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Graveyard Rabbit of South Alameda County by Cheryl Palmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 10 - The Secret

William Mendenhall was Gregg’s great-great-great-grandfather. Descending downward, there is an Asa V. Mendenhall, whose son was Gregg’s grandfather. One day, Gregg (who shared this story with me), his mother and grandmother attempted to visit the family grave sites at Roselawn Cemetery. The three drove several miles to get to the cemetery, not one of them lived in Livermore. So very disappointed were they to find the cemetery gates were locked. The grandmother, I am sure was reminiscing a bit while sitting in the car. She stated that when Asa passed away, they was very poor. The family did not have the money to bury him properly in the cemetery, and had to take care of things themselves. One night, in the middle of the night when no one would be able to see them, she and her husband, Asa’s son, went to the cemetery and buried Asa’s urn outside the cemetery fence!

So, somewhere outside the cemetery, a Mendenhall is buried. When Gregg first came to the cemetery and we met, he had stated to me that he wasn’t doing so well. The reason was because there has been a lot of construction done on two sides of the cemetery, which surprised and disappointed him. One day he hoped to try to find Asa’s urn. His mind told him that the two areas where there had been construction, was where Asa would have been buried. Although I hadn’t been in the car when this story was told, I felt that Asa might have been buried in a different area. If I were his family burying him, I would want to bury him as close as possible to the rest of the family, which would be one of the other two sides of the cemetery. One of those sides would be the main road, so someone could have seen the family digging around. The other side though was off the main road and closest to the family plot, and it has basically been untouched. What were the parameters of the cemetery when Asa was buried? Could they have changed?

Gregg is looking for permission to poke around a bit to see if Asa’s urn can be found. This is one of the main reasons for bringing this story forward. Can you imagine, a Mendenhall being secretly buried outside the cemetery in Livermore? The three of us had discussion on how to proceed, and Jeff was going to look into a few things.

Gregg and I spent the majority of the day together. Jeff invited us to an opening of the old historical garage which we attended and was quite fascinating. From there, I was able to show Gregg Mendenhall Middle School. We drove to the grounds of the Oak Knoll Cemetery and walked the area together. We had lunch. We talked and talked and talked. I have learned so much, and hope this fascinating story doesn’t end here.

I did my job, kept the secrets I was suppose to keep and introduced Gregg and Jeff. From here on out whatever procedures there are will be between Gregg and Jeff. I do hope I am kept in the loop with updates however!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - St. Michael's Cemetery

St. Michaels Cemetery. May 10, 2009. Livermore, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Kolb

One morning back in July of this year my husband and I went to breakfast in Dublin, California. The restaurant where we ate adorned old "town" maps on the wall. They were of Dublin and it's neighboring cities. It was quite interesting to see how the towns used to be. This led me to wondering, where the cemetery was in Dubin. I had not been there as of yet. I couldn't think of where it might be.

I asked my husband if he had any idea where to find the cemetery. He worked in Dublin and the neighboring cities in the field for years, but he couldn't recollect seeing the old cemetery. We asked some of the workers in the restaurant, but no one knew. My husband told me we could go find out, but I decided I would come back another day when I could take my time exploring the cemetery grounds and taking pictures without my husband impatiently waiting for me.

Suddenly I didn't have a clue where my husband was driving to. When I asked, he said it was a surprise. Guess where we pulled up? Yep, the Dublin Cemetery. It clicked and he remembered where it was! I would have never guessed where it was, even though I have lived in the valley for many years, I had never been by the cemetery. There was no logical reason to ever have a need go by it. It is situated in an area close to the freeway, hidden away, by an old church.

My husband was so patient as I walked and explored the cemetery for about an hour or so, on a very hot day. I took many pictures while I was there, however at the very beginning of my exploration I ran across this headstone, which stopped me quick.

I knew Margaret Kolb. She used to be a customer of mine about eight years ago. A very sweet, kind and gentle lady. She was a school teacher in her day. During the time I knew her, she was taking care of people, her husband and a very dear teacher friend of hers, who was also a customer of mine. She had a health issue or two, but always pushed forward. Oh, the memories that came flooding back when I saw this headstone. So unexpected to see a headstone of someone I knew...this was a first for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part Nine - The Meeting

The day finally came when Jeff and Gregg and I were to meet. Jeff is the Livermore Heritage Guild president. Gregg is the descendant of William Mendenhall who contacted me online. Gregg was to unveil a story he was told by his grandmother, long ago.

