As the days until we finish our summer as Monument Conservators rapidly decline, my colleagues and I have been attempting to complete some basic repairs of random stones around Woodland. Peter and Jonathon had an interesting find. A lot of the stones we encounter have broken at the base, and many of the bases are missing. They are typically under the ground or have been thrown away at some point over the years. We usually probe on either side on the ends of the stone for the base, and sometimes we get lucky. However, Peter and Jonathon were looking at a stone that had no sign of the base at either end. They decided to lift the stone and probe underneath, and to our surprise, the key was directly underneath the stone. This surprised us, but it was great because it gave us something fun to work on for our last two weeks.
We also completed the documentary today (and by we, I mean Sunny and Alyssa). That might be airing on Rogers TV, but will definitely be put up on Woodland Cemeteries official website!
I should also use my last post to work on my final reflections of my summer here. This was honestly the best student summer job I could have imagined. I grew up with my mum instilling in me a love of history and she taught me that cemeteries were a direct connection to our past. I think this summer has just taught me to respect them even more, to understand the sheer amount of work that went into each stone that we see. It continues to amaze me the talent of the stonecutters, who were using basic tools to produce these brilliant works of art.
I also appreciate the work that goes into running a cemetery now more than ever. The team at Woodland works so seamlessly and everyone is genuinely interested and happy to do what they do. My boss Paul says that you should be able to put yourself in the shoes of the loved ones and feel compassion, and the day you can’t do that anymore is the day you should leave. I’ve learned a lot from him this summer. Whether it is about the management of the cemetery or about the battles of the American Civil War, he is always eager to impart his knowledge to us, something that we always appreciate.
The other members of Woodlands team were also equally responsible for making this an amazing summer for my team. They were patient with us when we ‘accidently’ borrowed their equipment and forgot to put it back, and they were always interested to see what new projects we were working on and to help when they could. Everyone works so hard, but they always have time to be kind and lend a hand, which is valued more then I can say.
Then, of course, I can’t forget our teacher Tom Klassen, who taught us everything we knew. We definitely would not have gotten as far as we could without his wisdom, and we always enjoyed working with him. He is brilliant at what he does, and I am looking forward to helping him teach my Masters in Public History course a bit about Monument Restoration in the fall!
Overall, it has been a wonderful summer and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Thank you once again to everyone who helped make this summer the best of my University career.