Long Beach has always meant one thing to me, but today’s drive to Long Beach gave me a whole new perspective. I have been to Long Beach easily 1,000 times prior, but today I went a way I have never taken before. I came in from the East, taking the 22 to 7th street. It was beautiful. This was not the Long Beach I know. Born in San Pedro, raised in the South Bay. Long Beach was always the city across the bridge. The other side of the docks. More warehouses. Bigger industry. And Pine Ave. Queen Mary. Aquarium. Terminal Island. Bridges forever under construction. A free ride into LBC, a dollar on your way back to cross the Vincent Thomas. And then North Long Beach. Anaheim St. to the 91. My mom said, “never go north of Anaheim St., Jesse” when I first started driving. Stay on PCH and go straight to Ocean Blvd. She was always so protective. I recall visiting my college friend at her job in Bixby Knolls, she was a dispatcher for a home health company (Somehow full circle). The lunches were great, Lakewood mall usually. Flash forward a few years, and a few blocks north. Paramount and South St. This was my buddy’s pad. Rancho Dominguez/Compton/North Long Beach. These were the party days. We took off to one of the best Vegas trips from North Long Beach. I was somewhere between 22-24 so as with everything else in this age range, I don’t remember much. It actually took some Google mapping to recall where his place was. I do recall the Food 4 Less trips for Tequila (Patron) tho. And the beverage warehouse on Lakewood Blvd. for all the other specialty liquor when we all felt fancy. This was the Long Beach I knew. These memories all contrasting with the beautiful mansion-esque houses as I crossed a river and approached Cal State Long Beach. Now I know where I’m at!
And it would be what I saw next that changed my perspective and the impetus for this blog post.
If you’d like to read the rest of this post, I am making donations to the non-profit organization Mental Health America | Los Angeles chapter located in downtown Long Beach. The reason for this organization is explained in the rest of the blog post. Make your donation now to support this cause.