Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Family Cemetery

Not every world class resort can boast having a cemetery on the grounds, but then again not every world-class resort was first and foremost a Vermont family homestead. In the northeast corner of the immediate grounds of Trapp Family Lodge is a small, private, well-tended family burial ground. As beautiful a final a resting place as it is, I’ve often had mixed feelings about my father being buried there.

My father died on February 22, 1992 at the ripe old age of 80 when I was 27. Writing this, I realized we just past the 18th anniversary of his death. It's hard to believe - it seems like just yesterday we had our last waltz together. Here's one of my favorite photos of us, taken on my wedding day, just six months before he died.

He was interred in the family plot alongside two of his sisters who both died young -- Martina at age 30 from complications of childbirth, and Hedwig at age 55 of asthma -- his father, and Maria. The area is surrounded by a split rail fence with a roped off entrance and the sign “Private,” in an attempt to keep the sightseeing traffic to a minimum. Of course, as a family member, I was allowed access whenever I wanted. At first, I liked the idea of him being so close by, and stopped by frequently on the way home from work, but often felt conspicuous going inside. It was like wearing a neon “I’m a member of the family” sign at a time when I preferred to be left alone. And on more than one occasion, I did exit only to be approached by an inquiring visitor, wanting to know if I was family, and who was buried in there.

I wasn’t the only one to field such questions. One that my older brother, George, likes to tell involves one of the staff maintenance crew, Roland (cannot for the life of me remember his last name), native Vermonter and TFL employee since the days of the Old Lodge. As the story goes, a guest approached Roland and asked where Maria was buried. “She’s buried right with the Captain,” said Roland. “But is there enough room?” was the inquiry back. “Well, she was cremalated, you know.” Roland explained. “That don’t take much room.” I bet that guest got more than she bargained for. – F.v.T.


  1. Keep this up, Francoise. You'll be glad you did. I hope that one day it will become a book.

  2. Thank you. I already am glad I started. I know the book will expand on this, but it's really a great way to get going. Thanks for your support!

  3. That is a beautiful photo of you and Pop....I miss him too.....

  4. It's spelled "cemetery" and his name was Roland Boivin.
    Guess Who

  5. Thanks, Big Brother! The spelling has been corrected.