I love a prompt that I don’t have to think too hard about. This story bubbled up right away.
When I was about 6 or 7, my grandfather would mow the grass and clip around the headstones at Briggs Street Cemetery in our little town of Westville, NY. Grandpa would often take me with him, and I would clip while he mowed. It was fun reading the names and dates on the stones as I clipped, and would ask Grandpa questions when I came across a stone with the surname McGibbon on it, which was Grandpa’s last name.
As I was trimming around a pretty double stone one day, I looked up to read the names and dates and was stunned to read my grandparents first names.
Horrified, I burst into tears and ran to my grandfather, begging him to tell me who was buried under that double stone. He explained that lots of people pay for their service, burial plots and headstone before they are needed, in order to save the people left behind further upset. He took me back over and showed me how the stone just had their birth dates carved into the stone. He chuckled and told me that, yes, that stone belonged to him and Nanny, but that no, they wouldn’t be using it any time soon.
It turned out that he was right; Grandpa didn’t need to use his stone for another ten years or so and Nanny five years longer than that.
I was very lucky that my first cemetery experience ended on such a happy note.