There's a small plot in Forest Park Cemetery in Shreveport for my father's family.
Forest Park is a much newer cemetery, and there are not so many old-style ornate family plots. For the most part, simple family headstones are accompanied by individual footmarkers. Such is the case with the Horne plot.
Here's my grandfather--whom we called, appropriately enough, "Granddaddy Horne".
My brother Ed, who seems to be the family repository for all memories, remembers more about him than I do. I remember a stern older gentleman. And I vaguely remember Ed helping him blow out some candles on a cake and ending up IN the icing.
My Grandmother Horne (she was never Grandmamma, or a nickname of any kind. Always "Grandmother Horne" ) I remember a little more.
Sometimes I would go to her house-or more appropriately, her apartment after Grandaddy died, and sit with her watching the Laurence Welk Show on Saturday night. I also have a memory of her crocheting bandages for leprosy victims. One of those Catholic ladies' sewing circle things. And, for some CRAZY reason, I remember a chicken spaghetti casserole. I remember that darned casserole. I have no idea why.
And here's my Daddy.
He died when I was 27, but had been in ill health ever since he suffered a massive stroke a month or so after his mother died. Or was it a month before? Ed, help me out here.
Anyway, my father's brother, Charles III- or Uncle Charlie, as I knew him, is also buried here, and his wife, Aunt Jean. I remember them both, but her especially.
Now, if this isn't too crazy or morbid for you, I'll drive you up the hill to a familiar place to me...the Hutchinson plot.
Why familiar? It's a Southern girl thing, I guess....I remember many times coming out to the cemetery with my mother's mother- my Mimi- to take care of the plot, plant pansies, bring cut flowers, and generally tend things.
Walking the path, it seemed so much shorter to me now than when I was ten.
Gone is the small boxwood hedge that went around the headstone, with the spaces left bare for annual plantings.
Here's my grandfather-my "Gingy" --
Ok, ok--I know--weird name...but I am the oldest grandchild. If a grandmother was "Mimi", then my grandfather had to rhyme, right? I don't know how I came up with the name, I just did. Oh, he was wonderful. He would take me out with him when he checked on the cattle- and let me sit in his lap and "drive" the truck while he pushed the pedals! I was all of- what?-- 4 years old? Five??? And he and I would eat ALL the black olives at holiday dinners.
My Grandmother- my "Mimi".
She was amazing. She was a Steel Magnolia. We would listen to the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoons in the living room, and I would sleep in bed with her- the same bed I sleep in now- and stay up listening to Chicago talk radio when the AM-waves bounced right. She kept the radio on because she had insomnia. She probably had insomnia because she kept the radio on.
My great-grandfather --"Daddy Charlie"--
I never knew him, but I did know my "Granny" - my great-grandmother.
The Martha for whom I am named (have you forgotten my birth name is Martha Elizabeth Hutchinson Horne?) - although she was called "Mattie" or more appropriately "Miss Mattie". Family called her "Pigeon". Yes, pigeon, like the bird. I kid you not. Oh, I remember Granny--she lived next door to my grandparents on Cecile and we would walk over and she would give us orange juice out of cut crystal tumblers and serve us butter mints. (Yes, I know that's a run-on sentence but that's how I remember it...just like a child would say it). You might notice she did NOT want the date of her birth on her foot marker for all to be able to calculate her age....but the secret's out, Granny. She was born May 26, 1880.
She was not only the mother of my grandfather, she was also the mother of THIS lady...
The one, the only...Arne. Pronounced Ah-Nee. Auntie Mame. The lady who let me stay with her in her suite facing Bourbon Street in New Orleans when I was eight. Who took me to my first Mozart opera, Don Giovanni (still a favorite). Who took me on my first Crystal Cruise. Yes, technically, she's not buried here--it's only a marker. We scattered her ashes off the stern of Crystal Symphony in the Sea of the Hebrides. And, yes, that's how I want to go, too!
And because my cousins read this blog, I am delighted to show Arne's consort, my "Uncle Robert"-
His family was from Shreveport, too, but I don't remember much of him.
Also "out there" with the Hutchinsons are my mom's brother, who was called "Bubbie"--
--but who was known to my brothers and me as "Unkee". He farmed with my grandfather and died from cancer much too soon.
You've seen photos of my beautiful cousin Ashley--it's her father. Ashley's mom, Jo Ann is next to him.
I remember their wedding. She gave me my own flowers. She was beautiful-in that delicate, dark-haired, porcelain skin, Snow-White way. I don't think she ever got over Unkee dying.
So that's the lot of 'em--my recent relatives. But just one more thing. Sort of cracked me up when I saw it, and I had to take a photo.
My grandmother, so diligently weeded and labored to have a pristine plot.....
........would she be horrified to find a weed blooming so near her marker????