Sunday, May 6th, 2018, was a day, not unlike today here in Portland, Maine. It's over-cast with the possibility of showers. Actually, when I left my house on Melbourne Street, van packed with three portable tables, a dozen rakes, rolls of garden bags, work gloves, water bottles and snacks for the workers, and sundrie other items, it was raining lightly. I was hoping people would show up and not be discouraged by a few raindrops. The nine young Junior Girl Scouts had spent many hours planning, preparing and encouraging people to participate in this annual Spring Cleanup at the Grand Trunk Cemetery.
They would not be disappointed! About twenty-five children, parents, grandparents, and old 'Friends of the Grand Trunk Cemetery' did come to work, share stories, re-unite, and play. I borrowed the title of this post from a short article by Jennifer Fulwiler:
I think one of the biggest benefits of these events,.....is the way they give you a sense of comfort about the cycle of life. There's a palpable sense of connectedness among both the living and the dead. Those of us still living are connected to one another, and we are connected to those who have passed, just as those who have passed were connected to one another, and to those who died before them. We recognize names scrawled on name- tags, just as we recognize names carefully chisled on tombstones, and there is a feeling that we're surrounded by loved ones, both those alive on earth, and those alive on the other side.
Since the very beginning of this project to recover, the remnant of this ancient brial ground, there has always been a sense of celebration; we refer to our fall Planting events as a parties There has always been a joyous atmosphere and a sense of commaradery while working together for the common purpose of honoring the dead.
All of this was so evident this past Sunday with the activities, the hard work, the re-uniting of descendants of those interred here, and the educating of the young who will, hopefully continue to see the importance and value, of caring for our ancient cemeteries. I'll let the pictures tell the story.
|Ben and Norma Sawyer, descendants of Anthony Sawyer, grandson of the first Sawyer, Isaax Sawyer, Sr. who settled here in 1725|
|MaryAnne Wallace and Lynda Allshouse among the daffodils.|
|Kayla Theriault began this project in 2010, and continues to support the work at the cemetery|
|The tables set up in the field with crafts.|
|Mother and Daughter at the Bake Sale table to raise funds toward the new Cemetery sign.|
|The old Hoop and Stick game|
|You've got it, Grandfather!|
|Engaged in the Historical Scavenger Hunt|
|Janet Christopher, Machigonne Service Unit Manager has been a great supporter|
from the very start!
|It takes team work!|
|Norma and Ben Sawyer have come out to support every event..|
|These two Brownie Girl Scouts learned a bit of cemetery history.|
|A supportive brother and a willing son: thanks to young Mr. Hanscom!|
|The girls gather around to recive my thanks for a job well done!|
|Kayla shares her Girl Scout experiences.|
|The painted stones are a welcome addition.|
|Many 'Thanks" to Lilly Denis, Caitlin Rohde, Nora Hansom, Estelle Jones,Sophia Scola, Lindsey Bickford (not in pic),Ally Brady, JoJo Philbrook, Hadleigh McPartlan, and their Leaders: Staci Hansom and Cheryl Denis.|
Many thanks to all who participated in the Annual Spring Cleanup Party. This was a wonderful celebration of the living among the souls of those who died long ago in Portland and the East Deering Community. For those of you who follow this blog, I hope when you are in Portland, you will take a little time to visit the cemetery behind the Presumppscot School. Enjoy the gardens, sit for a moment and reflect in the quiet and peace of the burial
|There was a bit of giggling from the girls when they read my shirt. |
They thought it read: "I see Dead People"
I wanted to include the histrical scavenger hunt which the girl conducted for participants. Thought it might be of interest to folks who might like to visit the cemetery this summer. Although, for the time being, we've removed the small flags in favor of the traditional graveside flags for Memorial Day, a careful following of the hints, might be helpful and fun.