After the one-year anniversary of the death of five-year old Zachary Michael Cruz, who was hit by a car while crossing Warring Street at Derby in February 2009, the impromptu memorial to him went moribund.
During the year leading up to the anniversary, family members and friends had been placing bouquets, balloons, toys, and photos at a stop sign at that corner. It was a touching reminder of a life cut short, and served as a warning for motorists to slow down.
But after February 27, 2010, very few new decorations were placed around the stop sign. The flowers sitting in vases at the bottom of the sign shriveled, and the plastic flowers affixed to the top faded.
However, thanks to a new guerilla art installation, the stop sign memorial has become vibrant once again.
The yarn bomber who calls herself Streetcolor has decorated the stop sign with a multi-hued wrap. Her addition prompted others to add some decorations, including a number of sugar skulls used in Halloween and Day of the Dead celebration.
“Sabrina K. wrote us and asked us if we could please bring some color to this pole on the corner of Derby and Warring,” Streetcolor wrote on her blog. “It has been used for a memorial for a 5-year-old boy. We have had some other requests for poles that I had shuffled around and not gotten to, but I immediately wanted to do this one.”
“I had knitted a simple piece with lots of color which I thought would be supportive and warm. It had stopped raining and the light was low and golden and clear as we have here in the Bay Area in the fall. The pole had jars of old water and dried flowers and silk flowers in a wreath on the top. It was very relaxing to have cars rhythmically stopping at the stop sign and some people rolled down their windows and encouraged us. I think the knitting looks comforting on the pole and encouraging of life.”