Let the Good Byes Begin

By Paul

Originally posted: Friday, May 04, 2007
Modfied: Wednesday, June 20, 2007

One thing I've been wanting to do before I leave Seattle was to get some pictures of me next to my Grandparents graves.  It was a sunny day on Saturday April 28 so I was a good day to it.

My Granpda Murphy, my mother's father, died when I just a small boy about 6 years old.  Several memories of Grandpa have persisted over the years.  One is "pinkies".  He always had some pink wintergreen flavored mints in his jacket pocket.  That made him a popular guy with my friends and me.  There are plenty of other memories and stories too.  I will write those down when I scan some old photographs to show you.  Because of the funeral I just attended, I'm also very keenly aware of some memories around Grandpa's death, two in particular. 

One vivid memory is about mom while she was helping me get ready for bed after we had gone to view Grandpa at the funeral home.  He was in an open casket.  The casket lid was in two parts so only the upper body was visible, from his waist down I couldn't see because that part of the lid was closed.  While I sat on the bed and mom was taking off my shoes and socks I asked her, "what's wrong with Grandpa's legs?"  Mom broke down and cried.  Surely I didn't understood what death was or what was really going on.  I just felt bad because I asked mom a question and it made her cry.  She tried to explain --  I remember is her saying Grandpa is dead and I won't see him again as she was sobbing.

The other memory is really goofy because I remember so many details about this event, even though they aren't directly associated with my Granpda or the funeral.  Maybe it is all so vivid because maybe this is when I realized what was really going on with Grandpa.  It was a sunny afternoon at school in Mrs. Ambrose's first grade class in Portable #8 at Sacajawea.  We were charting the temperature every day on big graph.  We also had a big thermometer replica that we would adjust to see today's temperature.  Myself, Mrs. Ambrose and a couple other kids were out getting the temperature from the real thermometer.  I was holding the white thermometer with the red alcohol  bulb gauge.  Mrs. Ambrose said something about the way I was holding the thermometer my hands would raise the reading.  I screwed up the day's reading.  I started crying.  Mrs. Ambrose told the other kids I was crying my Grandpa had died and today was his funeral.  I thought I was crying because I was going to get in trouble for screwing up the thermometer in my hot little hand.  Mrs. Ambrose knew better.

Well, enough of that.  Here are the pictures from my Granpda's grave about 49 years later.

The cannon is how I could always see my Grandpa's grave from the hiway.  His stone in the first row just under the muzzle of the cannon.

This is at the Washelli Cemetery in the north end of Seattle. (Click the links for maps)


My Grandma Quesnell's grave is just across the hiway from Grandpa's.  Grandma died in 1969 when I was a junior in high school.  By that time I had a good enough concept of death, but I remember having a debate with someone at school about heaven and what people look like there.  I mean, I remember my Grandma as an 80 year old woman in 1969, but her husband died 1932, 37 years earlier.  If we all are in heaven and the 3 us are sitting together who get's to see Grandma the way she is/was? Me or Grandpa Quesnell.  I wasn't very spiritually aware in high school.

Grandma's grave isn't as easy to find a Granpda's.  I can't see it from the hiway and I can never remember where it is.

There are several of the structures in the cemetery.  It is the one furthest south.

When I first saw this back in 1969, I remember it was so weird to see my name engraved in stone.

I love my Grandma, but the crypt in the wall thing really creeps me out. 

For me, I just want to be cremated.  I'd like most of my ashes to be dumped from the Washington State Ferry that runs between Edmonds and Kingston.   If you want, whoever survives me, you can takee some of my ashes to do what you'd like.


After spending some time roaming the cemeteries while Gregg took my pictures, we ended up at my work downtown for a data emergency.  After working there for so many years, I tend to take the view for granted.  Seattle is a good looking city with all the water, hills and mountains.  But I've been looking at it long enough... time for some new scenery.  I can either continue living here and become a bitter old curmudgeon, or move away and be happy and excited about new surroundings (while I screw up somebody else's idea of a "good old town".)    Anyway, Gregg brought the camera upstairs and we got some nice shots  Well, 3 are pretty good.


Les Emmett, a friend of ours from the bear club, died suddenly from a stroke this past week.  Today (Friday May 4th was his memorial service.  Les was good and warm man.  We weren't the closest of friends and we had only really known him well for a couple of years, still it was a good thing to take the time and remember his life with others.  Here is a picture of Les and me at a picnic in 2006.