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Posts Tagged ‘homeschoolers’

CCU = Christ Centered Unschoolers. It is a Yahoo List/forum for homeschoolers with an unschooling bent. We’re not necessarily of the same faith despite the name and we’re all in different stages of life or raising children. It is not a list to go to to learn how to unschool or even how to homeschool, although you can get that information from the many members. It is more of a place for prayer, friendship, and support in all the issues that come with life and homeschooling. I discovered the list around the end of 1997 or early 1998, the first year I homeschooled my kids. I no longer have children at home but I remain a member of the list because the members of that list have become life-long friends.

My trip out to North Carolina presented me with the opportunity to hook up with some of these friends. (There are a lot of people I would have also liked to have met up with, also, but the ccu friends are the ones that made it possible with my schedule.)

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Karen drove from her home to Fayetteville to have lunch with my son, two of his children, and me. She’s every bit as beautiful in person as she is on line.

I flew in and out of Richmond specifically to hook up with one of my oldest ccu friends, Mary Ann. Mary Ann runs the website, “The Homeschool Mom”. Her website was one of my first discoveries when I was trying to figure out the “how to’s” of homeschooling, right about the time that I found the unschooling list online. A special bonus was added when yet another friend from the list, photographer April C. Raszman was able to drive to Richmond on the same weekend. (April’s link is to Facebook, so unless you have a FB account or her site is public, you probably won’t be able to see her beautiful photography).

To celebrate our first real-life meeting, Mary Ann looked up places to go and picked the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. That probably sounds pretty bizarre, but – it really is not. Mary Ann and I share a passion for genealogy and it was a wonderful photo opp for April. I think we all love old cemeteries (and I know my mother would have been in heaven in this place – pun intended).

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First stop: the pyramid.

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It is huge. From the webpage:

Monument to the Confederate War Dead
This famed 90-foot pyramid stands as a monument to the 18,000 Confederate soldiers buried in Hollywood Cemetery. It was created through the efforts of the women of the Hollywood Memorial Association, who tended the graves of the Confederate dead after the Civil War. They worked together to raise over $18,000 and commissioned the help of engineer Charles Henry Dimmock to design the pyramid.

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There are marks on the stones from the drills used to break the rock into shapes for the building of the monument.

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Mary Ann ponders our route through the maze as April and I take photos. Well, April took photos, I wandered off to read head stones.

The cemetery is for Confederate dead, and for families who can trace their family lineage back to Confederate ties. Mary Ann can do that, having grown up in the Richmond/Washington D.C. area where many of the battles were fought. The headstones close to the monument date from the earliest battles to the latest battles and are loosely grouped by dates. Many of the dead were originally buried elsewhere and were re-interred at the Hollywood Cemetery. There are dozens of unnamed soldiers buried there.

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One of the sights to see is this cast iron Newfoundland dog who guards the grave of a little girl. The website does not give her name or any other details, and the headstone is too worn to read. We know she died in 1862.

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The grave itself has become something of a modern day altar, strewn with baby toys. Did grieving parents leave the toys or did children who were touched by the story leave them? I found a blog post on the grave by Richmond on the James.

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I hope to see April’s photos soon. She showed us the raw ones as she set up her views. My own attempts at framing are pitiful, but that isn’t going to stop me from sharing them. I loved how ornate some of the later monuments are.

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Look at the detail carved in that stone!

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There were many family plots like this one, some of which are still waiting for the last family member to pass and be buried there. (I’m not sure I would be cool with that: having my name and birth date recorded on a headstone that is just waiting for me to die…)

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The tenth President of the United States, John Tyler, was buried at the Hollywood Cemetery in 1862. He was the first president whose death was not nationally recognized because of his ties to the south, but Confederate President Jefferson Davis held a huge going-away ceremony for him.

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The fifth President of the United States was re-interred at the Hollywood Cemetery due to his southern roots. This is the “Birdcage” where President James Monroe’s remains are buried.

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Last among the presidents is Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

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April at work.

April, Mary Ann, and I fell into an easy friendship. We’ve known each other for years on-line and the segue into real-life friendship was just as easy. I do wish Karen could have come to this outing, but I am still so very blessed that she drove down to Fayetteville to have lunch with me!

We had to leave the cemetery way too early: we arrived there a little after 4:00 pm EDT and the gates closed at 6:00. they closed right behind us, in fact. That’s how close we called it.

We then had dinner at a wonderful Mexican Restaurant on Cary Street, Little Mexico.

Our last stop was my motel, Four Points by Sheraton. I booked it through Expedia and picked it as one of the least expensive close to the airport with a free shuttle to the airport. I still paid too much ($112) but after spending the night there – it was worth the cost. For starters, the staff was wonderful.

I was subject to a lecture by Gwen (who checked me in and then took our photo) about not going skinny dipping in the pool and no boys in my room. 10357135_10203671998852835_4187457787783968504_n

We did not plan our outfits! This is just how good friends manage to think alike! It was so wonderful to end my vacation with a mini-get-together with some of my closest and dearest friends. I have many more friends from ccu that I have yet to meet, but getting to meet three of them in one week = priceless!

The cemetery was just a bonus.

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