Guadalajara: Wayside Memorials

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A wayside memorial


A cross beside the railroad tracks.
A statue of La Virgen de Guadalupe near a busy intersection.
A heap of fresh flowers on the sidewalk in the middle of a block.
Little memorials to the dead dot the city’s streets and byways. Each one has a story to tell about the person who died.
If you don’t know the story, you can wonder, for the very act of wondering is a tribute to the one who no longer walks among us.
Take Pedro Hernandez Guzman’s memorial near the railroad tracks, for example.
You can see the date of Pedro’s birth and the date of his death.
But what happened between those two momentous days? Did Pedro fall in love and get married? Did he have children? If so, how many? Did Pedro’s children have children of their own, making Pedro an abuelo?
We know that Pedro was a tio, an uncle, for that information is engraved in the stone. Was he a beloved uncle, or one that his nieces and nephews tried to avoid?
Did Pedro fall out of love and get divorced? Was he an angry man or an easy-going man?
Did he finish high school and go on to university? Or did he drop out of school when he was 13 years old?
What was his favorite food? What did he like to drink? What did he do on weekends?
Did Pedro go to Mass every Sunday? Did he go only on the major feast days? Or did he shun the services of the church altogether?
So many things to wonder about, prompted by a granite memorial near the railroad tracks.
And in the wondering, we pay tribute to Pedro Hernandez Guzman.

ripped from its moorings
during the midnight earthquake—
trembling spider web


Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved


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