Boyle Hts. Viejitos

I love my Boyle Hts. viejitos. At least the ones who get I to sit near at a restaurant when they are in a group and I am alone and can eavesdrop in on their conversations.

I heard about how during WW2 this veterano looked at everyone in the belly of the boat he was in and it was "Pura raza. We were the first to land and more than half were dead before we even got off the boat." There was a dead silence at his table that made me feel tears well up in my eyes. I looked sideways and saw they all had their heads down.

I heard how Al & Bea's was around before 1966, even though their sign says 'since 1966.' These two went on about all the other spots they loved to eat like The Hat, Philipe's, and The Pantry. Made me hungry!

I've heard sordid stories of sex in the pre AIDS world, eating steaks for 10 cents (no hormones), dancing at the Paramount Ballroom, Carpenter's Hall, All Nations and Kennedy Hall. The real veterano/as talk about the speak-easys, during prohibition, in downtown L.A. and the jazz and pachuco music they would hear.

They had some wild times. I try not to look at them and just imagine how they must have looked back then. As I leave I look and see missing fingers, the canes, no hair, humped backs, wrinkles and crooked stands, they had a good life. If we should all be so lucky.


la rebelde said...

great post. i like listening to the viejitos too--and the stories are always better when they think no one else is listening.

cindylu said...

I've heard some WWII stories from my ex who's abuelito served in the war. It's kinda crazy. Even the bare bones version of the story gives me chills, so I can understand why you'd start to nearly cry.

t.angeleno said...

i have a deep love for boyle heights, because much of my family is from this area, but also it's a place where you witness life, love and loss in it's many forms.

i hear this viejitos voices, as my own great grandfather who was also a veterano of war. he is our city, stepping up to the challenges They placed on us, because it was the right thing to do. because just like everyone else, they wanted to live and give the american dream to their wives, children and finally grandchildren. there is so much history in those hills, you can just feel it when you Walk through them.

it would be wonderful to have these forgotten, remembered and realized stories documented recorded and finally passed on. the oral tradition has disappeared, sucked up by the fast pace to nowhere.

i've actually read some real life accounts from soldiers, and am amazed by the blatant luck involved in surviving to tell their tale.

thank you for sharing.

Wendy Carrillo said...

awww. nice story telling. me gusta.

Pachuco 3000 said...

To all:

Thanks for your comments. This small sampling of how we know our past generations gave for this 'country' should magnify the ignorance of people like Mr. PBS documentarian Ken Burns and text book editors that ignore us.

Blogging can at least begin the conversations that could lead to further truths and revelations.

Anonymous said...

You may want to tell the people you spoke to that the new owner of the Paramount Ballroom is bringing it back to its old glory...Pachuco nights and all!!! They should go by and check it out.