Memorial and Headstones

On January 23, 2007, at the Community Center, a person named Buddy from the Keystone Memorial Company came to tell us about the headstones and memorials. First, he told us that you could have a quote, a scene, a carving, a picture, a decoration, colors, and/or an epitaph. Memorials and headstones are usually made of granite. They usually don’t use marble because marble is fragile and deteriorates easily. They cut granite with waterblasting. They carve granite with sandblasting. That’s how they make scenes on headstones. Certain times people put the bodies in a mausoleum. A mausoleum is a box made of rock. The people also choose the shape, the size, and symbols. Then we walked around the cemetery looking at the headstones, thinking of their artwork, beauty, and the work done to make them. - Nathaniel

A nice man named Buddy taught us a lot about memorials. Here is what I learned: a memorial can have shape, color, size, design, scenes, verse, epitaph, poetry, personalized inscription and emblems. Also flowers can mean something, like clematis can mean mental beauty. We also went outside. I saw a soldier’s grave that was in the Civil War! WOW! I also saw a grave with a glass bird on it. Buddy said the biggest grave he made was 30 feet high! I never knew that monuments get that big! Buddy did great!  - Joseph

The owner of the Keystone Memorial company (his name is Buddy) came to talk to us about the making of gravestones. He brought samples of the materials used in the making of gravestones and monuments. We walked all around Free Union Cemetery and studied the graves. Buddy told us how the graves were made. He answered all our questions and at the end of the program he gave us all a booklet about gravestones and monuments! - Rachel

We met with Buddy Slifkin from Keystone Memorial Company.

He told us about the different materials used to make tombstones, crypts and other memorials. Some are metal. Most are marble or granite. Granite comes in lots of colors. It is different colors in different places in the world. My favorites are jet black and blue gem. Blue gem is like specks of different colors of blue with metallic flakes.
He came with us to walk around our cemetery. We saw some with awesome carvings on them. For example, there are some with flowers carved in them and flowers along the sides. There are some with pictures carved into them with a machine that's point is a very small diamond. There's a lamb carving in the old section that was done by hand. One has two hands shaking. My favorite was the jet black stone with a picture carved by machine of a lake and a man fishing. Families have added plaques and flowers and decorations. Flowers, glass animals, poems, grave blankets, ornaments, and other fancy stuff.
Buddy told us where we can see lots of neat kinds of memorials. I want to go there. I also want to go to a Pet Cemetery. - Georgiana


Q: How do you make the memorials?

A: They used to be made with a hammer and a chisel, but now days we use a sand blaster, which blows sand so hard it chisels at rock. We also use a diamond tipped chisel.

Q: How long does it take to make one?

A: The most detailed can take up to eight weeks!

Q: How big was the biggest you ever did?

A: We did one which was 30 ft tall, with a bronze statue on top.

Q: Do you ever do pet graves?

A: Yes. We do quite a few of those.

Q: Do you ever have any unusual requests?

A: Yes. One time the niece who was to be buried next to her aunt said something about the aunt on her epitaph like “she was stingy with her money, and never left me any!”

Q: Do you ever do gravestones for other religions?

A: Yes, say if the person wanted the words in Chinese, or Arabic, we could do that.