December 10 was a warm & sunny day when we headed down to Inglewood Park Cemetery to visit the graves of my brother, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. This year was a bit different from past years, though, because we had an additional mission. Before we left the house I logged onto Find A Grave to see if anyone had a photo request posted. Several were there, including one from October, which is unusual since requests at this cemetery are usually claimed within a few days. Not so with this one. We soon found out why.
Christopher Crisp was one of three people we were going to hunt for. The first two were easy to find. Little did we know it would take an hour and a half of cemetery tromping to find the third one. Mr. Crisp was born in England, so we started using our best English accents (Mike’s is good, mine not so much) when speaking to each other (hey, Mike started it!), which made the search more fun.
After scouring the La Ramada section for an hour I decided it was time to visit the office and ask for help. We were starving and parched, but weren’t willing to give up yet. The young lady in the office offered to send a customer rep out to help us find the grave. Louis joined us a short while later and ended up going way beyond any expectations to help us find the grave. Perhaps he was caught up in finding the missing headstone, too.
After spending about 10-15 minutes checking markers for a grave number close to Mr. Crisp’s without success, Louis headed to the front office to pick up a list of graves in the same row as Mr. Crisp’s. One of the graves on the list was quickly found, which gave Louis a place to start.
Louis started poking his shovel in the grass where the headstone should have been. Clunk! Hmmm, could that be it??? He jabbed the ground a few inches over and… clunk!… another hit. Yep, it was indeed a headstone. The excitement mounted as he lifted the blanket of sod and there was… Mr. O’Hara. Ok, then, it MUST be the next one over. Again, Louis gave the ground a jab and – clunk! – a possible headstone. A few inches over and… another clunk! Could THIS be Mr. Crisp?
UPPER LEFT: Louis starts the search; UPPER RIGHT: lifting sod; LOWER PHOTO: oops, wrong headstone – let’s try the next one over
Once again, Louis lifted a blanket of sod, but before he had it completely lifted I could see CHRISTOPHER and 1847 imbedded in the sod. We had found Mr. Crisp!
CHRISTOPHER 1847 in the sod
CRISP embedded in the sod
Hello Mr. Crisp!
A little cleanup reveals a headstone in perfect condition. There isn’t a chip, crack or scratch to be found. Even Louis was impressed.
Two headstones uncovered… Mr. Crisp and Mr. O’Hara
Mike starts cleaning Mr. Crisp’s headstone….
…and Louis steps in to help. He’s got the BIG broom and a gallon of water.
CHRISTOPHER CRISP 1847-1921
We’ve decided to adopt Mr. Crisp as our honorary great-grandfather and will be trimming, cleaning and decorating his grave each Christmas along with our family members’ graves at Inglewood Park; his grave will never become overgrown again as long as we’re around. Graving has provided adventures for us before, but this is one that will stand out in our memories. We’ll never forget the fun we had searching for – and the thrill of finding – a long-forgotten headstone.
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We’ve been reading all the Crisp Point Light Historical Society info and now plan to go see it in person one day. It’s amazing how beautifully the lighthouse has been restored. I just wish there was more info – and a photo! – of Mr. Crisp somewhere.
~ UPDATE! ~
Here are a couple of photos of Mr. Crisp’s grave for 2013. We brought along a little lighthouse and a light that we thought looked like it was part of a lighthouse (use your imagination). We never got to see the light at night, but hopefully Mr. Crisp enjoyed it.