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Jun-23-2010 22:58printcomments

Your City USA visits Zena

For all of our technology, we can do no better than etch our names, our dates of birth and death as deeply into stone as we can.

Your City USA Zena Oregon

(Zena, Oregon) - It lies about ten miles northwest of Salem. There are those who call it a ghost town, and I'd have to agree since there are few remaining inhabitants in Zena.

The Spring Valley Presbyterian Church graveyard remains, however, but to my knowledge it isn't a place of ghosts or horrors of any kind. It's not really about death either. It is a place of memory.

Here is memory recorded in the only technology these people knew: chisel and granite. The body dies, they knew, but if you could at least scratch your name deeply enough into a chunk of polished stone you can continue a presence.

I got that feeling when I visited the graveyard this last Memorial Day weekend. These people have a story. It may be brief. It may consist of no more than their name, the dates of their birth and death and perhaps a notation as to whom they were espoused to.

I was here, is the only message they've really left. You can't get more determined than that.

I'd like to expand their presence. Their marble headstones endure, but I would like to introduce them to the digital world where they may join the rest of us on the internet with their message of previous existence.

Look on these photos with kindness in your heart. I don't have to tell you that we, too, one day will want echo their message.


For all of our technology, we can do no better than etch our names, our dates of birth and death as deeply into stone as we can.

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Leonardo (Glen L. Bledsoe), cartoonist, was born and raised in Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago for several years. Glen made his home in Oregon in the early 80's where he continues to enjoy the mild climate and lack of sales tax.

He and his wife Karen have published seventeen books together for the school library market. Glen has written extensively on the issues of technology and education for the National Education Association and other Leonardo (Glen L. Bledsoe) publications. When he is not creating this unique cartoon series, Glen is either teaching, writing a novel, composing music, or reading.

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Glen June 24, 2010 9:32 pm (Pacific time)

I don't have any background to know, but I suspect you're right. I did a quick Google search for "Killoop" and found it connected to families in Montana. There were notations in a language which wasn't English nor in anything else I recognized.

The Chemawa Indian School dates back to the 1870's. You can read more here.

gp June 24, 2010 5:25 am (Pacific time)

Leonardo, I love this little grave yard if it is the one my friend and I always called the Buryan" Church.  Does the back of the chapel raise up higher than the front so those in back can see easily?  I don't know if that was a peculiar style for buryan' chapels or not.Thanks for this artcile.  I love to wander in old grave yards and look at the names and the dates and think of the pople and enjoy the beauty and history.  Some of the people whose graves were near places I lived were Mary Barlow, the rotten rat Henry Skene Ogdan, and Henry Weinhard.  I did once find the grave of my friend's grandparents and was able to direct him to the place.  One of my favorite photos is of me with my grandsons laying on top of my parents graves. Pretending to take a nap.  We love to visit our family plot though most are in urns not coffins but below the ground in one spot.  Needless to say, I am not inclined to like the idea of spreading ashes around willy nilly.

Anonymous June 24, 2010 5:14 am (Pacific time)

Archie Killoops sounds like a Native person's name. There was that Normal School around Salem someplace, what do you know about that? I have a basket made there in the native style about 1900.

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