Friday, October 22, 2010

Forest Lawn Tour - Part 2

Last Sunday Forest Lawn held their last bunch of historical tours, and I opted to check it out for the first time even though I've been there many times before.  Thought a different perspective would be nice along with the exercise involved in walking for 2 hours.

Different historical figures pop up at a few grave sites and give a small speech.  Among them "Irving Berlin's wife" sang, and "George Pierce" was excellent! Nice touch.

Early on I noticed that a few facts that the guide offered didn't line up with what I thought I knew, but I kept it to myself.  For one, the Franklin Square Cemetery was where old County Hall is, not the Rath Building, but they may have been scattered all over for all I really know.  However, this coincided with the guide indulging in a small rant regarding the latter building, which made me chuckle at first, but soon hit me as inappropriate on a tour.  Whatever.  I ceased listening as closely though.

Later on after another spotlighted sight she tossed off something to the effect of "Rick James is over there if you care; I don't even know why he's buried here unless it's because his mother is" and proceeded to go into rant regarding him, and still managed to mangle facts along with it.  Totally inappropriate.

I'm not trying to say he was a choirboy, wrongly convicted of various crimes and other failings.  Not at all.  The point, however, is that the man has family, friends, and fans of his music that visit his grave (in fact multiple fans were on the tour). Also, his family paid for a spot and as such are "customers" who do not deserve to be treated shoddily, especially by the cemetery itself via a volunteer guide.

At the end of the tour I pulled her aside to tell her that I found her remarks offensive and inappropriate, but got no further than one short sentence when she uttered a curt thank you, turned her back on me, and walked away.  How rude! I wasn't done yet!

All that needs to be said is that Rick James achieved international fame as a musician.  He was born and raised in Buffalo, which heavily influenced his songwriting, especially in the early days. The end. Personal opinions need not apply.

Other than that, it was a nice day for a walk.


Jill said...

It's bad enough when someone who is paid for their job is rude, but when a volunteer is rude, it's way worse!

I've had the Forest Lawn historical tour on my to-do list, but maybe I'll scratch it off now... what a shame :(

Becky said...

I sent a link to this post to Forest Lawn along with the guide's name and info about which tour, and promptly received a lengthy and pleasant response in return. They also said that the complaint would be addressed. Maybe the woman had "issues" that day. Maybe I aggravated her by wandering about, at one point visiting my cousin's grave, rather than hanging on every word. Whatever.

Perhaps Forest Lawn will have "secret tourists" accompany guides on occasion in the future to monitor information accuracy and demeanor. It's an idea anyway.

Go on the tour at least once! At least it's an opportunity to walk about in a group and perhaps in areas you might not have visited on your own.