Sunday, December 7, 2014

Growing up in Lemon Grove

I meant for this post to go somewhere, but it never fleshed out. I hate to throw it out completely so I'm going to post it as is. I love these pictures my Dad scanned and sent me.

I didn't really spend my whole childhood in Lemon Grove, but it is where I grew up. When I was 10 or 11, my family moved into my Great Grandpa's house. I didn't leave until college, and a lot changed in that time!
Lemon Grove is part of San Diego county, and although we call it "Ghetto Grove" sometimes, it was a nice small town kind of place to grow up. We had a huge yard with every kind of fruit tree that grows in a Mediterranean climate (even pomegranates and loquats). There were six of us kids, and if there weren't a lot of neighbor kids to play with, at least we had each other. It was kind of a strange little neighborhood. We had houses on one side of us and behind us, but across the street was a gas station, and on the other side of our house was a 7/11. Neither of those places brought in the best people. We were under the impression that it was a really bad area for a while, but my brother had to do a research paper for his class once, and called the police station to find out the amount of crime in the neighborhood, and there wasn't much. It was really kind of a sleepy little town attached to big bad San Diego. Until the trolley came through. That wasn't super good for the area

But. Until then, we played in the yard, got smoked fish from the retired Navy guy next door and New York Seltzers form 7/11, I learned about important things like the daily use of deodorant, and shoulder pads. The trolley line was soon installed to run alongside the train tracks from decades ago, and connected our little town all the way down to San Ysidro and Downtown San Diego. In my mind it's all the trolley's fault that Lemon Grove started going downhill, but that's probably not strictly true. The mid to late 80's meant a huge up-swell in gang culture everywhere, and it hit San Diego with a vengeance. We were all careful not to wear blue or red bandanas. My brother decided he wanted to be home-schooled for a couple of years because school seemed dangerous.  I had a friend  killed defending his younger brother who mouthed off to some gangbangers. 
 I had a great time in high school though. I dated a bunch, and had a great group of friends. I was only offered cocaine once --in pre-calculus class, and stayed out of the way of the aggressive black girls in the girl's bathroom. There were some serious racial undercurrents going on, but I kind of dodged as much as I could. Everyone knew I didn't drink or smoke or have sex, and it kept me out of trouble for the most part. 

I made it through graduation with some great friendships I took as prizes with me. Still admire these girls and keep in touch a little. They taught me how to be a friend to girls. It was the best place in the world for me to grow up. 

1 comment:

CowanTravels said...

I remember visiting that house. We thought it was so cool!