While on a junket to South Carolina late last year I made a quick side trip up to Baltimore to catch up with the clan. I’d been away much too long, more than twenty years. So many of the tribe have crossed over since then.
Last time I was in Maryland I got to know my Aunt Miriam for the first time in my adult life, as she drove me around to visit graves and other sites relevant to her and my father’s side of the family. This time I wanted to see the place where my mom’s parents, my Grandma and Grandpa Dowell, and mom’s younger sister Cindy, are interred. Miriam was again my trail buddy, but she’s not driving anymore and I had rented a car, so this time she rode shotgun and I did the wheelwork.
It was so good to have her there on such a lonely outing. She’s slowed down a lot in two decades, but she’s the perfect companion for visits to hallowed ground. She’s in no hurry, just quietly walks around, looking at names, reflecting. I made sure she was included in my photo of the Dowell plots (see last photo below); a bright spot of life — even in her mid nineties — on a grey late winter day among the tombs. For an idea of where these graves are within the cemetery, click on the annotated aerial photo here.
My grandparents John Lewis Dowell Jr. and Wilma Caroline (Rohde) Dowell moved away from Pikesville a long, long time ago, but Druid Ridge Cemetery is just up the street from the house on Brightside Avenue where my mother grew up and her mother Wilma before her, and their child Lucinda May was buried here in the 1960s, so it was not surprising to me that they should be here. But only last week my mother told me that some of Wilma’s family, the Rohdes, have graves somewhere in Druid Ridge as well. I didn’t know that last October; I’ll make sure I find them on my next visit.
My mother had told me to look for the Dowell graves away off left of the cemetery entrance under a large deciduous tree standing all by itself (an oak, she thought, and from the fallen leaves I would agree, although being from the evergreen Pacific Northwest I don’t know oaks very well by sight). We found the tree on a rise near the northwest edge of the cemetery.
The graves are all in good shape, lying next to each other in front of a large, single stone bearing the family’s surname. Cindy died of cancer in October of 1964. She was 21 years old and had graduated from nursing school earlier that year (see her graduation photo here). She was the first of the Dowells to be laid under this tree. Grandpa died shortly after the new century and millennium arrived. After that, Grandma came out west to live near my mother for her last years and died in Seattle just a few weeks before her 95th birthday. – mdf