Monday, October 25, 2010

Grave stories

Returning to the home city of the Villa side of my family has brought forth several revelations.
James and I had gone to visit the graves of my grandparents. While we were in the office getting directions I thought about other family members who might be buried here. We were directed to the "1891 Historical Section" and were repeatedly told to be careful.
Once we began to walk in that area we found her words were true on many levels. The grounds do not receive any water and only burrs that live in the most extreme conditions covered the area. The ground was uneven and gave way on several occasions. Not in a horror movie manner but enough that I was glad that I could recatch my balance. What was most striking was the fact that my uncle who had died in WWII was in this area and that we could find no marker with his name, rank, or serial number. He like many others seemed to be buried and their graves forgotten and ignored. I haven't been able to process all that that could mean or what to do with that information. I will, but I haven't yet.
To balance this there were more surprises that were at the cemetery. The first was the grave of my Tio Gonzalo. On his stone is an image of him that I'd not seen before; taken before he dealt with the illnesses that finally killed him. James found the grave of my Tio Agapito who died in a work related accident at the C F & I Steel Mill that was town's main source of work in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. His stone is shaped like a heart, with a dove sitting on top and below, the seal of the Alianza Hispano-Americano, a mutual aid society established in the years that my grandparents and their siblings were born. Symbology and iconography making a life statement even at death.
But the happiest surprise was to find the gravestone of my grandmother, whom I never knew, except in stories and pictures. For a moment death and time were moved aside by love and memory.

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