Monday, June 19, 2006

Remember: Thomas Drew Bachlott

We cling to the strength of stone to fight the fear of being forgotten. Will you listen to their voices with me? Will you take a moment to remember?

Son of
John R. & Mollie F.
Mar. 22, 1886,
Sept. 7, 1886.

Sleep little darling sleep
Not in thy cradle bed
Not on thy mother's breast
But with the quiet dead

(Thank you to Jeff, who sent me this cold breath of the past from his trip to Georgia. Perhaps in the comments he can tell us what it was like to reflect a moment in this place. Oak Grove in St. Mary's, Georgia.)

Coming Attractions: Look for the opening of the "Midnight Road" Short Fiction Contest on Wednesday!! Get ready to spread the word. Amazon Gift Certificate Prizes: 1st Place $35; 2nd Place $25; 3rd Place $15; 4th Place $10; 5th Place $5.


Flood said...

Children's headstones will always be so sad and agonizing, even though infant mortality was high in those days. I always wonder how mothers overcome such grief.

Looking forward to the contest. Fantastic way of making contact with 'new-to-you' bloggers.

Scott said...

So, you are a glutton for punishment and are going to do it again? Well sign me up cowboy, because I'm ready to ride!

I had the thought that I should send you a picture of my grandfather's tombstone if I ever make it out to Ohio again. I'd love to see what you come up with.

beadinggalinMS said...

so sad he was not quite 4 months old..

mermaid said...

Not your average bedtime lullaby, is it? Still, it is peaceful.

Erik Ivan James said...

Looking forward to Wednesday.

Deborah said...

The caption below the picture struck a chord in me. Then when I saw the dates, my heart broke. Poor little guy!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Jason, another writing contest? Wow, you're ambitious! Where do you find the energy?!

Terri said...

Very sad.

But very happy about another contest :)
And yes... where do you find the energy?!

jason evans said...

Flood, I've wondered the same thing. I can't imagine that more child deaths made the trauma easier to bear. ** I'm excited about the new contest also! I hope we have the chance to meet many new folks.

Scott, I'd love to see your grandfather's tombstone and do a tribute! As for the contest, I'm counting on you, my friend. :)

BeadinggalinMS, so short a life, but I'm sure he became a huge part of his parents' hearts.

Mermaid, the poem struck me hard also. Comfort mixed with cold reality.

Erik, can't wait to see your entry!

Deborah, I can't help but wonder whether he was healthy and became ill, or was sick from birth and finally succumbed.

Sandra, I'm not sure! ;) The last contest was a blast, though, so the work doesn't seem so bad.

Terri, my energy? Not from sleep, that's for sure. I never get enough. Ugh. Can I take a nap?

Scott said...

You gave me such a boost last time, and I'm about ready for a new challenge. Bring it on brother. Any hints on the theme?

Shesawriter said...

"Sleep little darling sleep
Not in thy cradle bed
Not on thy mother's breast
But with the quiet dead"

:-(((( Very sad.

Jeff said...

You're welcome, Jason. I spent more than an hour walking around in this old cemetery looking at the gravestones. Some of them date back to the 1700's.
I thought of you while I was there and borrowed my sister-in-law's digital camera to take a few pictures of those I found most striking to send you. I will send you the others I took tonight.
This one in particular gave me an overwhelming sense of sadness as I stood there. The death of such a young child and the grief it caused her parents.
Above this grave and several others stood large and very old live oak trees covered with moss which added to the sense of melancholy.
One grave I had seen early on had an inscription that simply read, "My Friend" and nothing else. Later when I tried to find it again to get a picture I couldn't. That was kind of weird.
Oak Grove cemetery is located in the coastal town of St. Mary's, Georgia.

Bailey Stewart said...

very sad. Life was so hard then, mortality high for the young. A lot of mother's never got over the loss, other's had so many other children to care for that they had to go on. My maternal grandmother lost a child shortly before my mother was born. "Junior" was just short of 2 years old. We just found out that his grave is marked with only a small brick - his name and dates. Not even his whole name - just the first initial and last name. We've (the entire family) have been talking about replacing it. Problem is it's in a poor part of town - cemetary is often vandalized, so we'll probably go with just one of those bronze plaques.

anne frasier said...

jason, is the poem yours, or was it on the stone?

a new contest! midnight road. intriguing!! you know how to bait us, that's for sure. :D

jason evans said...

Scott, the new theme is another photograph. I find them (photos) incredibly rich in ideas. Hopefully, others do too! Hint: think dark and think roadside. The picture was taken on the night of a bright moon.

Tanya, yes. So gut-wrenching. :(

Jeff, thanks so much for setting the scene for us. The few times I've been in southern cemeteries, the skill and ornateness of the stones really struck me. I wonder if the absence of harsh winter gave more freedom to the stone carvers. ** Your note on the My Friend grave gave me a little shiver. A tiny grave marked "Our Baby" used to haunt me as a teenager. When I could manage to find it, that is.

jason evans said...

Bailey, I can understand how difficult it would be to commission a full monument for an infant. Parents are paralyzed with disappointment and grief. Then, the pain becomes too hard to revisit. The fact that that "Junior" is so present in your family's thoughts is a great gift in itself. (BTW, thanks for the visit!)

Anne, the poem is on the stone. Jeff was kind enough to transcribe it for us. I don't think I would have dared to compose something so dark for a child's grave. That speaks the level of grief reflected here.

Jaye Wells said...

Thank you for sharing that piece of the past with us. Reminds us that decades and centuries of progress can't erase the universality of grief.

On a lighter note, I can't wait for the new contest.

Bailey Stewart said...

Didn't have anything to do with grief. It was 1928 and they were poor. Then they moved away for a few years. I don't think anyone really remembered where he was buried until I found it through genealogy research.

Rene said...

I remember reading a historian talk about the infant and child mortality rate in the olden days and that parents didn't develop the same kind of attachment we have with our kids today because of the high chance of death. I always thought that was the stupidest comment I'd ever read. The love a parent has for their child is not shaped by the times but by human nature. I'm sure it was difficult for those mothers and fathers as it is for us to bury their babies.

Bailey Stewart said...

Rene - it was a stupid remark. My grandmother kept the baby book for Junior, I have it now and it's filled with so many little snippets of love. She recorded almost everything he did - and inside was the newspaper clipping of his obit. The book had to have been a gift because there were no books for the other children. My grandmother loved this child.

Melissa Marsh said...

These are so hard to read...but they deserve to be remembered.

jackt said...

That's the most heartbreaking of all. An innocent child. Life cut short. Very sad, no matter the era.

jason evans said...

Jaye, the stones are ever-present. Silent whispers in white and grey.

Bailey, at least they did for him what they could at the time.

Rene, I remember learning that Mrs. Lincoln (the First Lady) was overcome with grief at the lose of more than one of her children (I don't remember how many she lost). For much of her remaining life, she was determined to contact them beyond the grave. Spiritualism was a prominent movement then.

Bailey, there must be so many thoughts of "what if."

Melissa, I agree. I think we learn something from them.

Jackt, innocence and fragility. Tragically, they seem to be two sides of the same coin.