Pick of the Week: ‘Strong Women’ in Cemetery Tales

CEMETERY TALES actors, from left: Jarren Seal, Barb Hosford, Barb Berry, Margaret Crowell,  Kathy Peldyak, Ann Zuehlke, Kelly Sullivan, Bonnie Withers, Jean Harmon, and Richard Withers. Not pictured: Kathy Akiyama.

Photo by Gordon Leigh/Positive Negatives
CEMETERY TALES actors, from left: Jarren Seal, Barb Hosford, Barb Berry, Margaret Crowell, Kathy Peldyak, Ann Zuehlke, Kelly Sullivan, Bonnie Withers, Jean Harmon, and Richard Withers. Not pictured: Kathy Akiyama.

The ninth annual “Cemetery Tales” living history program at Idlewilde Cemetery returns Sept. 15-17 with the theme “Strong Women.”

The History Museum of Hood River County’s 2017 Cemetery Tales will feature the life stories of six women who, through their strength and stamina, found ways to survive when faced with unforeseen circumstances. Guests will hear six stories of “ordinary” people who are buried in the cemetery, courtesy of local residents who research and write the life stories and perform them, in costume, before audiences of 15 at a time.

Kathy Akiyama will pre-record the story of her grandmother, Itsu Akiyam, but will not be present due to the recent death of Sab Akiyama, Itsu’s son.

The event will begin at Providence Down Manor, 1950 Sterling Place, with check in and a bus ride to the cemetery.

NOTE: The program is scheduled to proceed as planned, but will be moved to an indoor location, or potentially postponed, if smoky conditions persist. Those with tickets are advised to look for updates on the museum Facebook page and website hoodriverhistorymuseum.org.

The shows begin at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 15-16 with nine total performances, and 1:15 p.m. on Sept. 17 with six. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 for students 12-18 years, senior citizens and groups of 15. Tickets can be purchased at the museum, or at www. brownpapertickets.com. This event is not recommended for children below the age of 12. Performances sell out quickly, so advanced purchase is recommended.

Providence Down Manor will serve dinner from 4:30-6 p.m. on Sept. 15-16, with profits benefitting the museum. Reservations are required at 541-387-8295.

This year’s characters and actors are:

• Hostess: Alberta Kirkwood, teacher and active community member (Jean Harmon)

• Lenora Frick, 1901-1993, widow, teacher and principal (Ann Zuehlke)

• Alma Kroeger, 1867-1959, adventurer, orchardist (Barb Berry)

• Irene Elliott, 1893-1989, wife and mother (Kathy Peldyak)

• Itsu Akiyama, 1896-1996, Japanese picture bride

• Elsie Tenney, 1895-1944, mother and innkeeper (Barb Hosford, granddaughter)

• Alma Nesbit, early 1900s, adventurer and homesteader (Kelly Sullivan)

• Louisa Nesbitt, mother to Alma (Bonnie Withers)

• George Nesbitt, brother to Alma (Jarren Seal)

• Dr. Victoria Hampton, doctor (Margaret Crowell)

• Bert Stanahan, Fashion stable owner (Richard Withers)

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