You know how sometimes you travel all the way across the world (pre-pandemic) and visit some famous tourist spot, and it looks nothing like the picture?
Or, for all you dating types (no, I’m not getting back into matchmaking… I’ve marked my failure and am moving on) the picture of a prospective partner on the internet looks gorgeous, but then you meet them in real life and they look nothing like the picture?
Well, that happened to me the other day.
No, I haven’t traveled outside of Manitoba, and no, I haven’t been dating (except unless you count Andrew… I guess our entire life together is an unending date? except it’s more fun, so) BUT I have been visiting cemeteries.
As I do.
I’ve been studiously following the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve and now that I’ve visited all the public cemeteries here in the R.M. of Hanover, I figured it was time to venture forth into private cemeteries.
I’ve felt conflicted about this for quite some time, but that deserves its own post. My point is, my curiosity about, and respect for, these burial sites — often all that remains of the 1870s villages — has overcome me. I finally visited the Loeppky cemetery.
It looked nothing like the picture.
In the Atlas, it is a well cared-for space, with intact headstones.
I believe that photo must have been taken at least five years ago, if not more. (The Atlas was first published in 2015.) In the time since, much has changed. Weeds and the elements are taking a toll. I wonder if I’m the first person to visit in half a decade?
Some stones are standing the test of time.
But the showpiece of the cemetery, the once tall proud monument to Johann Loeppky 1867, is disintegrating.
Scroll back up to the Atlas photo. See the tallest stone? That was this one pictured above. It no longer stands so tall.
You’ll also notice these two newer stones in the back. This is how I knew I was in the correct cemetery and wasn’t somehow confused (as I often am).
To be honest, I appreciate the wild beauty taking over. I think it’s poetic. Yet at the same time, I’m crushed to find elaborate headstones turning to rubble.
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