Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Presents from the Past

I’m helping a cemetery group with an interesting project. Each year, they host what they call Meet the Neighbors day. It’s a chance for folks to come in, tour the city cemetery and interact with re-enactors who are dressed like cemetery "residents." The actors talk about the person’s life and the times in which they lived. In past years, we’ve had a chance to meet a couple mayors of Cleveland, an undertaker’s wife who talked about Victorian mourning customs, and an abolitionist.

All interesting, and certainly a creative and lively way for visitors to learn not only about the city’s history, but about the people who lived it.

The latest event is going to focus on how the area was affected by the Civil War. Fortunately, I’ve had help with the scripts and all are done except for one. That’s the one I’m working on.

Truth be told, I’ve been lazy about it. In fact, I started only the other day. I’m working on a family named Scarr. There are a bunch of them buried in one plot, with one monument, and as far as anyone can tell, two of them (James and Frederick) were cousins. Both died in the war.

My goal is to learn enough interesting things about these two young men to fill a 10-minute time slot and I’ve got the research collected by the members of the cemetery foundation. But I’ve been looking online, too, and discovered a local site dedicated to the Ohio 103 regiment, the one in which James served. A couple emails and a phone call later, and I’ve found out that James (who was a musician in the army) didn’t die in battle, he died of disease. I’ve also been promised pages from a historic diary that talk about James’s death.

I have to say, I am in awe. I admire the people at the cemetery foundation who work so hard to make history relevant to the rest of us, and I especially admire people like Bill (my contact at the 103st) who treasure historical documents and so generously offer to share them.

So on this Wednesday morning, here’s to all lovers of history! There is much in our past that should be treasured, and many stories to tell. Thanks for helping us out!


Sharon S. said...

Now that is a cool way to have a cemetery tour! It is wonderful you were able to find people with actual documents about your person. Would love to see some pics from the tour.

Wouldn't it be funny if Pepper had to dress up as cemetery "resident" only to find that person already there . Wouldn't Ella be impressed with Pepper's knowledge ;)

Casey said...

Love the idea of Pepper as a re-enactor. Oh, how she would hate that! And what fun it would be to put her in that situation. Thanks for the idea, Sharon. Going to play with it!