Two generations ago, my grandparents started placing flowers on their family members’ sites in Ohio. After my grandfather passed, my grandmother moved next door to my parents in Pennsylvania. My parents would take my grandmother back to Ohio around Memorial Day to place flowers on family gravesites and usually after Thanksgiving to place a grave blanket. On these trips back to Ohio, my father started to visit the nearby cemetery where there was a family plot that included his parents’ gravesite and he began the tradition of placing decorations.
My grandmother couldn’t drive and my parents’ busy schedule prevented them from taking my grandmother on some of these trips. Fortunately, my twin sister lived in the area and was able to take her to Ohio. There came a point when my grandmother couldn’t make the walk from the car to the site and, in time, she couldn’t make the trip at all. Even though she couldn’t go, and then passed at the age of 93, my parents carried on the tradition.
My parents continued the bi-annual trips and my sister would occasionally join them to help. As their health began to decline, I and some of my other siblings would join in on these trips to help, do some cleaning of the site and learn more about our own ancestry. Soon our own children were joining us on the trips and learning how to care for the family plots.
My twin sister, who has since moved to Northern Virginia, my son and I still make the trip to Ohio, and now to Pennsylvania as well since the passing of our Father in 2003 and our Mother in 2007. Our other siblings still join in at times as well and there are a couple observations we have talked about over the years. First is that we wish we could go more often to keep all of the family plots looking good year round. Second, we see where other plots are visited, but not maintained. This is how Gravesite Guardians LLC arose.
When we meet for your free estimate, I will be glad to share more of my story and welcome hearing yours as well.
James R. Short, President Gravesite Guardian’s, LLC
James Short: Prior to this business, I worked for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority for 29 years managing, maintaining and protecting the park properties while providing recreational opportunities. I have always enjoyed history and the human story as it relates to the land. I look forward to helping you protect and honor your family history.
Laurie Short: I work for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. For the past 20 years, I have been a horticulturalist and Chief Horticulturalist at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. I’ve appreciated learning about my husband’s family on the trips to the family’s gravesites. We have since traveled to my family’s gravesites to care for them. I enjoy using my creative skills to create silk flower arrangements, seasonal decorations and live plant designs for both of our families.