Catarina Orduña Pérez decided to be commemorated under a truly unique memorial.
Pushing what is considered an acceptable form of remembrance in a public space of mourning, 99-year-old Catarina and her family decided only one thing would represent her life and values – not a traditional headstone, but a five foot tall penis, complete with scrotum in a cemetery in Misantla, Veracruz.
Her family unveiled the monument last week in “recognition of her love and joy for life.”
In an interview with Vice Magazine, her grandson spoke how Doña Cata, as she was locally known, had a fondness for willies and what they represented.
Seeing her families as vergas, which is a slang word with two meanings – an insult (vete a la verga – essentially, go f*ck yourself) or as an appreciative descriptor, such as saying something is ‘verga‘ – cool, or sweeeet, Pérez saw her own family very much in the latter camp. She particularly encouraged the female members of her family to better themselves through education which considering her own background in poverty (and in a male dominated culture) is frankly bloody wonderful.
Doña Cata had often made reference to the fact when she died, she wanted to be buried under a huge wang, but this was always taken with a pinch of salt by members of her family. It was Grandma being Grandma: but after her death In January 2021, the family thought this would be a brilliant way to commemorate a unique and wonderful woman, and so got in touch with a local engineer who primarily builds plastic products to sculpt the giant phallus.
The photo has been doing the rounds on social media (and Cemetery Club’s notifications are red-hot after sharing the initial article from Vice) and has led to interesting questions about how best WE can be remembered. Does a headstone actually do a good job in telling those that come after you anything about YOU? From my own personal view, I don’t think many do – an upright slab with your name, dates of birth and death and a short line of poetry or scripture. That’s great, but what does that say about you?
In Zorgvlied cemetery in Amsterdam, there is a section specifically put aside for these kind of ‘quirky’ memorials, chiefly led by singer Hernan Brood’s own memorial, flanked by sculptures of globes and lions – these give a greater sense of who these people were.
But Doña Cata and her family went one further. This defiant memorial, simply showing her love of dick, as an expression or the actual appendage itself, shows a boldness that, admittedly, isn’t universally well-received by all who see it.
“Of every 10 people, I think that around 7 see [the statue] positively, and if they don’t see it as a good thing, they at least respect” his grandmother’s wishes, surviving grandson Mota Limón said to the New York Post.
I think this is utterly fantastic, and far more contemporary than wheeling out ‘in loving memory’ and stock memorials ad nauseum.
Catarina Orduña Pérez was worried no one would remember her. From seeing the interest her marker has made on the internet, I don’t think there’s any chance of that. Bring that big dick energy.
Thanks to Nathaniel Janowitz for sharing Catarina’s story.