Hometown Living At Its Best 29
I stared at Mary Lizzie McArthur Victoria’s
tombstone from the Find A Grave website. If I could
just walk through the cemetery myself, maybe I could
find something more, I reasoned. When I suggested to
the Editor that a visit to the Old Salem Cemetery in
Montgomery County might be a great adventure, she
smiled and grabbed her camera.
After traveling down several miles of beautiful treelined
dirt roads, the narrowing path suddenly came to
an end. On the left side of the road stood a wooden sign
with Old Salem Cemetery spelled out in black metal
lettering. I glanced across the rows of graves. The sun
was hot. Already, I could feel sweat running down my
back. With no breeze, the air hung motionless in time.
We divided the rows between us. Some of the
graves were identified by names written on concrete
slabs perhaps with a stick before the cement had
hardened. Many were no longer legible. Families
gathered close together in death as in life: Byrd,
Demery, Harris, Martin, Carter, Jackson, Thomas,
McArthur, and Poole. The oldest grave I was able to
identify was for a George McBryde (b. 1787 d. 1865).
Even amongst fallen tree branches and overgrown
bushes in the far corners of the cemetery, we hunted
for a hint of the Victoria family story among the dead.
When we located the graves of Polly’s grandparents,
Mary Lizzie McArthur Victoria, (b. 1929 d. 1988),
and William Victoria (b. 1929 d. 2017), I searched the
surrounding stones and slabs with excitement. Except
for the grave of a cousin, there were no other graves
from the family called Victoria. Wherever they came
from will, for now, remain a ghost story no writer has
yet to tell.
That evening, some of my grandchildren came for
a visit. As we talked about school and trying out for
soccer and cheerleading practice, the thought hit me:
How many times have I seen something of myself in
one of my grandchildren? I’ve often been overwhelmed
by the realization that a part of me lives in each one of
them. In a very real way, a part of me will live on into
the future long after I’m gone.
I might not have discovered the story that brought
that writer to Polly’s childhood home, but I knew more
than I realized. Polly and her family continue to tell
the story of those before them through the story they
tell in the present. It continues to be told through
the giftings passed from generation to generation, as
with Polly’s commitment to 15 years of service in our
community and humble heart for those she serves. The
very atmosphere of Gabby’s Interior Décor and Design
speaks of love for God and family. I’ve no doubt that
generations to come will know who the Victoria family
once was by who their descendants choose to become.
If ghosts are watching, surely the ghosts of the Victoria
family look on with pride. TCM
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