Those were largely silent days for my ears, as far as human voices went. The silence of “the sand bed”, as we called my place of play, was broken only by robins or orioles or the call of the “Phoebe birds”, the mating call of chickadees in spring and early summer.
Up beyond the high bank that signaled the border of the sand bed–and also our property– and hidden from my view, was “the Cemetery”. It was the only one in town. Infrequently, the murmur of a midday funeral would drift to my young ears, incomprehensible in sound and meaning. Once in a great while, I would hear sobbing, but I didn’t know why. To my innocence, the cemetery was a beautiful and quiet place, well kept, sometimes with “special flowers” to look at.
The flowers were so pretty one time, that I took some home to my mother. She was surprised, pleased… and mystified as to where I would get “such special flowers”. I often brought her short stemmed bouquets of the abundant wild ox eye daisies or black-eyed susans, or even sweet peas. But these were obviously cultivated. When I told her where I got them, she first laughed out loud, and then suddenly got very quiet. She told me “put them back exactly where you found them,” saying whoever put them there did it for a special reason, and might want to look at them again tomorrow even though they had left for the day. That didn’t make sense to me, but I did what I was told and took the flowers back to the cemetery. Of course, I had taken only the very best for my mom, from several arrangements and found it impossible to remember what went where. Apparently, no one noticed.