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Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017

The macabre side of my life

Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 1:26 AM

When I was 3 months old my father became the sexton (caretaker, gravedigger, etc.) of Lone Oak Cemetery in Lewisburg. The cemetery furnished a house for the sexton, so we moved in. We lived there until I was 3. That was when my father went to work for London Funeral Home. As a child I often stopped by the funeral home on my way from school to my grandmother's home.

My family moved to the funeral home when I was in my early teens. That is where we lived when my husband and I were dating. My sons used to go visit just as other children visited their grandparents. They even slid down the bannisters. However, most grandparents don't live upstairs over a funeral home.

My father taught my mother how to drive while we were living in the cemetery. When it came time for me to learn to drive, my mother took me back to the cemetery. Twelve years later she took my sister there also. I suppose it was because we couldn't hurt anyone.

Daddy and Aubrey Duncan bought the funeral home in Lewisburg and then built a new funeral home in Cornersville. My parents moved to their own home in 1986. In 1990 my mother died, but Daddy continued to work at London's and also at Cornersville Funeral Home until his death in 1999.

If you are ever at London's in Lewisburg, there is a picture collage of my father in different phases of his life. There are 2 pictures of me with him. One is of my sister and me with him the first Christmas after our mother died. You won't recognize me in the other because I was 5 and am standing between my parents. Daddy is in his World War II uniform.

I always read the obituaries, even if I'm out of town and don't know people. It's just part of my life. I have phone numbers of a few funeral homes in my PDA under the abbreviation "Fun homes," which is how we identify one when we spot it on the side of the road. So I sometimes get a bit flippant about the funeral home. I do know when to be proper.

To this day I love old cemeteries. The one in Macon, GA fascinates me. I want to go back and spend some time there. It seems we are always going somewhere when we drive through Macon. I guess those people buried in Macon were going somewhere too.

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Old cemetaries are fascinating history stories if you wander around enough of them. I have a cousin who will drive all over the place just to look for old cemeteries and take pictures of old interesting tomb stones.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Tue, Mar 11, 2008, at 1:43 AM

I love old cemeteries with their humble beauty,the artistry in the old monuments,the history in the stories of the people resting there...

They don't even require haints or dinners on the ground to be compelling-just a reminder of the cycle of life.

Graveyards can bring the living together in some strange ways.

Once,I was making a record of a relative's tombstone when I noticed a soldier's grave.

Sometime later,I heard that a gentleman was looking for where his namesake was buried.

He had the same name as that soldier so I told him where to look for the soldier's grave..

I commented on their unusual last name which was the same as one of my favorite


It turned out that the man was married to that writer and they had several Middle Tennessee ties.

Would I have ever gotten to speak with her at a convention or something of that type?

I don't know.

But,our late kin are neighbors in a silent grove near Countyline.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Tue, Mar 11, 2008, at 2:34 AM

I am originally from Lewisburg but have been here since 1973. I know Londons well my father and mother were there. Thay are buried at Short cemetary in Spring Place. Was your dad Mr. Higdon ?

-- Posted by Tn Volunteer on Tue, Mar 11, 2008, at 7:32 AM

When I got my license to drive the majority of the test was at Willow Mount Cemetery. The trooper giving the test remarked about not being worried about hurting anyone there. He wasn't taking any chances. He got out and watched.

-- Posted by bomelson on Tue, Mar 11, 2008, at 8:49 AM

When I was learning how to drive, my mom would take me to the biggest cemetery in my hometown to teach me and have me practice turns. My friends thought it was weird, but it was fun, too as I knew that cemetery really well by the time I got me license.

-- Posted by cfrich on Tue, Mar 11, 2008, at 11:27 AM

Tn Volunteer, I am indeed Mr. Higdon's daughter. At least I'm one of them. My parents had 2 daughters, & I'm the older. My sister is Janice.

I am familiar with Short Cemetery. I have an aunt & uncle buried there.

-- Posted by bettyhbrown on Tue, Mar 11, 2008, at 3:03 PM

While visiting my kin in cemeteries I've become interested in others buried there. Especially the old, old tombstones. Very interesting to me but not to most folks.

I call it "cemetery shopping"...for kin-folks of long ago. I have to snap a picture and put it in my Family Tree Maker program.

-- Posted by mmp84 on Tue, Mar 11, 2008, at 3:10 PM

Two very interesting cemeteries in Bedford County are around two of our historic churches, Shofner Lutheran Church on 41-A South and Jenkins Chapel Church on Jenkins Chapel Road. Both are practically history lessons.

-- Posted by bomelson on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 10:51 PM

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