Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bridging the Gap

Los Angeles State Historic Park has been in the news a lot lately. This park is being forced to scale back because of California's budget problem. It's funny timing because I've been wanting to tell my story about about my connection to this place and it's place in L.A.'s history so here it goes.
I was thinking back to when I was a kid and remembered some of my dad's wacky ideas about cool things we should do while we were on his weekend. Looking back even now, I wouldn't agree with my mom ("He's just trying to get out of paying child support"). The guy wasn't trying to kill me. On the contrary, on this occasion (at least) he was trying to make sure I'd be able experience one thing he had been able to before it was too late and the chance was gone forever. The bridge you see used to stand over what was once a rail yard and is now a state park. It connected Broadway to Spring Streets and saved pedestrians a hell of a long walk. My dad thought it'd be a good idea for my sisters and I to cross it while we still had the chance(even though its entrance had already been locked and red taped). He dropped us off on Broadway, (on the far side in the pic) jumped back into his orange 1973 VW bus and told us he'd see us on the other side (Spring Street). Since we must have ranged in age from 7-11 at the time we figured he knew what he was doing, "what could go wrong?" We found the answer to that question half-way across the bridge when my younger sister's foot broke through one of the planks. My older sister and I rushed to pull her foot out and after that we hurried to get the hell outta there. Now, if you've ever seen that religious picture of the kids crossing the bridge with the guardian angel over them, that's exactly what we looked like.
When you live in Los Angeles (or just live anywhere long enough) you know how fast things change. Buildings are torn down so that others can be built... and then torn down. I'm able to tell my son what stood before the building that stands now and my dad can tell me what was there before that. This bridge was taken down in either the late 80's or very early 90's and loving L.A. as much as I do, I'm glad I got to cross it while it was still up (barely) . I do regret answering my mom's "What did you do with your dad this weekend" question. I know he wasn't happy I answered that either.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

By The Time I Get To Texas

I'm always saying ,"One of these days I'm gonna go to El Paso, Texas and retrace my family's steps".I want to visit the places they had (if they're still there). I wanna visit the movie theaters my grandma did when she'd pass out pictures of herself to the boys she thought were worthy. I want to check out Ft. Bliss because my grandpa told me once that he and his friends got into a fight there during the time of the Zoot Suit Riots. This story surprised the hell outta me because I always thought my grandpa, Ignacio Gonzalez was afraid of my grandma. How would this guy take part in some kind of riot? My grandma would often tell me though of how my grandpa was back in his day.She'd say "You don't know how he was, he was a real cabron back then". Some people have asked how he get a nickname like "Chino" and not "Nacho" if his name is Ignacio. Well as the story goes, his uncle gave him that name as a kid because when it came to showing any kind of emotion,my grandpa wouldn't and his uncle said he was like a chinese statue. Well my grandparents got married in '51 and 5 years later packed up and moved the family to Los Angeles (Echo Park) .They rented the same house on Everett St. for almost 40 yrs. Grandpa "Chino" was always quiet but I learned a lot from his actions. My grandma on the other hand was not so quiet but she loved me then and now it's a lot easier to see. Grandpa Chino was that 1 person who kept the family together. He passed away in 06 and the family(what's left of it) will never be the same. I was trying to think of the best way I could end this post and then I remembered my grandpa would never say goodbye.He would always say, "Ay te watcho" (See you later) so I can't think of a better ending than that. Ay te watcho.

My grandparents Ignacio & Socorro Gonzalez are standing on the right side of each picture.
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If My Heart Could Speak

People say the day after a car accident is when the physical pain usually kicks in (if it hasn't immediately). I knew for me though it would be different.There wouldn't be physical pain. After the adrenaline wore off, it wouldn't be long before the sadness would kick in. I would begin to think of how lucky my family and I were to be alive and how close I came to losing them all.I would think of how easy it is to take things for granted.I would also think of not only how fast my kids are growing but how maybe I can slow it down by just paying more attention to their everyday lives. It's important for me to show my son more affection than I was shown as a kid and even though that doesn't seem like it would be that hard, it doesn't come easy. I am trying to break that cycle not only with my kids but with my wife as well. I took her out to dinner tonight. It was the first time in too long. The only thing better than dinner was her company. Just like Echo Park, spending time with her always makes me feel good by bringing back good memories while we're creating new ones.
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