|Tammi Thiele - A Graveyard Rabbit
I recently received an email from Tammi Thiele of Rogers, Arkansas who asked permission to use one of my stories in connection with a very unusual hobby she has. We corresponded back and forth several times, and in turn, I asked Tammi’s permission to share some information about her hobby. I’m sure there will be those who read this that think this is a very strange and morbid way to spend time, but personally, I found it quite interesting. Here is what Tammi has to say about being a "Graveyard Rabbit."
"I am originally from Odessa, Texas, but moved in 1988 to Rogers, Arkansas. For the past 18 years, I have been a self-employed nail tech. I love my job and the people I get to meet. It's a great way to express my artsy side on a regular basis while making a living too. My husband, Tom, has been a journalist for many years. He has written one book and is working on a second. Our wedding ceremony took place in a cemetery on Halloween, my favorite holiday. I wore a modified Victorian mourning dress and he wore a Victorian styled outfit. My daughter, Katie, is an intelligent, beautiful, and extremely energetic nine year old.
"My cemetery wandering originally began for photography purposes. I
love the art you can find in cemeteries. They are like forgotten museums
of art. Even after getting home with the photographs, searching for
information about the person and the monument brings these questions to
mind ... Who carved it? What do the symbols on it mean? What was the
person like? Sometime my searches don’t turn up anything exciting, and
then other times, I’ll find a monument that will takes my breath away. I
prefer the older sections where people were way more involved in the
making and selecting of the markers. So its always an adventure when I
go out looking. I've been interested in cemeteries for as long as I can
remember. As a child, my dad would take my brother and I to the cemetery
where my grandparents were buried. We would spend hours trying to find
the oldest stones. It was like a game for us, so I learned at an early
age that cemeteries were not the scary places that many people believe
them to be.
"My family and friends have always thought my obsession with cemeteries is odd and a bit morbid. But I am okay with that. I just say they haven't figured out how interesting they can be. My daughter, Katie, has her own camera she likes to use. Hopefully she is a Graveyard Rabbit in the making. I enjoy this hobby so much that I have recently founded a small group of like-minded individuals called Grave Addicts of Arkansas. That way there is never a shortage of people to wander the cemeteries with me or someone to chat about my new finds with. We venture out almost every week looking for new places to go and new mysteries to find.
More about Tammi can be found on the internet at www.escapetothesilentcities.blogspot.com.
Tammi Thiele took this photograph of a tombstone found in the Bell Cemetery in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. The short inscription tells a lot about the person buried there.