A lil Something About This Place...
By Rudy Joe L.F.
from Echo Park District,CA
From the old motor boats with their lil red/green marine lights slowly cruising along on the lake.....To the Old Pioneer Market with its red/brown bricks, the '52 beige chevy's with chasing neon outlines showing the way to the parking lot behind the building and inside with its narrow isleways.
I have seen the neon signs up on the City Walk at Universal. It was nice to see them doing what i always remembered besides other old familiar signs that were saved and now being displayed.
There is alot of history fondly remembered as well as some of the old folks who would frequent the area.
I remember a guy named Lefty(Huero),an older vato (40s)who had lost his arm somehow. He had a warm smile and a husky voice. He was a veterano from somewhere and a sharp dresser too. He had class with a mild demeaner. I would always bump into him at the take-out next to the main entrance of the market/parking lot.
There are just a few folks left around that remember me from my first years in my neighborhood who still live up the street and around the corner.
There was Charlie, who i used to give a hard time to when he lived around the corner, now in the streets with only his old dirty blanket wrapped around himself. Unfortunately is mom sold the house to Gateway Hospital,because they were after everybody in the out lining homes to sell as they succeded in doing.
He got screwed somehow- she shortly died and he was allowed to stay on for awhile, then they booted him out on the street and he never recieved any compensation, so he had nothing! He's been long gone since then. He never asked anyone for money and it was hard for me to even give him any. I felt bad for how i treated him, as a kid on my bike making skid-marks in front of his house. He acted like he owned the sidewalk and that was my reasoning to be a rebel...........KIDS!
Today there is Eugene, a short pudgy man with a cane or walking stick. He lives up the street and gets around pretty good. His wife passed away not too long ago. They were a motley pair too.
Gene is always strolling and venturing as he carries on a conversation with none other ...than himself. Mostly mumbling and cursing under his breath as he wobbles on down the street. A few times i've heard him even answer himself!That was a relief !.......
I thought I was the only one!
This old (60s) guy has been seen strolling back up to his place with a younger woman on occassion and a couple not too bad looking (from a distance!) I guess he still got game ....... or at least enough to pay-to-play!
Cookie was someone i'll always remember. He wore taps on his shoes so i always knew when he was walking by the house, even when he was on the other side of the block!
He was a really snappy dresser,a bartender at the race track and he loved playing the ponies! Also at the time around his 60s and wore a short rimed brown derby with a lil red feather.
I think he was to be my inspiration on wearing hats for the times that i did, very possible. On him it looked classy.
He's been gone for over 30 years now but i will never forget him or his little flask filled with brandy. He offered me a swollow once in a while, now i know why he was always in a happy state of mind!
His sister from up the street had rushed me to Childrens Hospital when i had a terrible accident here at home.The ambulance got lost on trying to find this tiny street and my arm was pretty much severed just below the elbow.
It was to be amputated but a japanese doctor had a experimental proceder to try to save it?
Picture this.....as all this was going on with me.....I was only 3 at the time with such a tiny little arm! Somehow they pulled it off !
(i mean- put it back together) and it worked!
Its perfectly fine and normal with a reminder of only 13 stitches (probably cause of its size then).
I wonder if things would have been different if i would have lost it? All the trouble i did with it.I guess it wouldn't have?
NOW TO KITE HILL.........
Kite Hill was my back yard. The hill behind my house was a good 20-30 acres and it was vacant! There weren't any K-Day radio towers or Apartment complex or Comdos, just a long lot with a dozen or so scattered trees.
We built our tree house complete with a swinging tire up there. I had been chased up that tree many a time by a Tomboy big sister of a kid i made cry as we played "dirt bombs". We would also have our seasonal cardboard grass sliding contest too.
Kite hill was a great hill for ??
of course! .... flying kites!
We used to see who could fly their paper kite the farthest. Sometimes i had so much string on there that you could no longer see it. I lost many a kite that way but it was fun!
Alot of things happened up on the hill. It was lovers lane for the teenagers and i used to hear about the car games but i was too small to see all that. I was in my home eating cookies and milk while all the big kids were up there at night.
When they decided to build all these apartment buildings we were mad! Some of us (who will remain nameless) went on a sling-shot spree. There were lots and lots of targets made of glass and our mission was to attack the "lets pretend" intruders.
The following day they posted a guard to watch the place as they replaced all the windows one-by-one. Later i learned as many years gone by and a friend had moved into them that they were double-paned windows..Yikes! KIDS!
Kite Hill had lots of bumps and lil slopes etc. purfect for our bikes to race and jump. Something that we were doing would now be so popular. Skateboards now are pretty cool too, hi-tech compared to our lo-tech home made ones with narrow roller skate wheels.
The lot now where Gateway Hospital sits was also another connected lot to kite hill. We would play in that lot and it had a big (to us) pond, but not really....it was just a rain puddle, a big one.
There were a few large trees on the lot and when they had the dedicated/ground breaking ceremony , I was there in the background somewhere with my best friend on our lil bikes wondering what the f**k is going on here anyway? (well,not exactly in those words). Could you picture the Beaver saying something like that! I would just fall over!!