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  • Writer's pictureLydia R. Otero

May 2020

Hello. The photos above were taken on March 7, 2010 at the Hotel Congress. It was a great event, attended by many. It felt special packing into and taking over the historic hotel’s main lobby. It was the first and only time I have read from In the Shadows in the Freeway in Tucson. (If you recall, at the Pueblo High School event, students read the passages.) Unfortunately, it was also my last public event because of the implementation of COVID-19 safety mandates and precautions. The Tucson Festival of Books was axed and my book reading at the Tucson Museum of Art scheduled for the end of April has been indefinitely postponed. With the exception of Antigone Book’s curbside service, local bookstores including the UA Bookstore are also closed. Thus, I have no upcoming events to report but I still wanted to reach out and connect with you all.

I am sure that many of you are still mourning the passing of our dear friend, Richard Elías. As a side note, he had agreed to emcee my Hotel Congress event but was feeling sick that evening and did not make it. Richard helped me work out a few ideas for the book and we spent much of our two-hour lunches, talking and laughing about how we dealt with accusations of being too agringados as adolescents. He also helped me select some of the photos I included in the book. I will miss his encouraging words and friendship. Like me, I am sure some of you are also trying to figure out the uncertainty of moving forward in world without him. QEPD Richard Elías.

Although it has been difficult to focus, I have been chipping away and working on a National Historic Landmark designation. It is a report that focuses on four barrios or neighborhoods that comprise what we refer to as Los Barrios Viejos in Tucson. They are amongst the city’s oldest and since their inception, each barrio developed its own distinctive character that reflected and unified its residents: Viejo (also the oldest and largest), El Hoyo, Santa Rosa, and a slice of Armory Park. I’ll let you know when the report is completed and how you can access it in the future. Hopefully, we will be able to have a public event at the end of the year to celebrate its completion. In the meantime, I have posted more information about the project at

Last month, Candice Yacano reviewed In the Shadows of the Freeway for the Los Angeles Review of Books. It was great to get the national exposure, and the review, titled “Freeway Dreams” was generally positive. I found the passages that Yacano chose to quote and point out rather fascinating. Please, if you have time, read it and let me know what you think. You can access here at Other than walking my dog Alfie each morning, most days I pretty much sit in front of a computer screen and I welcome the opportunity to hear from you.

Until next time, I hope all of you will continue to prioritize your health and well-being. As always, I appreciate your support,


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