Come walk with me

Come walk with me among the stones and trees, away from the distractions and we will reflect on what truly matters. . . .

Monday, October 13, 2014

Life After Death

I moved to the cemetery after my husband tried to kill me. My friends joked that if he succeeded, I would not have far to go, but they did not laugh.

This evening, the cemetery is like a scene from the Victoria Holt novels I read in high school. It is an early autumn day; chilly winds whip the flag at the soldier's monument and yellow leaves swirl in the mist. The heavy sky obscures the city and time slows.

The house was built in 1855. The second floor is an apartment now while the main floor is the business office.The place needs work. I tell folks I live in an historic ruin. Some days it feels more historic, some days, when another chunk of plaster lets go, more ruin. I am grateful to be the person who cares for this home for a while and part of my job is to bring resources to keep this place standing.

It is important to understand that this was a home before it was a graveyard. Dr. Franklin Crane came from Easton, Pennsylvania, with four mostly grown sons. He was a widower, and a spiritualist. He became a spiritualist when his wife died. He told me so in the basement of Constitution Hall on Kansas Avenue.

My friend, Beth, was going into the ghost tour and investigation business. She invited me, as the token historian, to join her and the new crew of ghost hunters. There I was in the dark, in the dirt, with Beth's teenage daughter and pharmacist-cum-ghost hunter. I addressed Dr. Crane, told him I had written a book about his cemetery, told him I admired him. Every now and again, the little gadget with lights would blink from red to green. When told that I admired his joining the Union Army even though he was old enough not to be drafted, it lit up. But when I asked if he had become a spiritualist when his wife died, the little gadget nearly exploded. Ah.....I thought......and I asked nothing else.

I do not know if he is here; I have not seen him. Little things happen, like the dial on the air conditioner being turned every night for weeks until I had a conversation with Dr. Crane. My daughter lives with me, and she is brave, but. . . . Each night she turned the dial so that the window unit would blow toward her face. In the middle of the night, she would awaken with the air blowing a different direction. After more than a week, she was scared. I sighed, took my divining rods and went to her room.

"Dr. Crane, I need to talk to you. . . . I know you are a good man. . . .you know we are trying to take care of this place. . . . you have to help us feel safe."

Neither of us has ever felt anything menacing from whatever spirits may or may not be here. My greatest fear has been that the man I loved and gave my heart to would be standing behind the door when I opened it.

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