Do you recognize the term FOSDIC? If so, you must be a fan of Battle of the Planets. It’s a robotic part which 7-Zark-7 references often, and one day as I was driving, I noticed a headstone in the cemetery that said “Willard Fosdick.”
A friend was compiling pictures of “Gatchaman In Real Life” so my antennae went up. It was on October 2nd that I managed to bring the camera in the car with me to get a picture after I returned from daily Mass (for the feast of the guardian angels, but this has nothing to do with angels. I just suspect what happened next happened at all because I was “thinking spiritual”.)
It was just me and two-year-old Kiddo#2 in the car. I went to the cemetery and pulled into the side entrance.
I’m good with directions. The reason I post here about getting lost sometimes is that it happens so rarely. If I’ve been somewhere once, even five years ago, I can get there again. This cemetery was laid out with a circumferential road and an inner circle, with two lines like a plus sign intersecting at the center. It shouldn’t have been too tough to navigate, right?
As soon as I entered the cemetery, I got lost.
My first instinct was to freeze, but I kept driving, found the inner circle, and figured out by logic which direction I needed to go. And eventually, I got there. It made sense that I should: This cemetery isn’t all that big, by the way. If it’s a quarter mile in length and half a mile in depth, that’s a generous assessment. It’s bordered on the one side by one of the largest streets in Angeltown, and I could see it from the center of the cemetery.
I got out of the car, picked up Kiddo#2, and found Willard Fosdick’s grave. After I snapped a picture, I looked to the side, and there was an empty or unmarked grave, and on the other side, Joanna Fosdic, daughter of William and Lydia Fosdick, died age 21.
Cool: two for the price of one. I walked past the unmarked grave and set Kiddo#2 down at my feet to snap the second picture.
As soon as I did, my camera began a distressed beeping. It beeped for five seconds and then shut down.
I’d owned the camera for two years, and it had never done that before. Since then, I don’t believe it’s ever done it again except when I’ve tried to start it with the lens cap on. Clearly a “problem” sound.
And there I stood, dead camera in hand, and I realized how silent it was. How utterly silent. There I stood, my back to the busiest road in Angeltown, and I couldn’t hear a single car. No birds. No nothing. Just me, standing there with my daughter at my leg, the sun at my back casting sharp shadows on the ground, a gravestone, and a shut-down camera.
Without moving, I slipped my finger back to the dial, turned off the camera, and turned it back on. Then, not moving at all, I quietly raised the camera and re-took the picture. This time, it took.
I lifted Kiddo#2 without a word and went around the other side of the gravestones back toward my vehicle, still wrapped in utter silence, and as I walked, I thought, “There’s no way that car is going to start.”
But it did start, and as soon as I could get it moving, I got lost again inside the cemetery. I had to double-back along the circumferential road in order to find the exit. When I got home, although I’d taken three pictures, only two were on the camera.
I analyzed the pictures for anything that might make them a “ghost photo,” but it turned up nothing.
After that, whenever I passed the cemetery, I would pray. I figured, if Willard and Joanna needed prayers, it couldn’t hurt. Or if that unmarked grave in the middle were perhaps Lydia, Joanna’s mother, maybe Lydia felt I shouldn’t have been taking a picture of her daughter. Regardless, I prayed for them.
One more story bears noting. My children love the Music Together albums. There’s one song where the singers imitate a train whistle, and I love the way they harmonize. One day, as we sat at the red light nearest the cemetery, the train whistle part played, and I suddenly had an eerie feeling, a watched feeling. A ghostly feeling.
Behind me, Kiddo#1, who is a very practical geek-type personality, said to me, “That sounds like a ghost whistle.”
Then the light changed, and we moved on. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.