My Brooklyn: it was the summer of 1965 when Pop and Mom purchased a home in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. I was a young boy with open eyes and mind and ready for life's adventures to come. My family originally came from Ecuador, South America. After my dad's decision to come to America we landed in Florida then San Francisco but dad couldn't find a good job so my aunt Noemi Alcala (now in heaven) who's been living in the USA for many years invited my family to come to New York City where she lived. So we went and lived in an apartment at West 70th Street by Riverside Park (now it is a parking lot) and I have good memories there but we had to move because of new development of the area. I remember the skyscraper's foundations being built. Popi found a good job but we were a poor family but as a child I never knew that or cared because I was a happy child and my family was all healthy and together. Well my story is long so let's move on to the move to Brooklyn. I was so happy to be moving to a house of our own in a new place. So was my whole family. I remember loading up the moving truck and all the family also traveled in the back of the truck in the dark with only a flashlight that Popi held and we all sang songs and played scary type games to keep us entertained. Mom was in the front because she was carrying my little brother and my sister in her belly. Well we arrived at the new neighborhood and to me in comparison to Manhattan it was the country. Well, as a child it seem larger and better than it really was. Don't get me wrong: when my family moved to Bushwick it was a nice neighborhood with nice people and a lot of kids to play with. Now, the house on 73 Eldert St. was a single family home but all the homes are attached but I was so happy to have a home with a front and back yard, a basement to explore and it was home! Now, the house was old in bad condition but with my popi and all five brothers and sisters we all worked very hard to fix up the house and were proud of it. My popi always instilled in all of us pride in who we are and in being good Americans and following the laws. I am glad to say we all made our parents proud. My whole family became U.S. citizens and my youngest brother and sister were born in the USA. All my brothers and sisters went to local schools like P.S. 45 (grade school}, Halsey Junior H.S. But for high schools we all went to different schools. I went to East New York H.S., older brothers and sisters went to Franklin K. Lane H.S., and younger brother went to Westinghouse H.S. My family grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood in Brooklyn. I remember that the neighborhood was mostly Latino and Black with a few Italian and White but I remember the neighborhood changes through the years. I remember this white family across my back yard that my oldest sister made friends with and we used to play badminton, each of us on each side of the fence. But then they moved away. I also remember Mary, an old white lady, very nice that lived a few houses down from my house. She was always very nice to us and invited us in. I remember that walking into her home was going back in time. Mary went to heaven and I don't remember what happened to her or her belongings. All I know is that when I went to visit her the house was locked up according to a good friend Esther, who still lives in the old neighborhood. My little brother used to go over to Esther's house and play with her kids. It was the hangout house. I grew up with good friends and neighborhoods in what I think was a good area to grow up in if you have to live in Brooklyn. Don't get me wrong, crime was around us on Eldert St. but my friends stayed away from the bad kids. We had our group of kids but we were not a gang; we just took care of each other and the neighborhood. I mean the years moved on and the neighborhood started to change but as long as we were hanging out in the neighborhood the gangs stayed away and crime was not a big deal on Eldert St. We protected our own area. I had a good upbringing at home and the streets because you needed both educations to survive the sixties' race riots and freedom movements and park protest gatherings, the seventies' neighborhood changes, the war in Nam. The war was, I think, the big change because I remember the older neighborhood kids going to war and some not coming home. Everyone in my generation now doing their own thing and the no one was watching what was happening to the neighborhood with drugs, crime and the wrong type of people moving into the neighborhood and the good people moving out. My family and a handful of the original families are still there but the neighborhood is now bad but my family and others still are fighting daily to prevent a total takeover of Eldert St. My older brothers and sisters live in Brooklyn but my little brother and I live in California with our own families but visit the old neighborhood when we can. My pop and mom are very proud to be U.S. citizens and proud to be New Yorkers. So am I. My pop was a navy officer in Ecuador; my brothers served in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps. As I did. My little sister lives in Florida with her family and is a Florida State College graduate, as are my other brothers and sister. Through all the riots, fires and crimes in the neighborhoods I am proud to still have place to call my true home and proud to be a Brooklyn boy. Well I hope that shared my Brooklyn with you all. I am thinking of writing a book in the near future.
28 April 1999