5 Dec 2013

LOCKED UP IN A CEMETERY

Jenny Matlock
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 !

21 comments:

Jeannie Marie said...

I love to wander in a cemetery. The stones are fascinating. It's nice when it's beautifully landscaped but I enjoy them all. Your memories were beautiful.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

The Chinese have a different attitude towards cemetery. They only go if there is a funeral and the Chinese Old Souls day.

How are you? Sorry I was awol, I went for a long trip, and when I came back, I didn't do much blogging.

Sue said...

Quite the adventure!

=)

Fun60 said...

I couldn't stop laughing at your escapade. Strangely enough myself and a friend did a similar thing in Prague. I heard the bell but took no notice. I was too busy looking at some peacocks nesting. Fortunately we were not the only ones locked in. There was another lady who screamed and screamed and as she could speak the language the gate was unlocked a bit quicker than in your case!

Friko said...

I remember the parklike German cemeteries well. All my family lie buried in one or the other of them, of course.
English cemeteries are overgrown and often neglected, with leaning stones and tall grass.

Somehow I like the English ones , there is more atmosphere of death and decay in them than in the neat and tidy German ones.

Tracy Cook said...

completely hillarious

gracie1961 said...

That's why I'm so in love with the english cemeteries, I find them quite relaxing for a walk. I've never been in a german one, thoughh...

Cathy Kennedy said...

I don't believe here in the states we have cemeteries that resemble a park like environment, as you earlier described. There are a few in town that are nice and rather large that we have found are excellent spots for people to take walks without worry of traffic. That seems very odd to me. Oh well, it's definitely a quiet spot for one to think and exercise. Thanks for sharing your funny childhood experience. It did put a smile on my face. :D
Thursday Thoughts: The legend of the candy cane

edenhills said...

That is so funny! Quite the adventure. I do love visiting cemeteries. When my son was small, we'd go do genealogy research in cemeteries and often would picnic among the graves.

Jeanne said...

What an unforgettable experience!

acreativeharbor.com said...

What an adventure ~ thanks for sharing that for C and I find some cemeteries fascinating ~ very creative headstones at some places ~ Happy Weekend to you ~ carol, xxx

Sandra Carlier said...

What a funny story!!!! I never went in a german cimetery but for sure I will after reading your post! Here I love The old cimetery at Le Beausset. Last time I was there I tought taking pictures so much I admired the beautiful graves dating from the XIX century!

Loree said...

That was funny although I would not have liked to be in your place. Cemeteries are sad places. I do not like them very much.

Linens and Royals said...

An adventure I think only you could have. Lucky you weren't locked in the vault you were inspecting.
i like wandering around old cemeteries and reading old headstones. If I had the money I would have a headstone placed on my grt. grandmother's grave as she had such a tragic life.

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

Don't you wish there had been cell phones back then? You were a couple of brave girls -- I would have been scared out of my skin!
Some cemeteries are beautifully landscaped, while others (especially older ones) are creepy at best! But I definitely wouldn't want to be locked up in one!!

Judie said...

The black and white photo looks like the cemeteries in New Orleans. I don't think I would like to be in a cemetery at night! Why? I am so clumsy that I would trip on a stone and probably knock myself out!

A Lady's Life said...

Cemtaries are historical places They tell a story about the people who lived there.Many people take photos at cemetaries In Quebec they even made it a park where people could go jogging.
I think the more people visit the better for the dead.

Andrew said...

What a funny story. Imagine if you had stay overnight. I don't think you would be so brave then. Our newer cemeteries are very like parks and beautifully kept but the older ones are just row after row of headstones. Most of the older ones are maintained in so far as they are kept tidy, but it is up the descendents to maintain headstones etc.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That is a such funny story Gattina...I can just picture the whole thing in my mind.... And I'd rather be in the French cemetery (living or dear ;>)!

Judie said...

Gattina, I never thought that you would not have access to the food items in my salsa recipe. They are such common items in American grocery stores these days. Sorry!

Jenny said...

Cemeteries have always given me the creeps but perhaps if I had visited one in your country I would feel differently...

That is quite the adventure you had!

Thanks for linking to the letter "C" - Clever post!

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