By James Griffith
The place it divides Arizona and Sonora, the overseas boundary among Mexico and the us is either a political truth, actually expressed by means of a fence, and, to a substantial measure, a cultural phantasm. Mexican, Anglo, and local American cultures straddle the fence; humans of assorted ethnic backgrounds stream backward and forward around the synthetic divide, regardless of expanding hindrances to loose flow. On each side is located a fancy cultural mixture of ethnic, non secular, and occupational teams. In A Shared area James Griffith examines some of the distinct folks expressions of this diverse cultural quarter.
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Extra info for A Shared Space: Folklife in the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands
In contrast to many Catholic cemeteries of southern Arizona, including Nogales, where the graves are arranged with their heads to the west, the grave orientation varies in the Sonoran cemeteries. This is probably because two Sonoran cemeteries are on fairly steep hillsides, which dictates the grave orientation in each case. With the exception of parts of the Nogales, Arizona, cemetery, there is no grassy expanse of the sort associated with the memorial parks of the United States. Rather, bare earth is the rule, and planting is left to individual families.
Coronas, cut flowers, and ready-made wrought-iron crosses are all available for 22 A Shared Space purchase at the cemetery entrance. Here is a description of the Pante6n Nacional from my field journal for November 1, 1984. A lot of action was going on inside the cemetery. Hundreds of people were there, cleaning, repainting, mounding earth, scrubbing slabs, applying flowers. One man was chiselling something off one tomb, while another was lettering a nameplate which has recently been painted black over light blue.
One such cross in the Pante6n Nacional has a name plate made from the lid of a gallon paint can. Cross and lid have been painted silver. The finials of many of these pipe crosses are themselves recycled objects. I have seen doorknobs, oil cans, and the finials from curtain rods used for this purpose. Ready-made screen doors often are provided with S curve strips of thin metal as decorations along the horizontal center divider; these are occasionally used to decorate metal cemetery crosses. Finally, some ephemeral decorations placed on the graves may be made of recycled materials.
A Shared Space: Folklife in the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands by James Griffith