Hampton's "Babyland" Fence Is Dedicated

By Katy Braisted, Contributing Reporter

Atlantic News

Thursday, May 25, 2000

-- PART 3 --

A Dream Come True
A SOLEMN MOMENT -- Tess Braisted pauses for some quiet
reflection by the entrance to Babyland in the High Street Cemetery
in Hampton. A ceremony took place on Saturday to dedicate
the new white fence which now surrounds the area.
[Atlantic News Photo by Katy Braisted]
HAMPTON — It isn't a place most people want to think about, let alone visit. But Babyland, an area designated for the interment of deceased infants in Hampton's High Street Cemetery, has long been in the hearts and minds of John and Connie Holman. And Saturday, a somehow fittingly overcast and raw spring day, this extraordinary couple realized a dream in that equally extraordinary place.

Thanks to the efforts of the Holmans, Babyland is now graced with a gleaming, white picket-style fence surrounding the more than 30 infant graves in the 24'x32' plot.

After having experienced many years ago the tragic loss of their only son, Mark, the Holmans have become unofficial ombudsmen to the deceased of Hampton, in a very real sense.

Typically quiet and humble in carrying out their good deeds, the Holmans have become over the years caretakers to the uncared-for graves, honorary groundskeepers for the long forgotten souls buried at High Street Cemetery and a quiet voice for the grieving families of the little ones interred at Babyland.

In his poignant dedication speech on Saturday, John Holman remembered Roland Paige, the benevolent cemetery superintendent and well loved Hampton resident who some 30 years ago sought to dedicate a space specifically for babies to be buried and as a place for their grieving families to find solace. Today, deceased infants can be interred at Babyland at no expense to the family.

Holman also recognized and thanked the many of Hampton residents who voted in favor of appropriating the $1,850 necessary to beautify the area with the 18" high Kroll vinyl fence that now sets the area apart from the rest of the cemetery.

A sparse crowd of 20 or so in attendance included Town Manager James Barrington; Chairman of the Hampton Cemetery Trustees Matt Shaw; Hampton Selectman Brian Warburton; and several families of babies now resting in Babyland.

The town manager spoke eloquently about the efforts of the Holmans in beautifying the area and said of the departed infants, "It is a great loss of potential when someone so young dies." Barrington also said the families of the deceased babies can find comfort knowing their little ones are cared for and that they have gone "to a better place than here."

"The families and the town will benefit from this for many years to come," Barrington added.

Draped across the entrance to Babyland, a bright yellow ribbon — a stark contrast to the gray skies above — was cut by both Barrington and Shaw. In dedicating the fence, Connie Holman said, "May the beautification of this peaceful little spot bring comfort to the loved ones of these little angels. We hereby dedicate this fence in their memory. Amen.

Matt Shaw, James Barrington & Connie Holman
L. to R., Matt Shaw, Town Manager James Barrington & Connie Holman
[Atlantic News Photo by Katy Braisted]
A SPECIAL DEDICATION — Chairman of the Hampton Cemetery Trustees, Matt Shaw (left), and Hampton Town Manager James Barrington (center) are shown here just after cutting the ribbon during the official dedication of a new fence which was recently installed around the Babyland section of the High Street Cemetery. Looking on is Hampton resident Connie Holman (right), who along with her husband John helped make this special dream a reality.
[End of Part 3 -
See "Tiny Angels#4" for Part 4]