Unearthed: Hal Benson, Dr. Jazz

As always, it was the photos on the stone what got me. And the “Dixieland Jazz” inscription. And then the three keys embedded in its surface.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to figure out what the keys are about. If anyone from the Benson family shows up and would like to explain those, I would love to hear the reason for them.

Minor mystery aside, there’s still plenty to discuss when it comes to Hal Benson.

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Unearthed: McClanahan & McClanahan

It was lilac season, so of course we went to Graceland Cemetery.

My husband knows I’m a sucker for lilacs, and how much I look forward to that moment in spring when the bushes foam over with good-smelling blossoms. Graceland provides a particularly nice array of lilacs in season, so he suggested we take a walk through the cemetery on a Sunday morning this past May.

That’s where I spotted Archie. I was drawn at first to the fragile little flowers scattered on his cool grey stone. I took the photo for that, and because I’ve been trying to take more cemetery pictures of people who lived long lives. They leave more records, which makes my research easier, and they are more likely to die of natural causes, which helps my mood.

I’m also a sucker for father-daughter stories, and as it turns out, he has one.

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Cora: What the Papers Say #4

From the Inquest

The town hall at Humboldt is a one-story frame structure opposite the Odd Fellow Hall. It is about 40 x 50 feet and there was a crowd of upward of 150 people in it at the inquest. In addition to these, there were multitudes of the largest, “barb-wiredest” flies that have ever tormented a coroner and a lot of gentle listeners at an inquest. The windows of the town hall have wire screening in them, but instead of fly screen, it is two-inch mesh poultry netting attached to frames. Just what “make” of flies these “screens” were intended to keep out is not estimated, and many wondered why so many flies and of such scorpion propensities should levy on the audience.

Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette; 28 Aug 1925

 

Hello My Name Is

This woman’s face drifted up to me this week. She came out of a pile of photos, a randomly selected card in a shuffled deck of memories. It has been some days, but I keep going back to her although — and maybe because — I have no idea who she is.

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Snoop 101: Know Your Stones

Some years back, I was doing a cemetery walk with friends. While trying to talk about styles of grave markers, I had a momentary brain freeze and sputtered: “One of those… Oh, you know! The sticky-up kind!”

It was not a great moment for me, although my friends thought it was hilarious. So to spare you a similar moment, I’ve put together a few examples.

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Cora: The Rain and the Corn (8)

Read the full Cora Stallman series here.


 

The wind and the corn talk things over together.
And the rain and the corn and the sun and the corn
Talk things over together. — Carl Sandburg

Aug. 10-27, 1925. Coles County, IL.

Coles County had rolled into the deepest part of summer, with days of 90 degrees or more.

The heat had to be endured — there was just too much to do. There were church picnics and family reunions, orchestra dances and club outings. At the tiny town of Dorans, about a mile west of Anna Seaman’s farm, a nightly tent revival meeting ran for two weeks. “Our services are short during the summer weather,” advertised the First Christian Church.

The electric fans never stopped rumbling.

Continue reading “Cora: The Rain and the Corn (8)”