Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Name Through the Centuries

When I was young, I used to enjoy walking in graveyards. I know that may seem a little morbid, but it was peaceful, cemeteries are rather pretty, and it's interesting
The cemetery was off part of this canal. The water
itself is now paved over, but the route is still used
as Erie Boulevard.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
getting a peek into every day history.

Not far from one of the houses I grew up in was a small graveyard. This particular cemetery dated to the early 1900s and late 1800s.

It was on a hill right off of the main road, which had once been the Erie Canal, and had the coolest stone wall separating it from the sidewalk with a stone staircase leading to the entry.

You could almost taste the history. I hadn't known at the time, but the associated religious institution, DeWitt Community Church, was one of the first in the area.

History and beauty aside, I frequented the cemetery in a bid to get a little peace in my tumultuous adolescent heart.

One day, as I wandered, I noticed one of the small stones next to the family marker. It had my name on it, spelled "Emilie", as it should be. Since my particular spelling is the older, rarer version, it didn't surprise me too much to see it on a grave from the early 1900s.

My attention caught, I looked up at the family marker. "Peck".

At the time, it didn't make much of an impact, since I didn't know my current husband at the time.

Years later, after I was married, that memory came drifting back, and a chill shimmied its way down my spine.

I wish I had taken a picture. There were so many years between then and now that I can't be sure of whether the memory is fully accurate. However, through the magic of the internet, I discovered that there was at least one Emilie Peck born in 1905.

I don't think she's the same lady as the one lain to rest in New York, but it's always a bit unnerving when you find someone who lived with your name decades before you were even born.


  1. Saw the picture (postcard?) and immediately recognized it (I live about 70 miles from Syracuse, NY). Love your story. Alana

    1. How cool! I try to get back there every few years, but travel is SO expensive. I spent a good chunk of my adolescence there. Small world!

      I hope you haven't gotten smacked by snow too terribly. Lake effect can be nightmarish.

      Thanks so much, Alana. :)


Your comment will appear once it's been approved. Thanks for dropping by!