I heard this story on NPR today about the keepers of the old Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105082304). They interviewed a man whose father had worked there and who now follows in his footsteps tending to the cemetery. He knew all sorts of fascinating stories about the headstones and the people who lay beneath them. The way he talked, it was as if he had known the people himself, but for the most part they lived long ago. I really love listening to people who are so infused by the history and traditions around them and who enjoy telling others about “their” history. Sometimes Professional Historians still have this characteristic, but sometimes it’s been sucked out of us by classes on statistics and historiography (which have their place of course) and the hum-drum daily routine. We tend to lose sight of the personal stories and love of history that gave us joy in the first place.
Categories: Historic Preservation