post (c) Doris McCraw
If anyone has followed my timeline on Facebook, they would have seen the post about the theft at Colorado Springs Evergreen Cemetery. Someone came in and stole the metal fencing from around a small grave in the pioneer section. The headstone, which was leaning against the fencing is now lying on the ground, having been damaged at some time in the past.
I’ve thought about this act of ‘violation’ since the event. It also brought back memories of working with delinquent teens. There were times during my conversations with those teens, while they were in lock-up, where I would ask them why they thought it was acceptable to take from others. Usually they would say something like, ‘I wanted it’, or ‘they had more than they needed’. When asked how they would feel if someone took their things, they would get defensive and say that no one should touch their stuff. There was a total disconnect from what they were doing and how it made them feel if it happened to them.
The grave that had the fencing stolen was from a young girl, Ida May Cumming, who died on August 6, 1879 in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Her parents were J. (John) F. Cumming and T. Cumming. He was a teamster according to the city directory. The newspaper gave her age as 5, but the record I found of the actual burial stated she was 3 years, 6 months and 18 days. There is no record of her parents burial in the cemetery.
The above event and memories bring up a feeling of frustration that respect has flown out the window. I agree, we can’t keep everything, but to lose history because someone wants what belongs to someone else hurts. Do people have no respect for that which is outside themselves because they have none themselves? Is it that they feel entitled? I don’t know. I do know somewhere something was lost, and perhaps it’s time we started bringing it back by showing and expecting respect for ourselves, others and our history.
One commenter on my page told of two young men who were caught being disrespectful and destructive in their local cemetery. They had to research and write about the people whose stones they had damaged, and present it to the public. Some may say, ‘they are dead, they don’t care’, but if we chose to not care, then what happens to our caring about the living?
Do I have the answer? No, but I feel by asking the questions I get closer to answers, and that is important. We can’t fix it if we don’t ask and listen for answers. It is not a one size fits all, except the part about respect. As Aretha Franklin sang, “All I’m asking is for a little respect”.
Colorado and Women’s History