Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

The tree monument in Bendle Cemetery, Michigan

The tree monument in Bendle Cemetery, Michigan

This lovely monument is one of the primary reasons I fell in love with cemeteries.  It stands in the little farming community graveyard near the farm where I grew up.  When I was a child, my parents drove by Bendle Cemetery all the time.  Finally, one summer day when we had nothing else to do, my mom brought my brother and I into the cemetery to explore.

Since then, I have been completely fascinated by the Youells family monument and visit it every chance I get.  The stone tree trunk stands more than six feet tall, topped with an open book inscribed with the names Abram and Harriet Youells.  A potted Calla lily and fern are carved against the base of the tree. Stone ivy rings the trunk.  Part of the “bark” seems to have been peeled back in order to write the family name.

Usually a tree trunk with its limbs removed signifies a family that dies out without heirs, but Abram left a son behind.  Apparently, Abram — who served in the Civil War, before coming to Michigan as a blacksmith —  was quite a storyteller.  The post about him on Findagrave is really worth reading.

The monument is tricky to photograph.  It stands in the permanent shadow of a whitecedar.  I have photos of it at every time of day, but this overcast afternoon proved to be the best.  I love the way the Fuji film makes the image so very green, almost as green as my childhood memories of Michigan.

I’ve written about Bendle a lot because it’s where my love of cemeteries began.  This post is about my grandmother’s headstone.  This one has more history of the cemetery and the area itself.

About Loren Rhoads

I am the author of the essay collection Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, co-author of the novel As Above, So Below, and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. My science fiction trilogy, The Dangerous Type, will be published by Night Shade in 2015. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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3 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

  1. Erik says:

    Loren, thanks for sharing the history and love that you have for this monument. I find all of this fascinating, I think I found my love for cemeteries on reruns of Dark Shadows!!!! Although I do live by a pioneer cemetery in San Lorenzo. (Ashland in the 1800’s)

    Like

  2. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

    That was a great story on FindAGrave. Very interesting post, thank you!

    Like

  3. Jen says:

    Nice story! And this marker is beautiful! I’m glad you were able to get a good photo of it (and I find that overcast days are usually the best, too). :)

    Like

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