Tag Archives: graves

Christopher Crisp Uncovered

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.


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.

* * *

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.

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.

Christopher Crisp gravesite 2013

Christopher's grave lighthouse 2013

cemetery run 2010 – part two

The second part of our annual cemetery run included a trip to Inglewood Park Cemetery and Riverside National Cemetery. They’re a couple of hours apart (in good traffic), so it was a long day. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day until about 3:30 in the afternoon when it started turning dark and chilly. We survived.

First stop – Inglewood Park Cemetery.

My brother Gary is buried here, as are my Auntie Eleanor, Auntie Ethel, Uncle Willy and cousin Ceresia.

Gary William Johnson lived 22 days. He was born prematurely and, 57 years ago, his internal problems couldn’t be corrected.

Minda Ceresia Barrett, my cousin, was three months old when she died. She’s buried seven spaces down from Gary.

Eleanor Cradic, my aunt, was only42 years old when she died from cancer.

Ethel Keddy, my aunt and Eleanor’s sister, also died from cancer. Eleanor and Ethel were both my dad’s sisters (dad also succumbed to cancer).

Willis Keddy, my uncle, was Auntie Ethel’s husband.

Two last headstones… Judy Ann Bilbrey is buried next to Gary, and we’ve always decorated her grave as if she was a member of our family. In all the years we’ve done this ( we’ve only missed a handful in 57 years), her grave has never been visited or decorated by anyone other than us as far as we know. That’s sad. So my family “adopted” her so that she wasn’t completely alone and forgotten.

Gayle Lynn Bremer is on the other side of Gary and, like Judy, has never been visited as far as we know, so we “adopted” her, too. (we finished decorating both graves after we to0k these pictures)


Now… the second half of part two: Riverside National Cemetery. We have three family members buried there:

My dad, Glenn Eldon Johnson

My cousin, Clint Smith

My cousin Larie’s dad, Clarence Woelke (aka Chip)

(all three graves were decorated after these photos were taken)

As we left Riverside National we stopped for a short visit with the geese (we forgot to bring them bread!) and then headed home.

cemetery run 2010 – part one

No, it’s not a marathon conducted in a cemetery (I was recently asked if that’s what the cemetery run was). Each year at Christmas time we visit the family graves at five cemeteries – Desert Lawn, Riverside National, Inglewood Park, Forest Lawn Cypress and Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills – and decorate them, some years elaborately and some years not so elaborately. This year was a little of each.

The first part (one of four) was a few weeks ago when we met up with cousins Chuck & Larie and my Uncle Buddy at Forest Lawn Cypress, where my Grandmother, Granddaddy and Auntie Brenda are buried.

Grandmother’s grave:

Granddaddy’s grave:

Chuck at Auntie Brenda’s grave:

Uncle Buddy, Larie and Chuck at Auntie Brenda’s grave:

After the decorating was finished we headed over to Knott’s Berry Farm for lunch at TGI Friday’s and some wandering through the shops. Chuck and Mike were pooped out so they found a comfortable bench to rest on while the rest of us shopped.

It was the first time we’ve gone cemeterying (yep, I made that up) with relatives and it was fun. We’re looking forward to another cemetery run with Chuck, Larie and Uncle Buddy in the future.