Exploring Forest Hills Cemetery

It’s one of Jamaica Plain’s most beautiful parks, yet the most rarely visited. The bells are ringing as I walk down a small wooded path and up a stone staircase. I reach the top. The bells stop. It’s eerily silent. You’d never guess it was on the outskirts of a major city. I begin my search for a hidden landmark, it’s not on the park’s map for some reason, in fact, for such a landmark, there is little information mentioned anywhere of it’s whereabouts. There are so many paths to choose from. I turn to the right and begin walking along rows upon rows of gravestones. This is Forest Hills Cemetery.

Today’s task is to find Reggie Lewis. Why Reggie Lewis you ask? I suppose I could have went in search of many of the historical figures buried here such as Francis Cabot Lowell, the Father of the American Industrial Revolution or Major General Joseph Warren, a leader of the American Revolution or many other notable figures of Boston’s past. What intrigues me about Reggie Lewis, other than being a fellow Northeastern University Alumni, is that his grave site is not on the map. It’s a challenge, and that makes it worth finding.

Besides, even if I don’t find it, exploring the many statues, intricate graves and pathways covered with red, yellow and orange leaves ought to make for a pleasant afternoon stroll. It really is a nice place to visit, after all, people are just dying to get in.

It’s been over two hours of wandering around. I’ve got some great pictures of various sculptures and statues. There is only one problem.  Every path looks the same, all filled with slabs of carefully cut rock. I’m disorientated. I can’t remember which way I came from. I am lost.

I’ve run through the cemetery in the past and forgot how big it really is. With over 250 acres of grave stones, you can imagine how easy it is to lose your way. Regardless, the only thing to do is keep plugging along, always continuing around the next bend until you recognize something.

There’s only one thing that creeps me out about cemeteries and it’s not the hundreds of dead people.  It’s cars. Actually, to be more specific, it’s slow moving cars that give me the heebie jeebies.

I’ve been making my way around for almost three hours now when I hear the crackling of small twigs breaking behind me. I turn. It’s a car slowly moving up behind me, only several feet away. I’m in the middle of hundreds of acres of parkland with no one else in sight. It seems a bit ironic, being surrounded by the dead, yet the scariest thing around is the living.

Of course, within seconds I realize there is nothing to worry about, it’s just a little old couple driving around, probably looking for a loved one, or perhaps checking out the real estate.

It’s almost dinner time. I finally make it back to the main entrance. No luck in finding Reggie Lewis.  I check the map at the main office to see if he is there but to no avail. I begin wondering if my original information was correct, maybe he isn’t even in this cemetery.

My stomach is growling. It’s time to pack it up.

5 Responses

  1. Yep, as long as you don’t mind getting lost… hmm, actually I don’t think the Forest Hills Educational Trust would be happy with me encroaching on their business 🙂

  2. Hmmm good point, I suppose “you” as in you the audience is part of “we” which is here with me exploring as a viewer… I don’t know, either that or I’m with my imaginary friend…

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