visiting the dead

sunday 26 february
headstone of a great grandfather

salem’s pioneer cemetery. sunday feb 19, 2012.  nic kneeling in front of his ancestors.

charles pigler

here is the stone for the patriarch of the family, charles pigler. note the broken, flat top of the monument. several years ago, on another occasion to visit, nic found the heavy round marble top broken off & balancing precariously on its perch. fearing some other might take it, nic took it instead, & it is now a cherished artifact in our studio.

in loving memory of

charles pigler


apr. 5, 1892;


62 y’rs 4 m’s &

5 dys.

walter's stone

next to charles lies little walter. a sad story with no words but these:


son of

charles & susan


born 14 may 1887

died 14 july 1889

on some future visit nic plans a rubbing to decipher the final four lines, which here time has rendered unreadable.


on the south side of charles’ headstone, his wife susan’s inscription:




july 15, 1854


may 18, 1934

tho she lost walter, their son of 2 yrs, she survived  80 years & is commemorated on the side of charles’ slab of stone.

susan s. stegmire, her maiden name.

pigler family plot

horst spandler, a beat scholar, musician and friend in germany informs us that pigler does not have anything to do with pigs.

i guess that’s a relief. pigler means, he says, lives on a hill. salem’s pioneer cemetery is on a hill off south commercial and hoyt.

The earliest death celebrated in the cemetery is reportedly that of the methodist missionary david leslie’s first wife, Mary A. Kinney Leslie,  in 1841.


mother. a small rounded stone. is it for susan? most likely so. we saw several other stones among family plots exactly like this one, small, hunched stones inscribed mother.

my uncle chet (chester) murray died this february 15. he is the last of a line of my mother’s siblings.

he was 95.

nic made me this valentine for the 14th. i dedicate it to my uncle chet.

inside our hearts

RIP piglers: charles, susan, walter & RIP my own dear uncle chester murray.

peace & love,



cool valentines

my name is sloy. this is my blog. just so you know, nic is my mate of 31 years. we are the two main characters you will read about here.

tomorrow being valentine’s day  i burrowed into my mother’s cedar chest, which i inherited, and pulled out 2 of my favorite valentines, both from nic.

baby don't cry

‘baby don’t cry’ is a cardboard valentine nic made for me  in 1991. it is nearly 1 inch thick, and thus difficult to scan, but here is the best our scanner can do. front of card.

now and forever

and here is a photo of the back from my iphone. not much better than the scanner pic, but you get the point. nic’s sweet inscription on the lower right hand corner reads, ” sandra, now & forever. love, dave”  but of course, without the punctuation.

sandra is my given name. dave is nic’s. confuses some, but we’ve got it straight in our minds. sloy & nic are artists. sandra & dave make beds and vacuum floors and interact with family and friends. the date inscribed is 2.14.91.


when the arrow through the heart is pulled, LOVE appears in the center.

san sun SAN

and this sweet handmade valentine nic sent me through the mail. here you see the front with a copper heart inserted into the heart shaped center.

i really don’t go through life as a sandra. i go as san. wherever he found this cardboard that says SAN remains a mystery to this day.


and here you see the back of the valentine. the dove stamp is a “G Rate” make-up stamp, i suppose to supplement the 75 cent wendell willkie. wendell’s stamp tells us he was a statesman, and that his years were 1892-1944. very romantic.

the sloy lettering nic inlaid from fonts found on various pieces of cardboard originally advertising products on the boxes they were shipped in. notice the brown tape on the right. nic’s directions for a valentine surprise.

i love you

back to the scanner for this one. the copper heart is replaced with more inlaid cardboard lettering. an exquisite little collection of tiny colored fonts it says, “i love you.” ingeniously, the v of ‘love’ and the period after ‘you’ are cut in one slim piece from the same source.

so these are 2 of my favorite valentines. easter i’ll post my favorite easter egg.

for now, i’m off to make nic a double bloody mary. CHEERS!!

peace & love,