Views from the Deck

Reading Neil’s post To the Deck!, I’m reminded of our first home which was purchased on the merit of its backyard deck. It spanned the full length of the house, stretching from the living room walk-out to the sliding glass doors of the adjacent rec room. It was south-facing and sunshine streamed in for all the seasons. Secluded and tranquil it was a perfect place for sipping morning coffee and reading a book. Aside from one day of the year, our backyard was serene and our neighbors dead quiet.

We should have guessed something was up when the realtor asked if we were superstitious.

It’s a great house he said, perfect for a young couple (who we were) and ideal for anyone who values their privacy (we do.) The only thing is … it backs on to a cemetery. But, he hastened to add, it’s not really visible because of all the shrubbery (which was in full bloom in summer.)

Priding ourselves as modern-day, non-superstitious types, we viewed the house. It satisfied all the requirements for affordability, location and affordability. Plus, there was that fabulous deck.

Image: CBellK from CanvaPro

We closed the sale, took possession and enjoyed our first summer in our very first house. Before long it was Labor Day, Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween. In Fall, my favorite time of year, the temperature got a little cooler, the weather a little damper and the covered part of the deck was a treat. Inside or out, the autumn colors were a visual kaleidescope of reds, yellows and orange. It was marvelous.

Image: Lindsay Guido from CanvaPro

The first day of November came on a week-end that year. I remember because whereas my backyard had been blissfully quiet for weeks, suddenly there was block party in the graveyard. Cars were streaming and out, double parked and blocking pathways while crowds of people walked to and fro amongst the headstones.

Eventually, I found out that November 1st was All Saints Day and for Catholics the day was marked by visiting the graves of loved ones. Some folks even lit candles and left them glowing through the night. Truth be told, it was a little spooky, especially on that first night.

The good news was that the November 1st pandemonium only lasted for the day. For the rest of the year, the graveyard was peaceful and quiet.

Except for that one time when … but that’s another story.

What about you? Are you superstitous? Would you live beside a graveyard? Do tell!

34 Comments

  1. I could never live near a cemetery or as we have ‘the burning ghats’ even if the house is what you want. In Muscat, Oman our choice was restricted due to haunted tales attached of buried pets, suicides etc

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    1. I could never live near ‘burning ghats’ either, it’d be too ‘vivid’ for me. Were the Oman restrictions specified by you or someone else? Unlike me, my mother was very superstitious. She would never choose to live where someone had, or might have died. Even the land on which she’d build a new house had to be blessed, cleansed and consecrated beforehand. So I fully understand why most folks wouldn’t live near a cemetery.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The cleansing etc we call ‘bhumi’ (land) puja or prayer. Nothing starts before a priest blesses the land.
        In Oman it was expat word of mouth cautioning us about certain properties even though they were slightly cheaper.

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  2. I’d live beside a cemetery. The quiet open space would be a plus in my book and I’d know it’s going to stay that way. Move into a house in a regular neighborhood and there’s no guarantee that one of the ‘wonderful’ neighbors won’t move out and sell it to a heavy metal band, wannabe drag racers or …

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  3. What a interesting topic – I had never even thought of someone living next to a cemetary. Therr’s a big one pretty close to me but now that I think of it, there are no houses next to it. Although some from across the street might have a view into the cemetary from higher floors… I’m one of those who wouldn’t live next to one nor across the street with a view.
    Reading your post’s comments, someone was talking about kids playing in a cemetary and it reminded me of something my colleague said last week. Her young daughter had wanted to go visit the cemetary and they’d walked around checking if any new names had appeared. I found that a bit spooky…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand why you think it’s spooky. Cemeteries are not for everyone. I do find really old ones interesting to walk through. I’m good with old graves above ground. I was not so good with the catacombs below ground in Paris 😧

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  4. While I never lived next to a cemetery I had a friend who did and she said the best part was the neighbors were mostly quiet. That was meant as a joke but she really found it nice to know there would be no wild late night parties at the house next to her. I don’t think I would ever hesitate to move next to a cemetery. Great story.

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  5. I could comfortably live next to an old cemetery, and that deck sounds heavenly! But I’d be uncomfortable next one one still regularly used for burials, I don’t think I could handle being close to so much grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oddly enough, for the four years that I lived there I saw maybe 2 or 3 funerals. It wasn’t that old of cemetery but burials took place during the week when I was working.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I know it would be super tempting if the house was perfect in every way, but I would find it disturbing. And we don’t even celebrate Halloween that much here.
    My son had a house that backed on to a cemetery and you could see the gravestones from their deck. The parents would dismiss it saying oh it is just a bunch of old concrete, there is nothing there. I think they said it to reassure the kids as much as reassure themselves. My son used to visit for playdates with their son and I was so embarassed one day when I realised he had taken the board game Goosbumps (a board game about hauntings and cemeteries) along to their house to play. Inappropriate choice of toy it has to be said….

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    1. I remember the Goosebumps books. Somehow kids that age love the scariness. I read somewhere that it’s appealing because it’s a safe scariness, in that there’s reassurance in knowing that it could never really happen. Adults on the otherhand … 🙂

      In retrospect, I wouldn’t recommend buying property beside a cemetery just because of re-sale issues. Although we had no qualms about living there, lots of potential buyers do. When it was time to sell, we had many interested parties who arrived in front of the house, peeked behind and left immediately!

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  7. I used to live near one of the largest cemeteries in the southern hemisphere. It was one of the best playgrounds, could ride bikes around and there was hardly any cars and they drove slowly, plenty of places to play hide and seek and a place to explore the old sections where no one went any more. One game we played was find the oldest grave stone. I like cemeteries and the masonry skills of days gone by 🙂

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    1. I can just imagine! No adult ever told you to not do that? I remember kids riding through the cemetery but it always seemed to be on a dare. They didn’t hang around much, just putting the pedal to the metal.

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  8. Graveyards often use to be “inhabited” by more peaceful people than we sometimes hear of residents outside them – no matter what they might have done while they were outside the graveyard walls. 🙂

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