Even I seemed a bit nervous on this bright sunshiny day of our meeting. It had been such a build up to this point, and the story was actually coming out on this day. The decision was to meet at Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore early on a Sunday morning.

I arrived at the cemetery purposely earlier than the arranged meeting time. I wanted to explore the cemetery a bit and look at the Mendenhall grave site. Because I knew the story, I also wanted to check out the lay of the cemetery a bit too.

The cemetery was quiet and empty. I finally went to the meeting area, where I found someone leaning against his car. I pulled up and asked if he was waiting for someone, and he said "yeah, you." It had to be Gregg. I asked how he was as I got out of my truck and he replied “not so good.” When I asked why he told me the cemetery wasn't as he remembered it, it had changed. Indeed it had.

It wasn't long before Jeff Kaskey showed up and we all introduced ourselves to one another. Gregg explained to Jeff how he found me, and a bit of how he is related to the Mendenhall's. We talked about William Mendenhall's headstone being found, the background of the Mendenhall family and the origins starting from Oak Knoll Cemetery. Gregg knew so much of the Mendenhall history and explained he had tried to tell "his story" before, but there was a major lack of interest ten years earlier.

Eventually we all walked across the cemetery up to the Mendenhall burial site, talking all the way. Here, I took a couple of pictures of Jeff and Gregg. I don't know where the time went, but the conversation was non-stop for a good hour and a half. We eventually started heading back toward our cars and I am sure Jeff thought he had heard everything he was going to from Gregg and seemed anxious to move on to his next appointment.

Shortly before reaching our original meeting point, Gregg casually came out with what he wanted to tell Jeff. Jeff stopped dead in his tracks. I am not sure he knew what to say, or think. It caught him off guard.

(Remember where this leaves off and please watch for Part Ten of this series when the full story comes out! I just felt it was to much to put all in one post. I would love to share a picture with you of Gregg and Jeff, I feel I need to ask permission first though as I never told them I planned on posting any of the pictures.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell Headstone. October 23, 2008. Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery, Pleasanton, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 8 - Mendenhall Phone Conversation

Part seven in this series left off with phone numbers being exchanged between Gregg and I. We finally had that phone conversation a few weeks back. He called me one evening at about 9:30 and we spoke for three and a half hours. Can you believe it? I thought it was three hours but I have been corrected.

For me this was a most fascinating conversation. I learn more and more about the Mendenhall history and family all the time. It is amazing what one remembers when it involves your own family. Gregg remembered and shared so much with me. Everything was so exciting, it was difficult sometimes to believe I really wasn't part of the family. I have found history much more appealing these days compared to when I was in school and it was presented in such a dry manner. I really appreciate the stories I hear from family descendants, they aren't just dates and places, they are the meat and bones of the family.

We discussed what brought us together in the first place and why. I was given more explicit information regarding a story he wanted to share. He seemed content to have me present when the time comes that he meets the Historical Society President. What an honor, I was going to be present for this meeting!

I believe had it not been so very late when we ended the phone conversation we would have talked much longer. However, by the end our conversation Gregg was ready to meet with Jeff. Within a couple of days I was speaking with Jeff electronically. Jeff agreed to a meeting place and time. We were to meet on a Sunday morning at 9:00 and our meeting place was to be Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore.

Gregg had some doubts about the whole meeting. I totally understood. Maybe Jeff wouldn't be interested in what Gregg had to tell him. Several years ago, Gregg had tried to tell this story to someone else, but the person he spoke with wasn't interested. Why would this encounter be any different? One benefit he had this time was that he had me. I was interested. It would be a few short days and we would all finally be meeting. I sat and wondered...what if Jeff wasn't interested? It didn't matter to me. I knew the story and would be able to reveal it once this meeting took place, no matter the consequences. Gregg gave me permission.

Honoring the Young - Carmelita Mary Mello

Carmelita Mary Mello did not have a very long life. She was born December 12, 1955 and passed away on March 6, 1956. I took this photo on May 10, 2009. It is nice to see she is still being remembered. Carmelita is buried at St. Michael's Cemetery in Livermore, California.