Friday, May 28, 2010

The Tour

"Tales from 14th Street" Is a look back at childhood days living in San Pedro California. I will share the fun and not so fun adventures of living in the hood during the 80s and early 90s. If anybody grew up in this area during that time please email or comment anytime and share your stories or thoughts.

 It has been almost 18 years since I moved away from 14th street. The the area is not some place I have forgotten, I pass by my old apartments on occasion to visit a friend who lives nearby. My fathers uncle, Tiodoro still lived in the vicinity up until a few years ago when his wife Dona Elena passed away. He then packed up his stuff and moved a few blocks over with my aunt. Since he was the last family member to move from the complex we always had access to the apartments all these years. Now that the past is long gone,  I am glad I was able to take photos before he moved away. The "Apartamentos" as we call them have varied in owners, and its facade changed so many colors over the years. When we lived there we paid $550 for a one bedroom apartment, but it had a big living room, dining room, okay size kitchen, small bathroom, and a laundry area that lead to the back cement area.

Our so called back yard made out of cement except we did not have the nice wooden doors. 

At night the back was dark! there were no security lighting back then it used to get pretty creepy. This area was were a lot of times the gangsters conjugated for late night parties. 

This was one of two " Subterraneo"  that is what my parents called these basements under the apartments. This one in particular was hardy open, and when it was it was dark and full of junk. 

I only seen this back door open a few times, we used to climb through here to hide up on the roof when we played Cops and Robbers!

Now this one was the cracken "subterraneo" this one was the one right under my apartment window. I guess it belonged to us at first my dad used to store mostly junk in there. Back in the 80s my uncles would have Banda practice down there when they had a group called " Los Sandoval's." The trippy part is directly across from this basement there is another door to another basement belonging to the house next to the apartments. I remember my neighbors older brother used to use it as a " kick it spot" to chill, drink, lift wights etc, it was basically for the homies. Now it is hard to distinguish because they put that board on top, but it is still there. 

This is the house that the other basement belonged to. Back then this space looked huge! now it looks all narrow and small.

To the right of this corridor was our apartment to the left was the single room apartments. We has many good times playing water fights with water balloons, newspaper bags filled with water, and Supersoakers.

This ally was my favorite, all the kids used to play in and around the ally. We basically used tear it up more then it already was by digging up cracked pieces of asphalt. That fence was not there at one time, and it was access to a cool tree house my neighbors used to have. The tree house consisted of old pieces of " Tablas" nailed onto the tree, so there was a platform; not the fanciest thing, but we had so much fun. I am not sure who actually built it though It was just always there. 

These corner apartments have too many stories I would not know were to start. First of all these apartments are single room apartments, and the people living there share a coed bathroom and shower. Back then most of the people living in those apartments were single, immigrant men. There was one family living there, but it was rare to see too many women in those apartments. If there was families or kids they never lasted long. As kids we were told to stay out of the apartments, but we constantly ran through the " Pasillo" (hallway) or used their bathrooms to fill up water balloons and other gadgets. We made friends with some of the regulars who used to hang out on the corner and drink. There was always somebody sitting on that corner stoop with a can of beer in a brown paper sack. The frutera lady would park in front of that corner every Tuesday, and sell fruits, veggies, and candy for us. 

The Crack Era

 It was 1991 and It had gotten really bad with drugs in the area.Nobody ever told us kids about drugs, but we somehow knew that it was a bad thing. I remember they used to slang dope from one of the windows of those single room apartments; I would see grown men go up to the window look around and quickly shove the rock in there mouth. The smell of weed always lingered in the air, subliminally I would burn my moms oregano leaves to simulate the same smell and concept without ever seeing what weed really looked liked. 

That Lady Screamed
One of the most vivid memories about those single apartments were when a white couple around their 40s moved in. They looked like they used to be homeless and glowed of drug use. One time we snuck up to their window since it was facing the trash area and peeked inside, their room was filled with trash, shopping carts, old food, and roaches. The worst part was at night they would fight and argue, and I would hear the lady scream when he would beat her. That alone used to scare me and wake me from my sleep.

They were so on drugs that nobody wanted to interfere. That couple did not last long eventually after a month they got kicked out. 

The man who murdered the Mexican Presidential Candidate

I learned this story years later after I moved away. Apparently one of those "hombres solos" as my mom called them, was responsible for killing
Mexican Presidential Candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in 1994. The man had lived in those apartments around the time we lived there! Crazy shit. My aunts and family actually remember him. I am sure I know who he was, but can't recall. I dug around and actually found evidence of this being true.

