(Theme: reminiscing about things from my past)
H is for Hollywood, Florida
Where I grew up – Hollywood, Florida – the streets were laid out in grid fashion. At least in my immediate area, the east/west roads were named after presidents and the north/south avenues were numbered. The layout made for nice easy square blocks and one of my favorite memories lies in taking a walk around the block with my dad or parents after dinner. But this retrospective isn’t about that, it’s more about how my dad and I used to ride bikes down the alleys. Here, we don’t have alleys between roads, but we do have grass easements. Down there, the alleys were used by the garbage trucks and we’d use them as safer places to ride bikes away from a lot of cars. Granted, there were dangers involved there too: loose dogs, bike tire hazards. But if the alleys were clear, we could really get going fast. I loved looking into peoples’ backyards and seeing a glimpse of how they lived.
Dad and I would ride on a route of his choosing and many times, we’d go north to Hollywood boulevard, cross over, and get Slurpees from 7-11. He was always a sucker for sweets so it served us both well. In the mid to late 80s, I began bringing my allowance money so I could also buy wrestling trading cards. I remember when I got Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Brutus ‘the barber’ Beefcake, and my prized possession: The Killer Bees. I don’t know why I loved that tag team so much; maybe the colors. But I loved going and buying one or two packs and collecting the guys I enjoyed watching on TV so much.
The skills my dad taught me about bike/road safety led to me being able to ride alone once I got old enough. In middle school, my friend Jamie’s mom ran a barber shop right near that strip mall where 7-11 was. I would come home from school then ride my bike up there. She and I would go into the 7-11, get these pre-cream cheesed bagels, then go sit in front of the store at the other end of the shopping center and eat. Then we’d watch Mtv and do homework. Good times, good times.
The arrow shows the store that used to be my beloved 7-11.
There’s really so much I could say about the city where I grew up, where I lived until I was 14, but the memory of it comes in short bursts, in scenes and clips that looks something like: my hot neighbor, Johnny, who was a good five years older than me but the bad boy I was infatuated with, Orange Brook Elementary where a kid named Jacob tore my First Communion cross from my neck, never to see it again, going to the mall where Adam Walsh was abducted and always feeling scared of it, the Amtrak train station and the little park next to it, Char-hut, Taco Viva, Circus Playhouse, Ocean Walk, boat shows on weekends, the beach. None of these will mean much to you but to me, they are integral to who I am and they all happened in Hollywood.