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Bill Woodier

© 2010 Bill Woodier

Story sent in via email October 22, 2010

I was raised in Midlothian and have fond memories of visiting Bachelor’s Grove cemetery as a kid (and as a teen). When I was 5 years old and attending the old Orchard Hill Kindergarten, we went on a field trip to the cemetery in September of 1951. After a walking tour we all sat down against a 3-4’ high black wrought iron fence that was between the parking lot and the cemetery then to eat a picnic lunch before going back to school. When I was in my early and mid-teens, some buddies went to the cemetery each year on a night close to Halloween. We would sit there in the dark and tell scary stories to each other until we couldn’t stand it anymore and ran back to the car (one of my buddies was just old enough to drive at that time).

Even then, in the early 1960s, we saw signs of vandalism and a general lack of respect by nocturnal visitors and it always upset me to see that. I must admit that I was one of those who used the old road leading to the cemetery as a “lover’s lane” from time to time when the access road was left unchained but we never went into the cemetery proper. It was a pretty spooky place and even then there were an abundance of “urban legends” about disappearances, murders, and such.

When my wife’s mother died, we brought the family back to Chicago and I took the kids out see the cemetery that my wife and I had told them so much about (and that they’d seen television programs about). Of course we couldn’t get down the access road with a vehicle as it was chained off by a heavy steel cable. We parked across the street at the Rubio Woods preserve and walked down the access path. When we got to the cemetery itself, I was disappointed to see that the entire cemetery had a tall chain-link fence around it so we couldn’t take the kids in to see it close-up. It didn’t take but a minute to see why the fence was up, though. I was shocked by the amount of damage and desecration that taken place since the last time I was there in 1966.

Anyway; I’m thrilled to see the old cemetery finally getting some positive attention. Please keep up the good work!

Best regards; Bill
Lt Col (ret) Bill Woodier
Secretary of Defense Office for Prisoners of War
And Missing Personnel Office

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