The sun just rose over Maple Hill Cemetery in Dorset (VT), giving the headstones an extra warmth that isn’t available until late fall.
These tombs can be traced back to the 18th Century. Some are covered in moss.
But you can still hear the sound of scrubbers in the background. CaitlinAbrams is just starting to work.
Abrams exclaimed, “There is no shortcut to this,” as she filled the small pressure washer that she used to keep the marble stone wet.
Abrams is on an ambitious mission to restore old tombstones.
After scraping and scrubbing the headstone, she applies a solution that Arlington National Cemetery conservationists use to protect it. It can take time to appreciate the work of her, as the cleaning solution gradually improves over several weeks or months.
She said, “I enjoy cleaning up the ones I can’t see because it feels like giving that person their name and a piece back of their story.”
Abrams, who is sometimes the only person in the cemeteries, has built a massive following online.
This 35-year-old has now 1.8million followers on TikTok. She once mocked the site. Her videos are viewed all over the world and she is known as Manic Pixie Mom.
“The nature and function of the [TikTok]algorithm is that someone may stumble across my video and not be a follower. They might not be interested to tombstones, but now they are,” she explained.
Abrams isn’t content with removing old tombstones. Each video tells a story about Abrams’ life and how she brought her back to life by cleaning out the gravestone.
Abrams, a mother of two young kids, finds inspiration in the stories of headstones for children.
“It helps to see the difficulty of life in 19th and 18th century.” Abrams explained that one disease could kill all five children in a family within days or weeks.
Abrams regards every TikTok video a chance to teach the future generations about the past.
She stated, “I feel like i’m giving them an aspect of history that you don’t get in school.”