Being a cholo in City Terrace was not an easy process to go thru.
You had to know certain people and you had to prove that you were down for the neighborhood.
You had to get jumped in(get beat down by several of your soon to be homies), shaved down (get your head shaved all the way down to a bald head) and you had to do work (represent your neighborhood no matter what) for your neighborhood when necessary.
I have never been a good team player and could not understand the reasoning behind taking orders from people that were full of aggression and only acted when in groups.
My mom (single mother at the time) bought my first skateboard a Variflex complete ($45, a fortune) at a sporting good store .
I was scared, I did not want to fall in front of people.
When I did not open package for about a week ,my mom tagged along with our neighbors and we went to the park (Whittier Narrows) there is a very private section of the park by the freeway , away from the soccer field.
The kids at the school skated all day and they made it all look so easy.
I took the complete Variflex board out of packaging , put both feet at the same time on the board and stood on it (in the grass) and I thought to myself (I can do this)
Put the board on the walkway, put both feet on the either side of the board and......smack
Fell on my face.
Then I tried to pedal down this small hill and the board zoomed out in from of me and ....smack I fell again...did the splits this time.
Did it again and my back foot just missed the back of the board and ....smack fell on my hands
I fell so many times that by the end of the day I was sore and bruised and all my clothes(Cord Huskies, Pumas, black T shirt) were dirty.
Got back to where my mom was and they had been looking for me for about two hours and as I walked toward them I could tell that she was furious but when she saw me she must of thought that I got run over or something because she just checked me over to make sure I was o.k.
She asked me what I was doing and I answered "soy a skater Ma'"
Un skater ma'?
Que es un skater mijo? Translation : What is a skater son?
Then I showed her ,I rolled down the parking lot..... she was so impressed.
She told the neighbors I was un Skater.
To which they replied "Con que se come" Translation : What do you eat that with? (Phrase used when you have no idea what someone is talking about)
Then I showed them I could skate. They laughed and said it was a "Patin del diablo"
I lost alot of weight in the following months ,got better gear and started hanging out with the local skaters that were a few years older that me.
We started going on field trips to Monterey park (Atlantic Square) to skate, to Whittier( The Wedge) , Pasadena, Hollywood, Downtown....all over the place.
When there was no money for bus fare we would skate there....when we had no money for food we would just drink water or hit the 7 eleven by the (closed along time ago) Sundown drive in (right before EastLa College) and drink the soda when no one was looking.
I was in Junior High (Belvedere) when I started skating and once I lost all the weight the local gangs would always try and recruit me.(but I could not be a part of that world I had my own skateworld that they could never touch) They would always tell me "Skate or Die" "Skate or Die"
Little did my mom know that her gift would give me so much freedom and that it would keep me away from gangs for the remainder of my time in City Terrace.
Gangs and being a cholo seemed like a really bad thing to be when I was young, but I have met many ex-cholos/as that have turned into great friends and have been in positions as executives to many companies that I have worked for and they have always recognized me as one of their own and have helped me in one way or another.
So you can't judge anyone by who they were because you never know who you are going to be working for when you get older or when you will need someones help or backup.
Evilchavo sk8 or die.