The big city skyscrapers overwhelm me; they look like they can reach the sky. The city streets look murky and the light off the street lamps reflect off the watery fluids covering the sidewalks. There’s an uneasy feeling about this place. Everything looks so eerie; everything looks like it’s out of proportion with little me. Block after city block, more of the same. Gloomy faces stare at me when the cab stops at the light. They look drunk, they look hopeless, and they look like living dead. Bodies in motion, fast moving, while others lay sprawled across the sidewalks, seems like they’re dead. This is the city of Los Angeles, the one heard about so much in family talk, the one seen more than a few times in pictures or on some movie. But it is nothing like what one imagined; it’s nothing like that glamorous scene that people can get off a story or a magazine. Then the streets pull out from that skyscraper jungle and head out past a continuous row of graffiti covered walls. Into a never ending sea of buildings and warehouses; past rail road tracks, past some freeway underpass, pass some dim lit gas station, but through all this, even in the night one can see that there’s few trees in this concrete jungle. Then the houses begin. Wood framed houses for the most part, but stucco houses abound too. South L.A. from what is said to me. Low chain link fences everywhere, few people walking about, and few people hanging out, there’s a scary feeling to this lack of activity, so different from back home, so much lacking in friendly neighborhood activity it appears. Shadows in the night don’t appear to be causal; they appear more like victims of the night. This is it, here we are, our new home here in Los Angeles, it is called Florence and how far removed it was from my birthplace, how far removed from my friends and from all the faces I knew. Here I start anew, here I learned a new way, amongst the warrior races. A stranger in the land called Florencia. Nothing like that Leave it to Beaver show with them nice homes and big green lawns, no sir, this is the real L.A. The place I came to dread and love. Like most others, I grew up experiencing what its surroundings offered, going to and fro, jumping over moving rail cars, dashing across contested grounds, climbing over fences, walking thru empty lots, brawling and fighting with White kids, with Black kids, and even some Mexican kids. Everyone could either be friend or foe; one just had to live day by day. A walk to the Carl’s Junior could mean a run back home, a trip to the RTD bus stop to go downtown could get you face to face with a hostile. I longed to get out, I wished I could return back home, but this was my home now, so I learned to cope and I adjusted. Soon I became another kid in the neighborhood, and soon I was alright at school and on weekends I could walk to the swimming pool in Huntington Park with the rest of the neighborhood crowd. I learned that all them Black faces were not all hostile, I learned that they were just like me. They liked playing ball and climbing over fences too. They liked hamburgers and ran as fast as I could too. They knew some Spanish too, and they came around to my house asking for me to join them on that street playground of ours, and yes, they even had problems with the White kids at school too. Yes this was beginning to feel more like home everyday. . Then mom hits me with the news. We’re moving next week. . Here we go again. .
WELCOME TO L.A.
Land of the transitory family.