Sunday, May 26, 2013

This Blog's Not Dead! But Lots of Other People Are, Though.

Hey there, interneters!

Well.  Six months.  Six months!  Right?  Jeesh.  I have no excuse.  Oh, wait.  Kind of.  There was a hurricane (ahem, sorry, "superstorm") and we didn't have much damage, but we had no power for eight days and it was cold and we all got sick and evacuated to a friend's house with heat and food and then there was Thanksgiving and Christmas and all that that entailed.  And then the winter happened and now spring and here we are.  Oh, and I built some raised beds in my backyard and have started a vegetable garden.  Go me.  Alright, so I've been busy.

And, more importantly I thought, I haven't been busy with any Phebe stuff, so I didn't want to write much here.  But yesterday, that all changed.  I did historical shizz!  I did!  And it was brief and cool and I shall tell you all about it and use the pictures I took.  Hooray!

First of all, though, let's get this out of the way.  It's not about Phebe.  Rather, I went to visit the grave of one of my favorite people that I've learned about along the way (he's kind of neck and neck with Phebe as far as interesting to me - actually he's a little bit ahead, because I like to daydream about him and me being a heterosexual and all, that's super fun, so he has an unfair advantage over Phebe).  I went to visit the grave of Captain Andrew Lee in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Wilkes-Barre is about three hours from us and I have to tell you, it was a painful drive, both ways.  God.  But I need to give you context. (I'm sorry for the all-over-the-place-ness of this post, but I'm excited to be back!  And out of practice!)  So, let's start from the beginning.  I've been wanting to find his grave for quite some time.  And this February, my husband went to China for a business trip and we kind of agreed that it wasn't that big of a deal for me, having to do dinner and bath stuff for the kids all by myself for a week in addition to everything I regularly do for them every day.  Not that big of a deal.  I just wanted, in return, to get to go to Wilkes-Barre by myself some weekend in the near future.

That was the deal.  Shit, I wish I'd stuck to that deal.  Because things changed.  They morphed into not me going by myself, no.  They morphed into a family trip.  Alright.  So I found some things Chris and kids could do while I was at the graveyard (totally forgetting that we wouldn't have two cars and that that would be impossible, but whatever).  And then my husband says, "Hey, why don't we bring Rusty?  We'd save on the kennel and he'd love it!"  But guess what?  Guess who got to hold a farting, shaking, panting dog on their lap for three hours each way?  This guy, that's who.  God, I smelled so much like dog it was horrible.

Oh and we went kind of cheap on a motel and our blinds didn't close and we didn't sleep and I was cold and I'm whining now but I had to get all that off my chest because, Good God, I should've gone by myself.  Yes, I might've been cold and would still not have had blinds in my room, but I wouldn't have had to hold a shaking, farting, panting dog for six hours, nor would I have to have had to listen to my husband complain for nearly the entire trip and also wouldn't have had to listen to my son ask for candy for every ten minutes on the drive because my husband promised him candy at the next stop.  That happened both ways.

So, in essence, I got about an hour and a half at the graveyard yesterday, where thank God, I found his gravestone (kind of a miracle because this place was huge).  But it was great.  And worth it, I think.

We ended up leaving super early this morning, because honestly, not a fun trip, and I didn't get back to the cemetery or to spend any kind of time in the town he lived in towards the end of his life (Nanticoke) or to go to their Historical Society Museum.  Oh well.  Next trip, right?

I should mention a few other context things, before I get to the pictures.  It is Memorial Day weekend and there were crazy amounts of flags at this cemetery, which was awesome.  I really appreciated that the caretakers of the cemetery did that.  And it had to be them, because flags were at every single military man's grave, regardless of how old.  There were Revolutionary War veterans with flags, and you know no one's left to do that kind of thing.  So, that was nice.

Only, one thing about Captain Andrew Lee's gravestone was that, for whatever reason, he didn't choose to put Captain on there and he got no flag.  That was a bummer and I should've put one myself, but I wasn't prepared!  Who carries around a flag?  Next time, though.  Hey!  Maybe next year I should go and correct that injustice.  (By myself!)

Anyway, but this is a guy who crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve in 1776 with Washington.  This is a guy who somehow survived being on a British prison ship in the New York harbor for two fucking years.  This is a guy who was a spy for Washington towards the end of the war.  This is also a guy who went and rescued his cousins who had been sold into slavery by the British to a Native American tribe.  He went to Canada to get one of those kids.  That's some badass, "Taken"-type shizz.

I've written him up before and here's the link to the first time I wrote about him and his spy story, and here's the link to the second time I wrote about him and gave a few biographical details about him.  I just reread that second post and I didn't mention the crossing of the Delaware, or the prison ship, or the rescuing his cousins.  Preview of Captain Andrew Lee, Part Two?

Without further ado, here's his gravestone, which is sandwiched in between the gravestone of his wife, Priscilla, on the left, and the gravestone of his daughter, Priscilla, on the right.

The long dreamed of gravestone in surprisingly good condition after two hundred years.

Self-portrait with Captain Lee.  Artsy.

So, the consort thing.  I don't know if you can see it, but under Priscilla Lee's name on the left is written "consort of Andrew Lee."  Apparently, the term consort was used on gravestones when the wife died before the husband, meaning that the husband would still be living when her gravestone was cut.  And that's the case here.  Priscilla (his wife) died in 1816 and Andrew died in 1821.  At first I was all scandalized by the consort term, naturally, but then google helped me out and I realized it wasn't anything more than a convention of the times.  There were actually several consorts that I found, once I started looking around.

Secondly, I like how he's sandwiched between those two.  That's cool.  I don't think I've seen a set of gravestones together like this.  I mean, that's unusual, right?  There certainly weren't any others like that around in this cemetery.

I did find a few other gravestones that I liked a lot.  The first of which is for a beloved wife who died in childbirth.  I love the etching on the edge of the gravestone.  Plus the script.  Overall, just so pretty and so so sad.
In Memory of Mary, consort of Thommas Bennit Who

Who Departed this life April 29th, 1820.  Aged 38 years & 5 months.  Allso her infant son, at the same time.
God, you know?

I like the inscription at the bottom of this next gravestone.  Super morbid and weird.  Also, I just noticed this, but for some reason, Hannah wasn't listed as a consort, but I guess she was.
Sacred to the Memory of Hannah Apple
the wife of William Apple
who departed this life July the 13th AD 1822.
Aged twenty five Year five months & five days
Though greedy worms devour my skin
And gnaw my wasting flesh
When God shall build my bones again
He'll clothe them all afresh
There was also the grave of a young man named Ruggles Brush who "drouned" at 19 in the year 1800.  Very sad too.  Mostly I love his name.  Sadly, the photo didn't turn out.

So, even though my time with Captain Lee's gravestone was so fast that it reminded me of Clark Griswald at the Grand Canyon, I think it was worth it.

In German, but you get the idea.

I wish I'd had a flag.  I wish I'd had more time.  I wish Rusty was chill in the car.  I wish I was a little bit taller.  I wish I was a baller.  (Skee-Lo, yo.)

I don't know.  There's more to do here.  To start, I need to write up part two of the Captain Lee story.  I really need to find an actor who embodies everything that I think Captain Lee was.  I need to spend some time on that.  But mostly, I need to write up part two of his story.  And I need to not neglect this blog anymore.

Until later.