by Evelyne Vivies
“Fear the living, not the dead,” says delicate, black widow dressed, Dallas Pattee, posed elegantly on a bench in the cemetery where we met. Everything she is wearing is authentic period attire. From the black lace and jet mourning earrings, right down to the lock of hair in her necklace.
This dedicated historian’s specialty is recounting the lives of the people buried in our surrounding cemeteries through dramatic readings of the carefully researched scripts she has written. These scripts, performed by local actors, occur none other than in the cemetery alongside the very graves of those departed souls.
Her love of history and her dedication to accurately portraying the lives of the people in the history of Tulare County is evident. “I want to tell their story as accurately as possible, and I also want to entertain the audience. Entertain them while they learn,” says Ms. Pattee with a sparkle in her eyes. She’s a unique figure who exudes joy despite that her life has been marked by tragedy.
Only two years ago, her home burned to the ground, taking with it everything she owned. Decades of historical writing, over thirty of her original and only existing hand-writing scripts, antiques, artifacts, and the roof over her head all perishing before her eyes.
In today’s fearful world, it is strangely among the dead that we find calm and serenity. This is what Ms. Pattee, who does not use Facebook, blogs, or even the internet, but rather the pen, paper, and eloquence teaches us each year in October each year for Tales of the Tomb.
This October the Three Rivers Cemetery will be transformed into an outdoor theater complete with actors in period costume portraying men and women who settled in the Three Rivers and Kaweah area in the late 1800s. Some tombs contain people who have left a mark on the history of our country. Did you know, for instance, that the man who helped inspire the creation of the Boy Scouts of America is buried right here in the Three-Rivers cemetery? Major Frederick Russell Burnham is known as the Father of Scouting.
Bring your scouts, your friends, and your family to hear his story as well as that of other cemetery dwellers. From the legendary to the ordinary, they are all part of the foundation of our communities today. We can all benefit from learning our own history, just as we can all benefit from meeting and sitting, for a calm moment, beside the woman that brings this history alive!
Tales from the Tomb
Three Rivers Cemetery
41841 Sierra Dr.
Three Rivers, CA
October 21, 2017
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Check out more Halloween related fun in other articles this month in our Arts & Entertainment section, and our Halloween events page. If you enjoy Halloween stories, check out our Terrific Tales section!