Back In The Day - Tales from the Hood


Brown Pride?

Misplaced Pride?

Whats wrong with this? Whats missing with the whole "pride" thang? Well, before i go off on a rant...I gotta put myself in check. You see, I used to tag up the Raza's Pride Murals too.
I never gave it much thought when spraying my placa down or crossing another out.
I don't remember ever stepping back far enough to really see what i was messing with and messing up too.

Hey,I was down for La Raza and nobody better say shit about it! Thats the was it was and thats the way it still is today...just as is the self-disrespect we ourself do to our so-called cause or belief.
Who would have thought that all these years later i would finally see what is going on with that misplaced pride/concept. How do you let others know what you discovered about pride and respect verses false pride and flat out disrespect?

To me its a one on one thing but it doesn't do much good. I realize you gotta have pride in yourself and not the kinda pride i knew about, where if you talk bad about me or my hood or cross me out, i'll blow you away for it. That ain't pride! Thats not what its really about. Its starts within and its a positive thing never ever a negative one. Respect then and today is weak and yet its what makes us or kills us for the lack of it. Something to think about.


What goes around...

In short: Me, Two teenagers, and one Policeman.
This is about someone who burned me, i showed mercy, then it was my turn to be shown mercy.

One fine day as i returned from the store with supplies for the work i was doing in the back yard i happened to leave my trunk keys in the lock. I had after all backed up into my long narrow driveway and was away from the street, being on my own property and could safely leave the keys placed there. Well anyway, you get the idea.
It turns out not to be a good idea after all! Little would i know that on this day a stranger would be coming up the driveway and happening to see the keys there stuck in the lock.

My neighbor just happened to come looking for me and had a "friend" of his with him. They came up and he called me a few times, wanting to ask a question but since i was in the back i really didn't hear him. As he walked back down, his friend followed from behind. In passing he removed my keys from the lock without letting my neighbor notice.
Now you might be what, its only the keys he took! Well not really. To those keys i had attached my wallet. My wallet of course had personal items and cash, but since i was thinking i would just unload and then head out again it wasn't anything to worry about, right?

Unfortunately for me..not on this day or time. When i was ready to leave i went to the car to grab my keys and go only they were not where i thought i left them, you know how that goes.
So thinking i just misplaced them went on a hunt. After a puzzling 45 minutes or so i quit! Now i was really perplexed about the whole thing...where did i really leave them if not on the trunk?

My final conclusion was that they just vanished and i had no idea how or why!
The next day as i was having a quick conversation with my next door neighbor , he happened to mention that my other neighbor was looking for me. This was the first time i heard about that and it shed a little light on my frustrating situation.

I went looking for him to ask a few questions and see if i could figure anything out.
The following day i saw him and talked to him about it. At first he denied knowing anything about it but as i pressed him with the thought of police involvement he began to weaken so i kept the presure on. Of course he was still saying he didn't know anything but the next day he began to give a another story of how now he might know where my keys and wallet were. I played along as if nieve and me lead me to where some property was (papers etc.)
I now pressed hard on him and let him know that he was suspect and that the police were going to talk to him about it. This opened his eyes to the reality of the situation he now was going to be confronted with and he now came partly clean with what happened.

After telling him one day that the police came looking for him while he was out...i got his full attention!
I then told him that i only had a couple days left to file a complaint on him so he better tell me now who this other friend was who he was covering for.
What he agreed to do was to bring this guy to me and with the keys and wallet too. I said fine.

His friend was told that he had no choice but to deal with me otherwise he'd have to deal with the police. He wanted to make sure that i wasn't going to do anything/harm to him and i agreed to that, if he just brings back my things. Of course i said i would lay it on him how he disrespected me and fucked up..hey, thats only fair right? so i met him as he walked up my driveway to my fence and i kept it cool and we had a lil talk.

He apoligized and admitted he was wrong and would repay me the money i had in it. I made sure he would keep his word by letting him know i still had an open case which all the while was all fabricated leverage. There were no police involved at all! But my move worked fine to provide the much needed results.
At first i wasn't believed at all! but i was persistant!
The following days this guy would come over with money til i was repaid.

I didn't feel anger towards him and i understood how tempted he was, being a teenager at one time and seeing an "opportunity" right or wrong.
I actually liked this kid alittle despite all that transpired...all was forgiven.
And i'm not one to forgive so quickly or easily! It would have taken some time, but for some reason this time i was to show some understanding and compassion...or mercy (so to speak)
I decided to invite him and my neighbor to a Monster Truck Rally (race) the following weekend. My neighbor couldn't make it so it looked like it was just gonna be me and him. At first he still wasn't too comfortable with that idea knowing how recent it was, but as i noticed that i let him know all was forgiven and to relax. I'm glad he was on edge some, this told me he had a concience! know what i mean.
We went, had a good time and that was that! Yes, i paid for him too, i had no problem with it. And the kid needed to eat something too so...

