Friday, September 21, 2012

A Trip to Remember - Day 2

On the first day of my trip I visited 6 different cemeteries...on the second day of my trip I topped that and visited two different states. I started my day in Farmingdale/Pinelawn, NY (that's on Long Island). There are three cemeteries all on the same street with another one just a few blocks away. Wellwood Cemetery was the first I visited, and I only had one couple to see there - the only people from my mother's family - Aunt Anne (Raskind) and Uncle Garson Rockoff. Aunt Anne died before I was born, and Garson remarried a woman named Margaret. I remember meeting Garson and Margaret when I was quite young, maybe 10 years old or so. They were the sweetest couple, so it was special getting to "be" with Garson again. (Margaret is one of my "missing" relatives...if anyone knows where she's buried, please let me know!)
Right next door to Wellwood, and actually connected to it, is Beth Moses Cemetery. I also had only one couple to see there, Milton and Libby Bromberg. They were cousins of mine through my grandma Sadie. I believe I met them once many years ago when I was visiting New York, and their family are some of my only Orthodox relatives.
Just down the street from these two cemeteries is New Montefiore Cemetery. I had two couples to see here but could only find one of them because the cemetery plot numbers did not make sense, and walking up and down rows didn't help. I was able to find my cousins Sidney and Ruth Brooks. (Sidney's father is Abner Blumenthal, my father's uncle)
My last stop on Long Island was Mount Ararat Cemetery where my cousin Jackie's second husband (Perry Rothenhaus) and his family are buried. Also there are some dear friends of my parents', the Yasens, and some cousins through marriage, the Maizners.
After finishing up Long Island I decided to do the unthinkable...and drive to New Jersey! Because it was Labor Day and there was no traffic I was able to get from Long Island to Riverside Cemetery in Saddle Brook, NJ in one hour. The coolest part of the drive was going over the George Washington Bridge.
Once I got to Riverside Cemetery I was greeted in the office by the most helpful cemetery worker I have ever met. He not only gave me maps, but he said he would come out on the grounds to help me find the graves. After I left the office I went to have a small snack and by the time I went to the gravesites on the map he was *already there* and had *already found* the ones I was looking for. Talk about service! The main group of graves I went to were for the Metchik family, cousins through my grandma Sadie.
On my way to the other graves in Riverside I ran into a goose...and followed it a bit.
When I was done at Riverside I drove south to Beth Israel Memorial Park in Woodbridge, NJ. I was only looking for my great-great uncle, Israel Hyman...but when I got there I had a shock. There was a whole plot of Hymans!!! People I had no idea where they were buried were now staring me in the face. (Well, not literally.) It was so exciting! I called my mom joyfully with the news of all the family members I had found, and we celebrated together over the phone.
Once I had finished with my New Jersey stops I drove back to New York, more specifically to Montefiore Cemetery in Springfield Gardens (in Queens). I was especially excited for this visit because I was looking for Cousin Miltie (Bromberg)'s parents and grandparents. His mother, Anna, I was mostly looking forward to because there is dispute about when she was born, and I figured it would be on her headstone.
*cries* As you can see, no date of birth or even an inkling of how old she was when she died. I was so angry I actually swore out loud. lol When I got home from my trip I ordered her death certificate from the state, so hopefully that will help. *fingers crossed*

I actually revisited Mount Zion Cemetery after going to Montefiore because I discovered someone I had missed, but unfortunately I took a picture of the wrong stone because the person had the same name... Still a relative, just not the right one. So I managed to visit 8 cemeteries in 2 different states all in the course of 9 hours. And then I collapsed when I got back to Far Rockaway.

To be continued...

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