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Smith: The walk no one wanted to take

  • Chris Smith

The funeral that flowed naturally down the steps of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church onto the streets of Healdsburg was a gripping and, for this part of the world, rare display of grief and affection.

Monday’s walking procession of perhaps 200 people, many of them teens, followed pallbearers who carried a white casket. The mourners marched about 10 blocks, stepping to the percussion beat of Windsor’s renowned Blocco ensemble.

The somber parade to Oak Mound Cemetery honored Karla Guzman, a 17-year-old Windsor resident who would have been a senior this year at Windsor High. She broke many hearts when she took her life at home Aug. 11.

Karla had a thing for flannel shirts, so many in the solemn march wore their favorite ones.

People are reaching out to her parents, Carlos and Veronica Guzman, to help cover some of the costs of the tragedy. A memorial fund will be opened today at Exchange Bank. I’ll pass on details of the account once they’re available.

Windsor High starts the new school year doing what it can to help students cope with the loss of one of the Jaguars known for lighting up the room.

ASK PENELOPE Sabatino what she did this summer and the 6-year-old might reply, “Nothing special.”

Her father, John, on the other hand, eagerly reports that Penelope checked out from the public library and read more than 400 books. Most of them non-picture chapter books.

The new second-grader at Santa Rosa French-American Charter School also made time for swim lessons, gymnastics and running around with her kid brother, Jasper.

Penelope’s dad credits her inquisitive mind for her summer reading achievement. It doesn’t hurt, he notes, that there is no TV in the house.


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