Jumping ahead by a month or so, the three of us are down at the beach and then parked on a hill watching the jets land and depart from LAX.
As we were parked, a policecar drove on up, shined the lights, got out and came up to ask what we were doing there? I told him i always parked here along with everyone else that watches the planes come and go. He then said i could not park here so i said ok and we got into the car and drove off.

Now at the time, i was driving with no licence or insurance! Not to mention that my registration had expired and i put the sticker from my truck on the plates!!
Well...i played it cool with the man and we were on our way so that was that!
As i'm driving down the main street now, i notice that the police car is still behind me...this starts to make me a little nervous!
Sure enough, the red lights came on and i then explained how i could be going to jail, the car for sure would be impounded and that they probably would have to bus it or walk!

I pulled "quickly" over (no chase here!) and the officer approched. he asked the usual and i complied.
As he returned he pretty much let me know what was up and what the percussions were. I agreed with him completely on everything he mentioned and simple said i was at his mercy. He returned to his car and i was now thinking ok guys...see ya!
The officer came back shinned the light in the car and on us then said to me....
Despite everything, i'm only gonna write you up and you need to make things right before a judge. I was completely taken back! I never expected that i would be allowed to drive away from that in one piece!
We were all surprised by his decission to let me go. One thing the officer did say to me was to get these kids home.
As i'm driving, heading back it hits me and i say out know that old saying, what comes around goes around? Well...this was a good example of it on a positive level and its something to think about in life.
The guy in the back seat knew exactly what i was saying, i had showed him mercy and it was now repaid when i screwed up!
This was a good night, and something was made from words... into a reality. This is the very best tool for learning and for that it was all worth it! Sure i had fines to pay and even a lil community service but i was more than glad to do it! I just hoped i too learned something.

Hey... life is funny that way, wouldn't you agree ?


The Old Abandoned Schoolhouse

Right next to Dodger Stadium was this really old building that was sitting on the north side. It was at one time a school, and this school had alot of history from the locals who lived in Chavez Ravine and Solano Village.
Unfortunately it was falling apart and looked pretty bad. That whole area was needed for more parking space at the stadium so they were making ready to knock it down. Well, before they did we as kids would ride on over on our bikes and explore the dark passages and vacant mysterious old classrooms that we said were probably haunted.
It was fun to go through that spooky building cause we never knew what we would find or who might be in there. We always carried a stick or something too.

One day we found a tractor parked there as they were already beginning to tear it down. Being currious me and my friend Danny got on it and pretended to be driving it.
This particular tractor had only a metal cover over the starter button and we figured out a way to get it off.
A big rock broke the lock and we were in! There was no one around that we could see and we knew that the Police Academy was just over the hill on the other side, so it was Danny's first turn to try it. He couldn't get it going so he let me try next. I managed to figure out that when you lift the big shovel blade you need to give it more gas.
So here we go...I started it and it was LOUD! We got scared cause we thought someone would hear us and i turned it off and we ran away. But after a while when it seemed ok, we came back and did it again but this time we let it run. It had to warm up a little first before we could actually drive it. I got to be first cause i had figured it out. I pressed on something and did something else and then pulled the right lever to go right then the other to go left. I forgot how i made it go straight but knew how to lift the blade.
We were having fun now...going in circles and back and forth,the blade up and down, it was like having Tonka Sex!
I decided to do some REAL tonka toy playing and knock down something so i went for this wall and crashed right through it, then backed up and tried another wall. I thought that was pretty cool so i let Danny try it now and he didn't do to bad either!
It was my turn again but this time when i hit a concrete wall/ledge and the bottom of the blade somehow became stuck and i couldn't get it loose.
Then the tractor kept dying out so finally we gave up and got off it, jumped on our bikes and headed home with a story to tell our friends.

Here it is, some thirty-something years later and i'm once again telling the story.
I guess that just shows that some people (especially boys) still remember and cherish childhood memories (and never grow up) and even more so the scary or adventurous ones!

Ahh....The Imagination of a child...may the flame never die out!

Everytime i pass by there, i see the parking lot way over in the northern corner and i just picture two little kids playing all around there and driving a real live "Cat!"

Too bad i never thought to put that down on my resume! age 11 I learned how to operate a Tonka Toy...A Real BIG Tonka Toy!

Naw....they wouldn't have believed me anyway.