In January of this year, my father and I went to visit the grave sites of his parents, who are buried in Northern Virginia. I hadn’t been since my grandmother was buried in 1970, when I was 10, so it was as though I were visiting that cemetery for the first time.
I find grave markers interesting, so I walked around to visit some of my grandparents’ neighbors, noticing the years of their births and deaths, wondering who might have been when they lived above ground.
I came upon this marker, which stopped me on my path.
Wow, M. Who could this be? Could she be Monica, without a last name? Could it be someone with no family, or someone whose family couldn’t afford any more than a single letter?
For the past six months, I’ve imagined who M was, when she or he might have lived and died. I’ve created scenarios and stories in my mind. Was she a wartime nurse? Was he a child? Does M’s family, if they exist, ever come to visit? Are flowers ever placed on M’s grave? I just couldn’t let it go.
Recently I learned that a friend’s son has a summer job mowing grass and maintaining the grounds at that same cemetery.
I jumped on the chance to learn M’s identity. I e-mailed this picture to my friend, asking if her son could find out who this deceased person, with whom I’d been so preoccupied, was.
A day later, the reply came:
“Not a person. It is a plot marker to direct the grave diggers. As in ‘plant Mr. Jones at 4M.'”
This is the first time I’ve been disappointed to learn that someone didn’t die.
7 responses to “M is for . . .”
Maybe this is a marker for a future McDonalds.
or the future of McDonalds
RIP the Happy Meal as we knew it.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to write one of the stories you concocted about M? I’d love to read it. This story both cracked me up and got my creative juices flowing — and not for a Big Mac.
I agree with Polly; a good plot line for a mystery.
I propose we make her a spy whose identity could never be revealed because …?