I can remember going with my parents and an occasional Great-Aunt to visit Mt. Hope Cemetery, usually on Memorial Day weekend, or Decoration Day as it was known to my parents. Buried in the 10 grave plot were my paternal Grandmother Peggy (Margaret Vincent Bliven), my Paternal Great Grandparents – Elizabeth and Charles Vincent and my Great-Uncle Mick (Michael J. DeVaney).
All of them had passed away before I was born – Uncle Mick in 1914, Grandma Peggy in 1931, Grandpa Charles in 1934 and Grandma Liz in 1950 – so I didn’t know any of them personally, but I did know a lot of stories about them.
The annual trip to Lansing and Mt. Hope was a definite family ritual, one that I kept up even as an adult. I can remember one Memorial Day weekend in 1986 when my Mom, Dad and I visited not only Mt. Hope, but two other cemeteries in the greater Lansing area: Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery (where my Aunt Dolly and Uncle Lew are buried) and Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens (where my Aunt Kitty and Uncle Ernie are buried.). Although it was never said out loud, I’ve always been convinced my father asked me to take the trip with my parents in order for one of his children would know where the relatives were buried. I wasn’t into Genealogy and Cemeteries at the time, but I’ve always wondered if my father knew my future even before I did.
I still visit these three cemeteries at least once a year, sometimes just to stop and pay my respects to my parents, who are now buried next to my paternal great-grandparents, or to research other family members who are also buried in them. As expected, I spend the most time in Mt. Hope, In November to decorate the family plot for Christmas and again in March to retrieve the Christmas Decorations.
Because of my many trips to Mt. Hope, many of the headstones in the surrounding plots have become very familiar to me. So over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be researching the families behind the headstones that I find in my parent’s current neighborhood.