Back In The Day - Tales from the Hood


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.



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