Nothing Like a Rock

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 36 Comments


While blog touring for Swept Away, I wrote a guest post for Annalisa Crawford's blog about the British Cemetery on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (read that post here). In doing research for that post, I learned there was another British cemetery- this one on Hatteras Island in Buxton, North Carolina.

In a nut shell, during WWII the British Navy patrolled American waters to keep our shores safe. Unfortunately, several British sailors paid that ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Their bodies couldn't be shipped back home, so the island residents buried these heroes and tended to the graves throughout the passing decades.

During my vacation to the island this summer, I made sure to visit the Hatteras cemetery.

Located in a small clearing near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse were two graves enclosed by white picket fencing. Just like the Ocracoke site, the graves were neatly cared for and decorated with Union Jacks.

The difference between the two? The Hatteras site's headstones were covered in small trinkets, stones, and seashells. My nephew, Jay, was sight-seeing with me. He has an interest in grave yards and the differences in burials in varying cultures and time periods, so he had an explanation.

He told me it was a Jewish custom to place pebbles or stones on graves, and his guess was people were tweaking this tradition in order to show tribute to these heroes by using shells and trinkets.

I thought this was interesting, so I came home and looked it up.

Jay was right. It is a Jewish tradition to leave pebbles and stones- like at the end of Shindler's List. 

Ah-ha, now the ending makes total sense.

The Hebrew word for pebble is tz'ror which also translates to bond. A pebble or stone signifies a permanent, steadfast bond.

That sure makes more sense to me than flowers.




Speaking of excellent tales that involve graves...

C. Lee McKenzie's new book about a group of young adventurers is an A+ read! It's about a group of friends who find a mysterious crypt that may hold a clue to a treasure. This is a godsend to the boys because one of their crew is about to be shipped off to boarding school. This is a delightful story about the solidarity of friendship and the thrill of adventure.

Sign of the Green Dragon

Now, for my good things!

Thanks to our hosts LexaL.G, and Tonja Drecker for this weekly good things check in! 

1. It's so hot here in West Virginia, the lawn didn't need mowed this week.

2. I've been a horrible blogger this summer, but I've been a good reader. Now, I just need to get them all reviewed!

3. I'm headed to Akron, Ohio for the Ohio Expos this Saturday. I was born in Barberton, Ohio- a town not far from Akron- so I'll get a chance to see some of my family while I'm there. I'm sure I'll have pictures to share next week.

36 comments:

  1. Most enjoyable to read about a place I've never visited.
    Enjoy your week-end.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks Yvonne. I hope you had a great weekend too.

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  2. In Beaufort, NC, there is a grave with a soldier who was buried standing upright. I can't remember what or why now, but you reminded me of it with your English graveyards. Only ever visited Hatteras once, I did NOT climb the lighthouse.

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    1. That would be interesting to know why they buried him standing. I once read they were considering doing that at Arlington to save room- not sure they ever decided on that though.

      I've climbed the lighthouse several times. I'm not sure why I do it- I'm petrified of heights hate looking out over the top.

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  3. Neer knew that about the pebbles. Hope you have a great visit, andd yippee to no lawn mowing.

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    1. It rained today. I'll probably need to mow tomorrow. It was a good run while it lasted.

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful vacation. Thank you for this info, I learn something new everyday!!!!

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    1. Same here! Got to love tidbits. They make for great trivia play later.

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  5. I love learning something new everyday. Yeah. Taught me a couple today. I'm ahead of the game. :)

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  6. So interesting to read about the British sailors. Glad you had a good vacation. Reading is the best when you get to read some super books. Looking forward to your pictures. Thanks for showing off Sign of the Green Dragon today.

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  7. Wow, I had no ides there were British burials in the U.S. in WWI. Incredible.

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    1. It is an interesting part of our history.

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  8. Such an incredible memorial for those fallen men. Yes we need pictures and enjoy your trip Liz. Congrats C. Lee on the book.

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    1. I'll share them next week. I'm so far behind this summer, I need to do some blog catch up before adding more posts.

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  9. Graveyards are awesome, especially ones with special features. I love looking at fancy engravings and decorations or statues and mausoleums. Yay for Jay and his clever insights about the history of the stone and trinket tradition. Lee's book sounds like a lot of fun for MG boys. Thanks for the review!

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    1. It's an interesting place to find unique names too.

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  10. Cool. I didn't know about the pebbles. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Dedicating a burial site to the fallen and those who have sacrificed their lives is fantastic. It must have been quite a sight to see.

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    1. It is heart warming to see how much love a person/community can show a stranger, especially in a world that seems to offer so much cruelty.

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  11. Oh, I love old cemeteries. There is one behind my house that is the oldest Universalist cemetery in America.
    Lee will be a guest o my blog soon.

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    1. I think the oldest one I've visited was a Civil War era graveyard.

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  12. I had no idea! When we went to Savannah, there were some fascinating cemeteries. I suppose pebbles are less likely to come up missing than flowers from a gravestone. My aunt has to wire flowers to my grandmother's grave because if she doesn't, people steal them. Sad, right?!

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    1. Very sad. I used to buy flowers at an intersection from this guy until my brother told me the guy was stealing the flowers from graves.

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  13. Graveyards fascinate me as well. I love that people put trinkets on gravestones. I've left a garden stone at my grandmother's grave, but I'd love to put all sorts of trinkets on it like they did at the cemetery you went to.

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    1. It was a very personal tribute, and they'll last much longer than flowers.

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  14. What a lovely tradition and what a clever nephew you have :) He taught me something new today :) I've pre-ordered Lee's book and can't wait for it to appear on my reader!

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    1. I do have a clever nephew. He also informed me you can go online and see where in the sky you can see the space lab each night. Pretty cool.

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  15. That is an excellent tradition, and now the ending of Schindler's list makes more sense to me. Thank you!
    Hope you have a great time visiting with family!

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    1. Same here! I just assumed the rocks at the end of the movie was all they could find in that area at the time.

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  16. What a neat way to remember those who have fallen. I found your blog through the CTST bloghop. Congratulations on having your books published. I'm still in the process of writing my first, which I hope to finish by Dec. Happy writing! www.dianeweidenbenner.com

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  17. Oh, dear. My mind must be playing tricks on me. I KNOW I've read this post before, and I THOUGHT I already commented... Oops! Evidently not...

    Anyhow, I find the info you've given about the British cemeteries here extremely interesting, and something I plan to research to learn a little more about them. (Swell! Just what I need... another info rabbit hole... :)

    About the stones. I asked several of my Jewish friends about the tradition, and they didn't know, so I looked it up. (Yep, another rabbit hole.) I ended up telling THEM about it, which tickles my funny bone.

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  18. I didn't know about the pebbles or that the British navy had guarded us. Interesting post. I visited an old cemetery in New York last month and tried my best to read about it, but there was so much history to it that I lost track. We have a lot to learn from these places.

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  19. I've been to Cape Hatteras before, but I didn't get to see the graveyard. I like the idea of shells (or stones). Sadly flowers don't last, so these objects would work better.

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  20. I'd rather be a good reader than blogger any day. :) Really cool info about the British graves in NC. I've been to Hatteras, if I go back, I'll have to visit that yard.

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  21. Being a good reader is always more important than being a good blogger, though I do enjoy visiting here.

    Congrats on the new books C.Lee Mckenzie!

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