Saturday, March 27, 2010

Meet Leah Allen, Author of "The Sacramento Valley Graveyard Rabbit"

The fifty eighth in a series
featuring a member of
The Graveyard Rabbit Association


The Sacramento Valley Graveyard Rabbit

What sparked your interest in cemeteries?

Growing up, the local dog park was adjacent to my hometown cemetery and I remember driving through it on the way to the park and thinking how beautiful it was. But it wasn't until my grandfather's death in 2000 that I really gained more than just a passing interest. I was twelve and though it wasn't my first time dealing with the death of a family member it was the first time I'd been witness to all that goes into laying them to rest. I remember tagging along to the cemetery where they had finally decided to bury his ashes and I just fell in love with how peaceful and serene the place was. Looking at all those headstones was also the first time I realized that your story doesn't end after you've died. I remember wanting to learn more about all the people buried there and what their lives must have been like. Ever since then I've been interested in cemeteries, not only because of how calm and beautiful they can be but also because it is such a wonderfully unconventional way of meeting new people and learning their stories.

Do you have a favorite cemetery or headstone and why is it your favorite.

My favorite cemetery would have to be the Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery in Woodbridge, San Joaquin, California. There isn't anything remarkable about the cemetery, although many of the older families and earliest residents of the area are there so it is rather historic. I just love it because of all the old trees, its age and because of how small it is. My favorite headstone would have to be a tie between my 4th great-grandfather's and my grandfather's. They're both special because cousins of mine helped to set them. After vandals broke my 4th great-grandfather's stone a cousin came to the rescue and repaired it and reset it, then when my grandfather finally got a stone a year or two ago, it seemed like everyone in the family came out to help set it. Now when I look at those stones I'm not only reminded of the relatives they mark but of the relatives who helped to erect those monuments.

How does your family feel about your interest in cemeteries?

My mother likes to wander cemeteries with me if there is a relative buried in them, otherwise I'm on my own. No one in the family really cares one way or the other.

Why did you become a GYR?

I'm a GeneaBlogger and quite a few other members of that group were also GYRs, which is how I found out about the group. I thought it sounded unique and special and would be another outlet for my first love, genealogy, as well as a way for me to expand my knowledge and interest in cemeteries and tombstones.

For all the would be rabbits - how about some words of encouragement to become a rabbit.

Join! If the blogging aspect is what is holding you back, don't let it because that it isn't the main point of being a GYR. Even if you can't commit to blogging regularly, as long as you have the interest and desire to be a part of this community, take the plunge!

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