I would say that my identity is a reflection of my community. I grew up learning from people and things around me. The most important part of who I am is who I grew up with, what I did growing up, and who raised me. I’d say this stands out the most to me because it’s all made me who I am now and what I love to do.
I grew up with my cousins and we were always out playing in the street, and chasing the ice cream man. I can honestly say that those were the best years of my life.
I clearly remember the moment when my cousins, my whole block, and I would play baseball. We had drawn the bases with paint on the street floor, then bring out our gloves, baseballs and the bats. We never really had teams, we’d all just take turns batting, not caring about winning but just having fun. Then suddenly the fun would always stop when our baseball would roll into the scary house in the corner. We named that house “The Viejitos,” because elderly people lived there and they never really liked us.
Once the ball would land there, we would all run into our houses and hide for a while, occasionally peeking through the curtains with the fear of wetting my pants because of the suspense. I was always full of enthusiasm; it always felt enjoyable to be out in the street playing different games.
Every day after school and every day during summer we would find something to play or make up. At times most of the kids from other houses in the block would also come out to play with us. While we were out playing, my grandma and Mom would be inside making food, at times you would be able to smell the food from out in the street.
What I know about my neighborhood is what makes me who I am. I have learned many things from my neighborhood and my neighbors. Those things that I learned made me who I am because it taught me the wrongs and rights about things. My neighborhood also shaped me to become a better person and to respect people and the city.
A suggestion I would give to city planners would be that my block, my neighborhood, doesn’t need any changes. Maybe a bigger street but that would be a lot of change to some houses. But I think that my neighborhood is perfect the way it is.