1817 – 1897
I lived 80 long years.
Struggling with sickness and deprivation.
Toiling like a slave
In the mad heat of 80 summers
And the bone-numbing cold of 79 winters.
Striving and straining for happiness and earthly fulfillment.
No man or woman, or God even,
Can take away my honest dealings and daily concerns
For the well, the sick and the dying
Of this former fledgling Quaker community.
But know this old Whittier town,
Town of a hundred years hence,
Yes, you, my once adopted home
By the rising hills to the north and to the east.
Know that my anger for you holds no bounds.
After sweet Artilissa passed away,
You let my grave go to waste.
My tombstone was vandalized and left toppled
By the youthful foolish ones
From the big high school to the south.
Left crumpled and broken
There in the weeds and the trash.
My 80 years as a struggling woman and wife
Left as refuse for the rats!
My final resting place here in Clark Cemetery
Is not to be found now.
You in your temporary wisdom took my name away,
Took my life dates, carved with condoling care,
My allotted years as a breathing thinking human being,
Carved for all time on my beautiful expensive tombstone.
But you took it away in a trash truck.
Mine and my fellow citizens’
Here in this hollowed ground of seeping death.
So, if you dare,
Living ones of the now and the future
Come visit me here in the night.
Come to this haunted old graveyard on Broadway Street.
And I will show myself to you in my anger!
I will show you my living spirit
In all its resplendent colors of the rainbow!
Come boldly, distant cousins and ancestors,
And I will prove to you
There is no death!