My friend Lynn’s brother-in-law has a new book coming out and we went to his book launch at Harvard Book Store to learn about how cemeteries have shaped history in America. This book started in Greg Melville’s youth with a summer job mowing the grass at the local cemetery where he grew up in Bedford, Massachusetts. He is joined by Matthew Stephens, Mount Auburn Cemetery’s 14th President & CEO.
Mount Auburn Cemetary in Cambridge figures deeply in this book because it was the first cemetery to utilize landscape design principles, thereby creating a space for both the living and the dead. The living includes a wide range of animal life including an astounding number of bird species that visit as part of their annual migrations. Humans, also use the space, not just to visit the graves of loved ones, but to visit the park-like setting.
Death isn’t something that most people are comfortable talking about, but Over My Dead Body: Unearthing the Hidden History of America’s Cemeteries by Greg Melville makes this a fun romp through history.
Take a look at the conversation between Greg and Matthew:
Here’s the Q and A:
And, if you were fretting about the graveyard mix-ups that Greg Melville may or may not have been involved in as the occasional graveyard digger, rest assured that he did confess at the end that it got straightened out. lol! How about you? Do you ever talk about death in a casual way with your kids? Or adults? And have you figured out what you’d like to do when your time comes? The “green” composting option was new to me and it’s intriguing!
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