"Babyland" Article Goes Onto The Town Warrant

By Katy Braisted, Contributing Reporter

Atlantic News

Thursday, January 27, 2000

-- PART 2 --

HAMPTON -- Hampton's dearly departed infants are one step closer to attaining an attractive enclosure to set their special area apart from the rest of the High Street cemetery thanks to the vigilant efforts of John and Connie Holman.
'Tiny Angels' 'Babyland'
"Babyland", showing disrepair of fence.
[Photo by Katy Braisted, Atlantic News]

Since an Atlantic News article last fall detailing plans to place a permanent vinyl fence around the section of the cemetery affectionately known as "Babyland", the Holmans, who have coordinated the entire project, have attained more than 110 signatures on a citizens petition to be placed on the Town's warrant seeking funding for the project. The article is requesting $1,850 towards purchase and construction of the fence.

Still the Holmans and at least 110 other Hampton residents are hopeful that the voters of Hampton will approve the article and provide the Town's little angels with "a great play yard", as one sibling of a deceased infant refers to the special area.

Babyland was originally the inspiration of Roland Paige, Cemetery Superintendent nearly 30 years ago. Paige believed that families facing the unfathomable grief of losing an infant should not be subject to the added burden of choosing a plot in the cemetery not to mention the cost of purchasing a plot. The cemetery trustees agreed and today more than 30 babies are interred in this extraordinary place at no expense.

Hampton resident Patty Harrington who lost her 10-month-old son Matthew in 1996 is grateful for Mr. Paige's foresight.

"Being faced with losing Matthew, [Babyland] made everything a lot easier. It alleviated a lot of the big decisions," said Harrington. Harrington admits that it is often difficult to visit Babyland but feels that the addition of the fence is a good idea.

"I admit, it's not a place that I go running to," she said. "But I think it's great that the community seems to want to do this. It will set the area aside and make it really nice for families and visitors," she said.

And although Ileen Fogarty Sullivan no longer resides in Hampton, she finds great comfort in knowing her little Margaret Ann has found her eternal resting place inside Babyland's boundaries. In a letter to John Holman, Mrs. Sullivan expressed how Babyland has had a healing effect on her and her family and that Babyland has indirectly touched many others after hearing her talk about it.

"It's the kind of place you hope you never need, but if you do, how wonderful that it exists," Sullivan said. "[Babyland] continues to be a comfort and we thank you for your efforts to keep it a special place," she said.

The Babyland article has been moved forward to the warrant with the recommendation of the town's budget committee and is currently placed as Number 57 on the warrant. But with 65 articles to be decided upon, and the Town's residents gearing up to feel the pinch of many big ticket items including a waste water treatment plant and a new police station, approval of the Babyland beautification project is hardly a certainty.

Still, the Holmans remain hopeful that the Town will vote in favor of beautifying the unique area not just for the sake of the little ones, but to aid in an unassuming way the healing process of the grieving families.

In preparation for the vote, the Atlantic News is providing the exact wording of the Babyland article as it will appear on the warrant. Voters will be asked to vote "Yes" or "No" on the following:

On petition of John and Constance Holman and at least twenty-five registered voters of the Town of Hampton: To see if the Town will raise and appropriate the sum of $1,850 to purchase and install a permanent 112 feet of 18-inch "Kroy Vinyl" Picket Fence, including all materials and labor for the installation in a section of the High Street Cemetery known as "BABYLAND." This special section of the cemetery is designated for babies. The NEW Babyland fence
The NEW Babyland fence after passage at Town Meeting.
(Atlantic News photo by Katy Braisted)

[End of Part 2 -
See "Tiny Angels#3" for Part 3]