On my way home from high school, I generally walked the shortest route--straight through the cemetery. The cemetery had (readable) graves from the 1700s, and many of the early prominent families were represented. In fact, there was a smaller, single-family cemetery just on the other side of the brook, and sometimes I would take a detour and visit that one too. Morbid? Scary? Not to me. To me the cemetery felt comfortable, and I was curious about the lives of the people who were buried there.
The other night, when I was at Beach Middle School in Chelsea for a kid's baseball game, I noticed--and wandered through--a very cool older cemetery--Oak Grove Cemetery. There is a Civil War memorial there, and the oldest grave I could read had an 1848 date.
One of the best places to learn about and understand local history and culture is in the nearest cemetery. I hope that some of those middle school teachers are using that cemetery as a teaching resource. Come to think of it, though, I don't think any of my kids has ever gone to a cemetery with a public school class. Have yours?
Maybe it is time for some grave rubbings...living history. Find your local cemetery, here.