5 Dec 2013
LOCKED UP IN A CEMETERY
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
In Germany where I used to live before moving to Belgium, together with my parents we often went on a walk to the cemetery, not because we had somebody laying there but because it was like a park with benches, beautiful flowers and bushes and even a little playground for children. It was very family friendly and the kids played hide and seek between the grave stones.
When we moved to Belgium I thought the cemeteries would be the same and one afternoon after school I went with a friend to a nearby located cemetery expecting a beautiful park. What a disappointment ! At the entrance there was a guard who looked at us suspiciously, he probably wondered what two giggling girls are doing in a graveyard. We were 15.
The cemetery was completely different to the once we were used to, there were no trees no bushes, no flowers not even a lawn. All graves were side by side in narrow lines covered with grey slabs, sometimes in marble or granite. Some of them had some awful looking fake flowers in a vase on on the graveslab. The whole cemetery was surrounded by a high wall. We got the impression as if people were afraid that the death would all come out ! The whole graveyard looked a little spooky but we found it rather funny.
We walked through the graves and looked at the pictures of the people who were buried in their graves with the slabs on to avoid that they would come out. That was rather fun. Suddenly we found a kind of basement with steps to go down which we did. There we found a room with little drawers all around looking like safes in a bank. We had no idea what that was but there were pictures to look at too.
From far away we heard a bell ringing several times in the cemetary but didn't pay attention. Then we had enough of this spooky place and it also became dark. We decided to go back.
Of course we got lost and couldn't find the exit, so we stumbled between the graves and tried to find our way out. As it was a quite strange situation and we found it rather funny and laughed and giggled all the way long. Finally we saw street lamps and the exit.
Now we wanted to go out, but the gate was locked. Nobody was there, the guard had disappeared ! We started to call people on the street, but nobody payed attention they just walked by. At that time I only spoke little French and wasn't able to explain our unfortunate situation.
Finally an elderly man, came to the gate and asked what happened. We tried to explain that we were locked in and couldn't get out ! He laughed his head off said something, and disappeared. It was hopeless ! Later we understood, because he came back with a policeman.
And now our adventure really started. While we were behind the bars, the policeman tried to get hold of somebody of the commune, but of course at that time all offices were closed in the City Hall. Finally he found somebody but this person didn't have the keys for the gate. Another policeman arrived and other people gathered around us and we felt like in a zoo ! Everybody started laughing when they heard our story which a German speaking man had translated to them and one lady gave us an apple ! I asked for an orange. They all talked together where to find the key to get us out. The gate was far to high to climb over not to speak about the wall.
Finally a breathless guy arrived shaking a bunch of keys ! He looked them through, found the right key, opened the gate and we walked out. We were greeted with laughter and some people even clapped their hands. The two policemen rather amused took us both to the police station. With the help of a German speaking policeman, we made an official statement, how and why we got locked in and we told them that we hadn't payed attention to the ringing bell, which announced the closing of the cemetery. We simply hadn't known what it meant ! They didn't call our parents and let us go with a big smile. After this adventure we didn't visit a Belgian cemetery anymore !
Just to give you an idea
Today I am thinking of some German tourists who, in each country visit a cemetery and take photos and they don't understand why other countries find this use quite strange and rather disturbing !