Patricia Nassau of Weymouth, Mass., traces her family heritage to Rutland County and the quaint marble-rich community of Proctor. In recent years, she has returned to Proctor to pay her respects to the family gravesite in the town's Riverside cemetery.
"My parents-Margaret 'Peggy' Pockett and Charles Nassau-were married in Proctor and generations of my family are buried there including my grandparents, Norma and Earl Pockett, and aunts, uncles and cousins. Whenever I visit my grandparents' gravesite, I see the story of this town and its generations of families raised and buried there."
Nassau was in for a shock when she visited the cemetery in spring. Her family's gravestone was vandalized.
"As someone who has grown up in the greater Boston area, I'm used to hearing stories of graveyard vandalism. But when I went home in May to Proctor to attend a funeral service and burial for my godmother, I could only describe my reaction as complete disbelief upon seeing-firsthand-the horrible act of theft. My family's headstone was destroyed."
An unknown person, Nassau said, apparently removed a beautiful handsculpted marble Christian cross that topped the Nassau family's gravestone.
"Someone had cut the bolted connection completely-they walked away with the marble cross my mother had cherished and kept up for more than 45 years."
In recent months, vandals have been reported "attacking" several cemeteries across the state-their targets are handsculpted Vermont marble and granite crosses, weeping angels, and other religious icons that have a resale value on the black market.
Stewards of Proctor's other cemeteries-the twin Catholic and Protestant cemeteries located across the street from St. Dominic's Catholic Church-report no recent vandalism there.
"My mother hopes that whoever took the cross from the Riverside Cemetery need it and that it wasn't just stolen to be sold. Perhaps it's naive hope, but if there's even the slightest chance of getting the cross returned, we'd like to offer a reward and promise no recriminations."
If you know the whereabouts of the Nassau's marble cross, send an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org.