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    Friday, September 3, 2004

    Grandma Julia's Headstone

    For years I have looked for the grave of my paternal great great grandmother Julia Grantham Ramsey. I recently discovered she was buried at the Shady Grove Cemetery in Jackson County Florida and immediately planned a trip. I have visited this cemetery numerous times over the years – twice this year to attend funeral services – and I'm still in disbelief that I managed not to stumble across her headstone. Once my husband and I arrived we immediate jumped out of the truck with cameras in hand and set out to locate the grave. Since it was sundown, we split up to cover the cemetery quickly. After a while I heard Robert calling for me. Once I found him, I realized he had located Grandma Julia’s headstone. The cement headstone appeared homemade with stamped text engraving. The “N’s” and “S’s” were engraved backwards which made the transcription difficult. It took us several minutes to decipher. Once we agreed upon the text, Robert made a video transcription of the headstone while I took several digital photos. The headstone read:
    Juley TODD
    6 Feb 1857
    4 Mar 1922
    A precious one from us is gone
    A voice we love is still.
    A place is vacant in our home
    That can never be filled.

    Finding this transcription so unique and considering the condition of the headstone I decided it would be a good idea to do a rubbing. However I was unprepared to do this so we we would need to find a local store to purchase the supplies. After a several unsuccessful stops to local retail and grocery stores we ended up at Wal-Mart where I purchased crayons and white wrapping paper and then headed back to the cemetery.
    It was dark when we arrived, Robert asked did I want to wait and come back another day. I insisted on staying. Even though the cemetery is located on a paved road in the Shady Grove community there are no street lights. Needless to say, the cemetery is not lighted nor does it have structured paved paths. So here we are driving in pitch dark trying to navigate back to Grandma Julia’s headstone without running over any graves. We finally stopped the truck and set out on foot stumbling through the cemetery with our flashlights. Robert was enjoying the fact that I was already a little spooked, so he took advantage and managed to get a few screams out of me during our search. After a while we managed to find her grave and he held the flashlight while I began making the rubbing of the headstone. That’s when all the commotion began. Neighborhood dogs began to bark – the louder they barked the more attention they got. In the distance porch lights started turning on…doors began to open and shut and we knew they were wondering what was happening in the cemetery. I said to Robert, “What if they think we are dealers selling drugs in the cemetery?” “What if they call the cops?” “Do you think they will believe what we are doing?” We kept talking about possible scenarios, each more ridiculous and before we were done, we were laughing hysterically.

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