“It’s people like her who bash the cemetery that put a bad taste in my mouth.”
On Monday, Maple Grove Cemetery caretaker David Ferland said that about Brenda Manchester, whose husband, Walter Manchester, is six years buried in the Mechanic Falls cemetery.
If anyone should have a bad taste in their mouth, it’s Brenda Manchester. Not David Ferland.
Unhappy with recent criticism about the level of care and upkeep at the cemetery, Ferland angrily lashed out at Manchester, using her husband’s grave to send a message.
Ferland’s message, scribbled on a plastic window box and left in the center of Walter Manchester’s unmowed plot over the weekend, read: “So the cemetary only get mowed 3 times a year huh. Guess I will only mow your plot 3 times a year! If you want to lie about a beautiful well improved cemetary youll always have God to answer to. P.S. this is personal. You will not have youre stone pressure washed”
All around the unmowed plot, the grass had been neatly trimmed, framing another message from Ferland: Manchester’s concerns are trivial and her husband’s grave is not worthy of his attention.
As our readers correctly pointed out in commenting on our story Tuesday, Ferland’s message was unprofessional and cowardly. And, might we add, just plain mean.
Brenda Manchester is an elderly widow who recently co-signed a letter to the Sun Journal, also signed by Lena Paradis of East Poland and Daniel Boyd of Poland, outlining their shared frustrations with the administration of graveyard rules enforced by the Maple Grove Cemetery Association.
Their letter included a petition calling for changes from 118 people who signed their names and provided their hometowns and phone numbers, a clear demonstration that Manchester, Paradis and Boyd are not alone in their concerns.
Lucille Hodsdon, identifying herself as assistant treasurer of Maple Grove Cemetery, posted a comment on Tuesday’s story noting that the trustees had not received Manchester’s letter. Hodsdon would like to have it, she noted, so she can “check the 118 signatures to verify that they are all lot owners of Maple Grove Cemetery.”
Fair enough, but does that mean only lot owners have a say in the care and upkeep there? What about friends and family who visit the place but didn’t buy the lot? Or the dead and buried who can’t speak?
Hodsdon suggests that if someone has a problem with the cemetery, “the proper course is to contact the president or a trustee to see if the problem can be corrected.”
Manchester says she did that, and got no response, so she sought the support of others who felt as she did and made a case to the Sun Journal.
For her efforts, Manchester was called a “troublemaker” by cemetery Trustee Noella Hemond.
Is she a troublemaker, or is she just a grieving woman who wants her husband’s grave site cared for?
We get that Ferland is upset at the criticism and he has every right to disagree with Manchester, as he obviously does, but he cannot refuse to care for Walter Manchester’s plot. It’s disrespectful and oddly childish.
Ferland defended his actions, telling the Sun Journal “the cemetery ought to be a peaceful place. I’m not trying to take that away from her.”
Not only did he try, he succeeded in doing so.
Since her husband’s death, Manchester has made daily visits to his graveside. Now, she’s scared to do that, which means Ferland has publicly victimized an elderly woman.
Who’s the troublemaker now?