El Tiradito invites anyone wanting to make a petition to Juan’s ghost to bring a candle; it’s said that if one’s candle remains lit throughout the night their wish will come true. As legends often go, it’s a tough one to substantiate. What is certain, however, is that Juan, Old Jack of the Barrio, has become something of a folk anti-hero, and perhaps the only sinner recognized on the National Historical Register. The only remaining part of the house is the 2 steps of the front stoop and the wall of the shrine.
From there, we boarded the street car, rode it to the end of the line at Helen Street on the University of Arizona campus, then back west until we got off at 4th Avenue, an area of thrift stores, hippie shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. There were a lot of homeless folks loitering and strolling around. We stopped for a sandwich and a beer and people watched from a table next to the sidewalk.
Back to the car, we headed to Ted DeGrazia's gallery, home and studio. DeGrazia was the son of Italian immigrants who settled in territorial Arizona. He was a talented artist; painter, builder, sculpturist and know by everyone in this area. I have a few of his pieces and picked up a couple of cards to frame. The grounds and buildings are impressive, nestled on the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, built from local materials and very Spanish in style. His works of art are everywhere and as we approached the entrance, an elderly relative was talking about how he loved rocks and the colors that streak through them. When he was near the end of his life in 1982 at the age of 73, he told his family not to bring flowers when he died, as they would also die, but bring him his rocks and they would live on forever.