Mexican assassin convicted

    Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA) - Tuesday, November 1, 1994

    Author: Lawrence Kootnikoff

    MEXICO CITY -- The admitted assassin of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the ruling party's presidential candidate, was convicted Monday of premeditated murder and sentenced to 42 years in prison.

    The motive for the killing remains unclear.

    Judge Alejandro Sosa Ortiz imposed the sentence on Mario Aburto Martinez, a 23-year- old factory worker, at the high-security Almoloya prison west of Mexico City.

    The federal Attorney General's Office, which wanted the maximum 50-year term, said it would appeal the sentence. Mexico has no civilian death penalty.

    Aburto was seized moments after shooting Colosio during a campaign rally March 23 in Tijuana.

    Aburto, who once lived in San Pedro , almost immediately confessed but said he had only intended to wound Colosio to win news coverage for his views about social ills in Mexico. He claimed he acted alone.

    Investigators said Aburto, who called himself the "Eagle Knight," had suffered from paranoid delusions and was hostile toward authority figures.

    Prosecutors at first insisted he was a lone gunman, then accused seven alleged co-conspirators and finally again said he appeared to have acted alone.

    Three men linked to Colosio's security detail remain imprisoned on charges of involvement in the crime despite prosecutors' public retreat from conspiracy claims.

    Colosio's slaying, coming on the heels of a New Year's Day uprising by Indian rebels in southern Mexico, shocked a country that had not experienced a major assassination in decades.

    Polls showed many Mexicans believed Aburto was part of a larger conspiracy -- suspicions that gained strength after the Sept. 28 assassination of another politician, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, was linked to a group of disgruntled politicians.

    Caption: Mario Aburto Martinez is 23 years old.

    Section: NEWS

    Page: A6


    Record Number: 0000540477

    Copyright (c) 1994, Daily Breeze, All Rights Reserved

El pasillo we used to run through (present time) of the single room apartments, today they actually look somewhat decent. 

 Infamous house were Don Tiodoro lived at this house forr over 40 yrs He not only my dads uncle, but grandfather to many of my cousins. There was about four families who all lived in the complex related to us. 

This scene of the men playing poker and drinking hard liquor was a common sight growing up.  They did it daily for YEARS. 

Don Tiodoro himself 97 years old. Currently ready to turn 99 years old.

At his 97 birthday party, cant forget the tequila!

This was a real Mexican birthday party they had carnitas on deck cooked in a big cazo, and stirred by a big wooden paddle.

This was the trash area, and still is, but today it is actually very well kept. Back then it was filled with trash cans that contained many gusanos! And before 1990 when the new city trash cans were implemented it was worse.

This apartments and houses were across the street from were we lived, but we hardly knew the people who lived in them. The white apartments were another ghetto version of ours, but not as slick!

We knew every single person on this side of the block, this complex was cracking most of the time. All the kids I played with mostly lived in these apartments. But as I mentioned on older posts it was also the scene of many crimes.

This fig tree was a precious memory. My mom used to cut figs off for me on the way to school in the morning aww so sweet. The tree unfortunately is gone now.

The property that this chimney was on was at the end of the ally from my apartment. I was totally obsessed with playing on this chimney it was hours and hours of fun. It was an old relic from another era and I never seen it be used let alone know what it was, but this was good times! Can someone please look up the history of these things? Thank you. 

That ends the tour for this " Tales from 14th Street" more stories to come as I remember them.

If you missed the older 14th street series please check out the archives below.


MakeOne, The Love Man said...

nice post and great pics. That chimney is killer. i love stuff like that. I had a fascination with brick chimneys...

Tonan the Librarian said...

Damn girl,,yer on the Steinbeck tip. Excellent history!

Anonymous said...

Doña Junta, nice piece you put together.. mad props for your work. Btw, this is the big bad lonewolf, remember me? Ey, just wanted to fill you in a little bit about that solo man who snuffed donaldo colosio down there en las lomas taurinas seccion de tijuana.. the man was a sobrino de don ricardo who lived on second street in the pjs.. pelon, richard, janira you probably either knew or heard of.. they were all don ricardos chamacos from your era.. that sobrino who shot colosio had a carnal who lived in wilmas, and all their little chamacos were all wilmeros.. one they they came down to visit don ricardo at the pjs, and they got disrecpectful with the neighbors, so i ended up throwing down with the brother of that dude who did the deed.. there's more to the story linked to colosio.. story that went around was that he was really a fall guy who did it so that his familia would be taken care of.. there's a firme libro you can read that details the whole story, it called "twilight on the line" by sebastian rotella.. good read, check it out.. orale pues, stay firme y cuidate, su servidor el solo lobo de san pedro