April 28, 2011
Last year, our 45 volunteers donated almost 1,000 hours to preserve the special history that is Elmwood. Over 2,500 school children visited to hear the stories of our residents, told by 7 volunteer tour guides and staff. Our volunteers helped to conduct 10 public tours, 10 lunches and lectures, 2 teas and suppers, 2 tree tours, 3 evening strolls, 2 dogwalks, and 2 Dudley Street clean-ups! Our volunteers also entertained 900 visitors at October’s costume and flashlight tours, while the Volunteer Tree Watering Brigade bravely fought the drought of 2010.
We are still in great need of tour guides during the week who can introduce Elmwood to the next generation. Twenty-one school groups, up to 150 students in many of them, will cross the bridge this Spring. It is so fun seeing their eyes marvel at the monuments and statuary, the likes of which they have never seen before. The questions they ask can also set you back on your heels; my favorite had to be, “Since you work in a cemetery, have you ever seen God?” The answer is I see Him everyday, in every face of every visitor who arrive from all over the globe, in the beauty of a blooming Spring and even in the soaking rains that keep Elmwood so divinely green. Being a tour guide is one of the most rewarding experiences you can give, not only to the wide-eyed children, but also to yourself.
Yet the Elmwood experience doesn’t stop there. Elmwood Historian Jorja Frazier is in great need of office help. Having collected over 4,000 obituaries, we now need someone to file them in the vault, so future generations can access the stories of their relatives. In addition, the monthly Lunch and Lecture series could use help distributing the deli lunches and soft drinks. The popular Valentine and Christmas teas would also benefit from assistant tea-makers and dessert-bakers.
Finally, Elmwood’s arms reach broadly into the neighborhood, as we attempt to clean the main entrance to the cemetery all the way to Crump as best as possible, so guests and funeral processions can make their sojourn in relative neatness. It certainly takes a village of volunteers who lovingly devote their time, energy, and heart to helping us preserve our past for the sake of the future. Please consider giving a little time to Elmwood in memory of the people who rest here who gave so much to Memphis. Just give Cookie a call at 774-3212 or email cookie [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org.