Do you have a special place where your mind brings feelings of nostalgia and yearning about what once was? That one place where you find yourself returning to often in your dreams? It might be the place where you grew up, a certain neighborhood or a house. For me, this place is a little corner short distance from my grandmother’s house.
Everyone calls that place La Plazita or the little town square. This place is not just a little park; it is actually connected to a very long road that everyone in the neighborhood calls el Andador or the walking strip.
Many years ago, when the city of San Luis Potosí was founded in Mexico, the main mode of transportation was the railroad. The railroad put the city of San Luis Potosí on the map. The railroad also helped this city thrive. From 1910-1950, San Luis Potosí became an industrial city.
The railroad built in San Luis Potosí was long and interconnected with many main roads. My grandmother’s house was located along one of those main roads. The railroad tracks ran parallel to my grandmother’s house. The tracks were so long in my time living there, I never saw where they ended. This railroad is not as important as it once was and as result it is no longer in use. In order to put this once-thriving, unused railroad to good use, people from the city created an open market known as el mercado along its former route. The open market sets up every Sunday and sometimes on Saturdays. This open market is as long as the railroad. People who want to sell their products just come and set up their tents and tables and start selling.
The railroad is also the path I followed to go to middle school. It connects to the street that takes you to the middle school I attended. Right on that street there is a particular small park or resting area where people gather for different reasons. Some people wait there for public transportation and young kids go there to play. It also serves as a meeting place for middle school students.
This is the place I refer to in my post The Point of Convergence where I often visit in my dreams. La Plazita is very dear to me because it is the last place I remember as we left my hometown, riding away in a cab.
I have never asked my sisters or my Mom what they remember from their experience of leaving Mexico behind. For me, it is La Plazita. It is the place where I was once happy as a preteen. The place where my best friends from middle school and I would meet and spend time together. It is where we watched other kids get into fights, where we watched people wait for their public bus or take a cab. Where many young teenage couples broke up or made up. Also, the last place I looked as we were leaving San Luis Potosí and watched with a longing and sad feeling wondering if I would ever come back to this place and see it again.
It is not a fancy place or touristy attraction. And although its aesthetics might not even be pleasing to the critical eye, for me, it is special and has a lot of spiritual and emotional meaning.
El Andador is also important to me as it is symbolic of my time living there in this neighborhood. El Andador is where my grandmother used to take walks with her dog to distress herself. When my grandfather was alive, I watched him cross these railroads every sunset always going somewhere alone. I often wondered where he went. Perhaps he was taking a walk, just like my grandmother, as an outlet from all of his problems.
One day, God allowing, I will go back to these places. Although I know I cannot go back in time and change the past, I can create new memories with my daughters in those places where I was once happy growing up.