Our Cemeteries

Documentary - with a few asides.

1) Zion Baptist cemetery. In Cleveland county, five miles or so North of Shelby (center of known universe). Maybe the oldest cemetery in the county. Dates to revolutionary times. I could not find my great grandfather Sydney - although I did when I was here before - around 1970 with Brenda. But there were a number of Weathers. (I am pretty sure Brenda was here before hauling Pansy Fetzer around looking for Confederate graves.)

Maybe a related Weathers (actually all are related - this is a resting ground for Weathers and Golds and Cornwells - all the mythical names.) .

Cemetery residents are grouped by class and wealth.

Our lineage might actually include a preacher and a mason.

Little black cemetery I mistakenly visited when I got lost. A kindly black man showed me the way to go.

2) Ross Grove Baptist cemetery on edge of town. Found grandmother Dora Justice Weathers and Isaac Yancey Weathers. I never knew I.Y., He was a sharecropper - a big strong stern man according to my father. Grandmother Dora was a disembodied voice reading to us. Near the end she became a jolly crazy woman who tried to eat some napkins and wrapped turds in other napkins, storing them in her chest. When I was little I went to dinners on the ground at Ross Grove - eating cakes and ham and pies and biscuits.

Isaac and Dora.

3) Sunset cemetery in Shelby. This is center of the town that is the center of the universe.

Where my Grandfather Bishop Kendrick Parris, Grandmother Molly Parris and three babies are buried. Brenda, Mickey/Mary/Michal, Big Henry and I got the sexton to look at maps and found the spot. At that time, the graves were marked with little rocks.  All but maybe one of rocks are gone now. None of us knew any of these people. But it is I my understanding that they died very young.

Maybe one of rocks.

Brenda's mother and father, Curtis Polk Moser and Isabel Lackey Moser. They were screwed up although Isabel's last few years were not so bad. And Yancie has fond memories of sitting in the bed with Granda Bell watching soap operas and eating sweets.

My mother. Eva Parris Weathers. She went for 10 years without a marker until my sister and I shamed the old man into doing it. I don't think he was indifferent - probably just the opposite. Like his son, he had a wonderful capacity for ignoring stuff. Watching Casablanca the other night I remember people saying my mother looked like Ingrid Bergmann. Henry, Yancie - this is your grandmother. She was the dark mysterious one. To a greater or lesser degree she is in us.

My father, Thomas Gold Weathers Sr. I wanted his epitaph to say he liked cloud but Mickey said everybody likes clouds. Finally in an exasperated manner she said to put whatever I wanted. "Generous Man" is both true and a bit of a joke.

"Grandmother" Letha Branton Weathers. My father married her a year after my mother died. He needed somebody to look after us and she needed to get out of her brother-in-laws house. The trade worked out well. She was a good mother to my sister. The old man was married to her longer than he was married to mother. In the end I was the one the hospital called when she went crazy. My father's young girlfriend and I looked after her. He was getting confused. I think I got her tomb stone.

The placeholder stone for Brenda and me. She is scattered here and various other places. I will too. But as I have written and Mr. Bob has said although you've got to have a beginning and an end it is the middle that counts .

Note: This picture taking session was a bit of an adventure. I got rained on; the two toes rubbed raw from yesterday's hike stung; my shoulder hurt from the fall at Karen's; I got tuned around looking for Zion Baptist and headed west instead if east and I pissed on the side of a rural road. As Henry has said, looking for pain is masochism, but still as a distraction you can't beat it. Dawn would grin and say that I am a romantic.

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