….Still looking out with the perfect bag….one that holds the camara/paper, wallet, lip gloss (and a snack?!).Love your site. I look to it often.

  3. Suelick says:

    >Robin,Thanks. I’m glad you like the site. Ironically I had the perfect bag with me, but didn’t have it fully loaded. It’s from Land’s end, looks a bit like a mini-backpack and has a perfect slot for a notebook. Here’s a tip: carry a small pen and a few blank 3/5 cards, which can fit easily into a pocket. Perfect for jotting down ideas. Sue

  4. robin says:

    >love the notecard idea! that would work perfectly in my bag! it is an eddie bauer bag….not sure what it’s called.i like the back-pack idea too. is yours a big one?

  5. Suelick says:

    >Robin,No, my bag is small, like a purse but with the durability and nifty pockets of a backpack. It even has a slot for a water bottle. Now here’s a lesson for all reporters; don’t trust your memory. The bag is from Eddie Bauer, not Land’s End, and it came with a nifty little wallet, which proved too small. No, not for all my money; for the credit cards.Sue

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