March 31st, 2011

Tales the Tombstones Whisper

RFA098Several years ago, I had the chance to spend some time in Paris with a good friend.  One place at the top of our “must-see” list was the famous cemetery, Pere Lachaise.  We stayed for hours, wandering through the vast and beautiful resting place of countless celebrities such as Chopin, Gertrude Stein and Jim Morrison.

Pere Lachaise is huge, more like a maze than any cemetery I’ve seen in the United States.  Graves are laid out in odd places and sometimes right on top of one another.  The cemetery even has a resident black cat that followed us around for an hour or so, and if that wasn’t creepy enough, we got completely lost in the middle of the oldest section.  Jim Morrison’s grave turned out to be a bit of a let-down, but meandering through the 118 acres of history that is Pere Lachaise was simply amazing.   The 200-plus years of well-crafted tributes are more like works of art than gravestones, giving little glimpses into the lives of the departed…

Graveyards can reveal so much, from local history to family history. Although a wee bit morbid, tombstones never fail to peak my curiosity – When did this person live?  How old were they?  Did they have a family?  How elaborate is their epitaph?

Mike Dixon delves into these questions and more with the April 7th program Tales the Tombstone Whisper, discussing the evolution of the graveyard and what we can learn about our own local history in Cecil County. This is a must for anyone who enjoys local history or genealogy. Just click the link above to register.

Are you intrigued by graveyards? If so, what’s your favorite?




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