While in grade school, one of my favourite teachers took the class to a graveyard and showed us how to do charcoal rubbings of tombstones. The imprints we made on paper fascinated me almost as much as the cemetery.
We wandered the rows of towering monuments and smaller, plainer stones. Many of the older ones crumbled while struggling to remember who they were keeping company. Did the markers say more about who they watched over or those who had placed them there? I couldn’t say.
On Sunday afternoon, I thought I'd visit the Aurora cemetery to look for a headstone I'd heard about. John Bowser was a Canadian man who'd worked on the construction of the Empire State Building and helped bring the project in under budget and early but was not recognized for his efforts as well. When he died, a 10 foot tall granite likeness of the building was erected as his headstone.
After finding it and taking a photo (click to enlarge), I wandered around looking at some of the other stones. I couldn’t stay long because I’d naively been ready to admire the monuments but forgot that I was not prepared for a discussion with myself on mortality.
As I came upon a section of very small tombstones, some with teddy bears propped up against them, I felt glad not to have seen markers like these years ago as I wandered, charcoal and paper in hand.