A Visit To The Braun Garden Cemetery

Here I go again, with the cemeteries. Well, what can I say? I’ve always kinda liked them. Here’s a fun fact for you: when Andrew and I were dating, most of our dates consisted of walking around town. And often, we’d stroll to and through cemeteries. Even then, we weren’t sure whose idea this was: his or mine? We both felt drawn to cemeteries. They’re so… restful. And weird, I guess. Like us.

Anyway! So this past summer, we spent one very full day in the West Reserve, darting about searching for villages. We wore ourselves out. Finally we decided to call it a day, and we were heading back home, zipping along Highway 14, and I was staring quietly out the window. Suddenly I shouted, “I see one! I see another cemetery! You just passed one!”

“What? No, are you sure you’re not just seeing things?”

“Well, it’s entirely possible… but I’m pretty sure. We need to turn around and go back, just to see.”

So, we did that awkward turning-around-on-the-highway thing, found the approach to this cemetery, and drove in. And sure enough, it was a cemetery… of sorts.

Labeled the Original Braun Garden Cemetery, it’s pretty much just a grouping of headstones. Clearly, this isn’t the actual cemetery. Hence the sign that reads, “Located 80 Meters Due South.” Andrew turned and took a picture of approximately where that would be:

The real cemetery is yonder… beyond these bulrushes… in the plowed field.

I’m descended from Brauns of the West Reserve, on my mother’s side… but I have no idea if these people have anything to do with me, actually. Confession: I have a lot of trouble reading old headstones. I often can’t make heads nor tails out of them… and I fully acknowledge that the classic Mennonite convention of reusing the same ten names over and over again makes my efforts to find burial places of ancestors additionally confusing.

But, there’s a slim possibility that I may be peripherally related to this family. And even just that thought made this kind of somewhat meaningful for me. I think. At any rate, it was a great way to end our jaunt to the WR.

Also… like any good Manitoba Mennonite, I’ve driven Highway 14 many, many times. And I’ve never noticed this garden cemetery before. I guess you never can tell what you might end up discovering, if you just open your eyes and really look.

Headstones with setting sun and thistles.