Friday, September 16, 2011

The Cross and the Shamrock - Back in print!!!!!

There are a lot of unsung heroes when it comes to honoring our forebears.  I thought I'd make a list, but if I did that you know what would happen.  Each year as the tour finishes all those great folks who turn out, some year after year, say thanks and how much they enjoyed the walk.  While I nod my head in appreciation, I'm thinking Domine non sum dignus.  (Parochial school Latin sticks with you.)  All I do is collect stories others have shared.  I recall walking the cemetery about 20 years ago and seeing glimpses of slate stones under the sod.  Volunteers joined me in the cemetery uncovering the stones one by one.  Soon we had 1500 names from the very earliest pioneers collected with all the inscriptions left by them.  There were poems, prayers, and petitions to the saints.  It was like looking through a window into their lives. 

Now I was hooked.  I kept asking George Merritt for more info, but he said there was nothing else, unless I wanted to look at 2 old books he had.  What???  Breaking every oath an archivist takes, I kept those books at my house for over a year (Confession is good for the soul right?  And besides I was young and naive.)  But those books, which were quickly deteriorating with age and mold, contained 8000 names of burials before records were kept.  Again, another window was opened.  Now we know more of what occupations they had, what were the causes of deaths, and the numbers being interred. 

Folks started asking for tours and that's when Catherine and John Goodwin forced me to start.  That was over 15 years ago, and folks still come for our walk through time.  It was also Catherine's idea to do a book, and thus came The Cross and the Shamrock.  About 1500 copies of that book were sold or given to libraries etc.  It went out of print- until now.  Donna Reidy is one of those unsung heroes.  Donna's dream is to help restore the oldest stones that are in need of repair.  It costs money.  So I have donated the rights to the 2 books we have on Irish history in Lowell to the AOH for the express purpose of restoration of the stones in Saint Patrick Cemetery.  It will be on sale at next week's tour.  It's a nice little piece with some interesting stories.  Pick one up.  (Think Christmas gifts!)  And know you will help preserve the past.

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