Jeannie Walden portrays Civil War widow

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Jeannie Walden has been performing all of her life. At least since age 4, when she stood on the counter doing an impression of Mae West at a Piggly Wiggly store in her hometown of Lenoir NC, she has held many roles. From “Showboat” to Shakespeare, Jeannie Walden has a rich theatrical history.

These days, at 81, the retired NBC broadcasting director has an annual part in the Memorial Day Observance at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Wearing an authentic reproduction of a Civil War era day dress, complete with a hat and hoop skirt typical of the era, she places a flower on each grave in the Circle of Immortals. She wears a genuine antique widow’s pin as part of the outfit.

Every Memorial Day for the past 12 years, her husband Alan Walden helps her don the costume, which has dozens of clasps and closures. It’s a special day for both of them, as he is the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Both say they feel that it’s a wonderful way to keep history alive.