NORWICH – At a recent Oxford Lions Club meeting, members enjoyed guest speaker Stefan Foster talk about his book, “Pining for the Past: Little Merrit’s Tomb & the Beardsley Cemetery.” Stefan, drawn by local history, was driven to start a preservation project on the “grave with the window in it” from 1865. The journey he took was an adventure he will never forget and led to a very successful book.
Author Stefan, a confident speaker, attended the Lions meeting on November 11, describing the details of his research and motivations regarding the area’s well known “Little Merrit’s Tomb.” Since as far back as Stefan could remember he has been exposed to local history and cemeteries around Chenango County. He learned to appreciate his roots and local history at a very young age, and it stuck with him.
Little Merrit’s Tomb meant so much to Foster because of its ability to recreate powerful sentiment. The local legend, that has been recounted over one hundred years, led him to feel the mourning of a dying child’s parents, the love expressed by a father to fulfill a promise to keep his son in eternal light, and the anguish from vandalism; from the unthinking. The sixteen-year old rallied support from the Oxford Town government and the community partly with a Facebook page and partly through public speaking appearances. Keeping the historic integrity, he recounted how he and many others restored the cemetery. Now, Stefan feels content knowing that the small eight year old boy can rest in peace, safe and protected.
Looking to the future, all proceeds from Stefan’s self published book go to continued restoration and maintaining the Beardsley cemetery, and sales have been successful. The book can be purchased on ebay as well as locally.
Foster’s interests include playing the bagpipes, photography, and martial-arts, but most importantly, he considers himself an explorer. “Pining for the Past” exemplifies how Stefan delved deeply into the past lives of those in the cemetery and the fulfilling adventure he had along the way.
The Lions wish to express their gratitude for such an enlightening presentation.
For more information about the Oxford Lions community service or about membership, contact Carol Kuhn at (607) 843-8440 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit – http://oxfordlions.org/ The club meets twice monthly, every second and fourth Tuesday, at 7:00 p.m. at Fred’s Inn in Norwich.