What It Means To Remember


My Grandfather made shoes.


This was a truth that echoed through my life both in stories and in my grandparents house. My grandfather who knew the craft but held many skills in his hands once made me a shoe shining station out of wood. When he handed it to me at the age of seven I was ecstatic that I could shine my fathers shoes for five dollars a pair and be closer to my goals of a bike or new cleats. So many of the things that I aspired to came out of that little wooden box.

Yet something that rarely touched my mind was the thought of my great grandfather. The stories of a man that I had heard over many dinners and games of cards. The man who made the shoes that my father walked down the isle in. The man who won one of the first yamaha motorcycle's in Mexico through a game of dominoes. The man who had both sides of the Mexican revolution sitting in his shop with holes in their socks waiting to get a pair of boots resoled. It wasn't until years later when I realized how much he had impacted my life, through his stories and his affects on my family. 

Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of The Dead, commemorates the lives of those who impacted us. This history comes from well beyond our civilization-back to the indigenous peoples of the land we now call Latin America. Ancient natives would celebrate their fallen as monuments to the greatness of their heritage, and would display their bones in festivals of live and reincarnation.Thousands of years later we still honor our departed, and though the festivals that take place no longer celebrate reincarnation, we carry pieces of our heritage in the everyday aspects of our beings. We see fathers and mothers in the way we comb our hair, we see brothers and sisters in the way we share and argue, and sometimes we see great grandparents in the way we can shine a shoe as bright as a candle on Dia De Los Muertos. 

Happy Day of The Dead
Feliz Dia De Los Muertos
-J.L. Rocha

Jose-Noel RochaComment