Sheri would have been my cousin. She died when she was two years old, before I was born. Some kids were drag racing and hit my aunt's car, killing Sheri. It was the sort of family devastation that no one, in my family, ever got over. My parents were engaged to be married. They would "practice" parenting, taking Sheri on outings. She was the first grandchild and well loved and entirely missed!
Grandma and I took walks through the cemetery, to take flowers to Sheri's grave, nearly every time I visited. She and I liked to talk and use the "helicopters" that fell from the tree lined lane, to stick to our noses. Grandma was never afraid to play and didn't mind looking silly with her granddaughter. It was a long walk. Sometimes I would go by myself and twirl my baton as I marched along to "see Sheri". Working on my parade routine, at age 8, I would pretend that the headstones were the spectators (not specters) cheering for me as I did my "toss turnarounds".
There was another reason I went on those walks. I loved to go see "the girl statue". Grandma always compared my height to hers, to see how I had grown since the last visit. I placed flowers on Sherry's grave and saved one for "the girl" to hold. I loved her. Strange as it sounds, I sort of grew up with her and about the time I could stand on the pedestal and found that she and I were about the same height, Grandma and Grandpa moved away and I never saw her again...until today! It occurred to me, yesterday, that I still have cousins in the Altoona area! I asked my cousin David. He took a trip out there to search for "the girl". Today he found her!
Sherry and my Uncle Bob's graves. See the girl? She's across the lane.
I'm so sad, she is missing part of her nose now.
David says she's "just there". I wonder if she was placed there by the cemetery people or if she was part of the plot of the two stones she seems to be standing at the foot of? I kinda think David must be right, though. The two stones in front of her, are facing away from her.
There's just something about her. I've wanted to see her again, for the last 26 years and here she is!
I think I need to make some pretty black and white pictures and frame her in a special part of our new home.