Kick, push, pedal, jog, run, or walk. I have walked, biked, skated, and driven down Jefferson Blvd. When you have a single parent working full time in a whole different region, it is hard to not have to use your own two feet to get from one end to the next. As early as 6th grade, I have been walking more than thirty minutes every day just to make it on time to school or make it safely back home. It was not until 12th grade that I finally decided to take the Metro Bus, like the 38 or 207.
Not only do you have to be on your own two feet, but you always got to be aware of your surrounding neighborhood. You have to make sure you don’t talk to strangers, and stay away from all the danger. You develop a sense of awareness of the streets you dwell on.
At the same time, every store, every sidewalk, and every bus stop has a different story with people that have interacted with you in your life. Like those funny stories when you and all your friends stayed to eat Ted’s Burgers, buying fries because it was the cheapest food on the menu to share with all your friends. Or the summer days right after school more than twelve of us would walk to one of our friend’s house on Kenwood Street to make our version of a “Kickback” that really just consisted of water balloon fights, food potlucks, and listening to all types of music.
In addition, hanging out with my friends was my first exposure to a wide range of music ranging from Reggeaton featuring artist like Daddy Yankee and Ivy Queen, as well as all types of Rock Music, from Alternative, Metal, Rock, and even Ska. Or you remember the day that you biked it with your friends down Jefferson Blvd as the sun was setting. Those South Central Los Angeles Sunsets, are some of the most beautiful views of LA, it was my home, my city, my hood.
I have been in this neighborhood for so many years and there are a lot of places that are still here as I remember. On Jefferson and Western intersection you have the Food 4 Less, KFC, Church Chicken, and a Car Wash. Outside of Church Chicken there is a bus stop that is constantly crowded towards the afternoon.
As you go down towards Normandie Avenue you reach the famous Donut Shop. I remember in middle school it was one of the places we would always hang out because it was so near my friend’s house. You don’t understand how much that Donut shop has been through. Cars have crashed into it, and even the Metro Bus did as well. If you see it now, it has yellow poles in the corner to give it more protection, but before all those crashes those yellow poles were never there. I am glad it has survived after all it has been through.
As you continue walking down, you see many markets, barber shops, hardware stores, car washes , and many food spots. You even pass a Bill’s Bike Shop that has been there since the 60s. It is the perfect place to stop if your bike ever runs out of air. Once you finally reach Vermont and Jefferson, you finally reach USC, a place full of red brick beautiful buildings, which is currently gated from 9pm-6am and patrolled by Campus Security. Once you cross the boundary of Vermont, it almost feels like it is in a whole different community.
In less than two miles of distance, walking along the sidewalk it is a whole new world. Streets are constantly busy with so many students walking , biking, or skateboard on to their classes. It always feels crowded and it seems that people are always in a rush. Nevertheless the walk, jog, drive, bike, or run is always beautiful, never knowing who you are going to run into, or what interesting thing is going to happen. You just keep on going with the flow until you reach your destination.
Despite all the differences and changes that morph into the street we call Jefferson Blvd, you can always find beauty in it. People are constantly busy going to work, going to school, and running errands. The journey from one location to another is all connected with different hopes and dreams. It is the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether we are going to the hood, downtown, or down the block, this diverse street belongs to all of us.
Public Space, Blog, Memories