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home : columnists and contributors : columnists and contributors December 17, 2014

8/6/2014 12:01:00 AM
Harbor Springs...Now and Then
Cynthia Morse Zumbaugh

I am quite possibly a little bit obsessed with cemeteries. I spend far more time there than I probably should, but look what they have to offer. They are beautiful, they are peaceful and they offer a wonderful glimpse into history.

When I am watering flowers or tending graves, I feel like I am doing the one last thing that I can for my family and it makes me feel better. When I saw the first rose about to bloom on my Aunt Becky's grave this week, it made me smile. When I spend time looking for just the right colors of flowers (my Mom liked pink and yellow) it gives me a feeling of closeness. I know that not everyone feels this way, I know some people just say, "They're not actually there" and that is true. For me, this is a labor of love.

I've always put flowers on for my parents and my paternal grandparents and my husband's father. This year I found my maternal grandmother's grave, my husband's grandmother, grandfather and a couple of uncles. I'm still searching for my great grandparents, I know they are in Lakeview, but I haven't located the grave. My parents are in Friendship Township's Cemetery while all the rest are in Lakeview or Holy Childhood Cemeteries, so I have the opportunity to spend time at both.

I love to walk around and look at the names; they represent a who's who of the people that made Harbor Springs what it is. I see so many of the local road names, like Bester, Welsheimer and LaCount, of course. It dawned on me how closely intertwined we are to the other area communities when I see so many names that I would normally associate with Pellston or Alanson.

There are graves that make me sad, when I see the babies who died after just a few days or at birth or the headstones for some of those too soon. Walking around in Friendship Cemetery, you can see the graves of Kyle Newbury, Steve Backus, Sue Ballou and Robbie McInnis, all taken far too young. There are many, many more in Lakeview and Holy Childhood Cemeteries.

The historical aspect fascinates me, though. Near my father-in-law's grave is the headstone for Ella Backus, 1865-1938. She was the first female Assistant United States Attorney and in that era, that was an incredible accomplishment. She passed the bar without ever taking a law class and was so dedicated to her job that she worked up until the day before she died at 76. Groundbreakers like that should be celebrated but I had never heard her name until I saw the gravestone. I think that will be one of my new projects, following up on the names that I see there and sharing them.

One final thought before I move on and it's not a pleasant one. There has been for several years now an escalating issue with people stealing from graves. Urns, hooks, flowers, we even had someone dig up a rose bush from my mom's grave. This has been happening in most of the area cemeteries and it is disgusting and deeply disturbing. If you see anyone acting suspiciously in the local cemeteries, I would report it immediately. (Unless it is me, then just consider the source.)

Very sad this morning to hear news of the passing of Glenn Bonkosky. He taught a couple of generations of students at Harbor Springs schools and was a very involved member at Holy Childhood Parish. I will miss seeing his smile on Sunday mornings and we send condolences to his family.

Congratulations to Erika and Andrew Koehler on the arrival of newest family member Lucas James Koehler on August 1st. Not sure who is more excited, Big Brother Andrew or Grandpa and Grandma Jim and Kathy Kinner, but it's great to see all those smiles.

Now, on to some birthday greetings, starting with Paul Friedrich, Jack Ivey, Rebecca Nethercott and Connie Morse Newbury on August 7th. Happy Birthday on August 8th to Deborah Horton Hegener and to Jeff Graham and on Saturday, August 9th to Kevin Cranick and Jill Nuding. On Sunday, August 10th, we send a birthday hello to Mary Buchanan and on August 11th to Carolyn Wilson. Monday, August 12th, Happy Birthday to Gale Kepford and to Tammy Fowler and finally on August 13th to Ami Woods and Janie Hoffman Burdick.

First Community Bank - Sept. 2014

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