Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

There's Much about Life in Cemetery

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

There's Much about Life in Cemetery

Article excerpt

COMMENTARY

Atop an unremarkable grave in a once-forgotten cemetery is a model train set, of all things.

The grave is inside the Adams and Rogers Cemetery in Bradenton and it belongs to a man named Solomon Williams, who died in 2005 at age 101.

Just why would someone place a train set atop this particular grave? Because Williams was the first black train engineer in Florida. He drove a train called "Old Cabbage Head'' and there was a time that people were so shocked to see a black engineer they paid to take pictures of him aboard the train.

Walk through the old cemetery full of cement tombstones, scraggly weeds and droopy trees and you'll be surprised how much life you'll find surrounded by so much death.

The unusual amount of trinkets people have placed with their deceased loved ones is really staggering and very revealing of the lives they lived.

There is humor: Darion Lazier died in 2005 and at the foot of his grave is a sign that reads: "Dolphins Fan Parking Only.''

There is sadness: Latearanei Bell died in 1996, the same year she was born, and someone made the outside of her grave look like a white crib. There are Hello Kitty dolls on top, signs that say "Queen'' and "Sassy'' on the sides and melodic wind chimes in front.

There is more sadness: Brian Braun died in 2014 at age 42. He was a hard-living, well-liked and very talented photographer. Atop his grave is a Public Enemy CD, a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, a lighter and a T-Shirt with his likeness on the front.

Behind Braun is the purple casket of a boy named Silas Love III, who died when he was 9. On his grave there is a video game control stick, Easter eggs and a birthday card from his aunt.

Next to him there is a child's grave with Spiderman boxing gloves, a Nerf football, toy cars and soap bubble bottles.

What's now called the Adams and Rogers Cemetery is separated from Fogartyville Cemetery by a fence. …

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