The heart-shaped pond at Kingston’s Evergreen Cemetery.

When I was twelve, I dated a boy I knew from church. When we could manage it, we’d skip Sunday School and sneak out to the cemetery. It’s not as morbid as it sounds. The graveyard next to the church was quite large and actually very pretty, with lots of flowers, trees and shrubs. It was an ideal place for a stroll, or just to sit and talk.

There was a particular place we liked to hang out, well out of sight of the church and the roads that bordered the cemetery on two sides. Being teenagers, we thought it was cool to refer to the people whose graves were nearby as if they were our friends. “Let’s go visit Frank and Shirley,” we’d say. No one else knew what we were talking about. Since these people had died over a century before, it didn’t seem the least bit disrespectful.

The cemetery was one of the only places we could have quiet time, just the two of us, without our parents or younger siblings wondering what we were up to. We knew it was a little odd to be frequenting a place typically reserved for mourning and remembrance, but in a way, that just made it more attractive. As it was, we were constantly striving to stand apart from our peers. Having the Duxbury Town Cemetery be our special place certainly enhanced our individuality.

People change; situations change. That particular relationship lasted less than a year, but at the time it seemed like forever. My graveyard days ended along with it. As I grow older and more aware of my own mortality, hanging out among the headstones has lost its appeal. Still, I do appreciate it when I find a nice cemetery – one that feels more like a peaceful resting place than a flat, generic field.

One warm evening this spring, my husband and I were out with some friends, driving around in their convertible with the top down. We were on our way back from a movie, headed for dinner, cruising the back roads of Kingston. As we approached the Evergreen Cemetery in the town center, Chris suggested we stop so he could show us all something interesting.

Chris has been a photographer for the Mariner newspapers for fifteen years now, so he’s seen a lot more of the South Shore than the average person. He knows about all sorts of hidden treasures – things you would never find on your own. Chris wanted to show us Evergreen Cemetery primarily because it is such a lovely place – beautifully landscaped and well maintained. But in particular, he wanted to show us the heart-shaped frog pond just inside the entrance.

It was dusk when we arrived and as quiet as you’d expect on a Sunday night in June. The mosquitoes were out, but not yet in full force – annoying but not yet lethal. The stone-bordered pond was still, with a number of lily pads floating on the surface.

Walking down a slope toward the water, we heard a delicate croak, and then seemingly out of nowhere, a frog leapt out of the pond onto the grass in front of us. We took a few more steps and another one zipped by . . . and then another. The frogs were camouflaged so well in the water; it was hard to tell where the next one would come from. They moved so fast, you could barely see them.

Our friends raced off toward the other side of the pond, intent on catching a frog to study more closely. Chris went back to the car to get his camera. I just stood there, marveling. What a strange scene — four fully-grown adults, hanging out in a cemetery playing with frogs . . .

by Kezia Bacon Bernstein, Correspondent
June 2003

Kezia Bacon Bernstein’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to the preservation, restoration, maintenance and conservation of the North and South Rivers and their watershed. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168.