Friday, April 13, 2007

Neighborhood Names

In my neighborhood there were two women named Vita. Vita Nieblas lived in a house behind mine, on Don Juan Street, and Vita Reynolds lived in the house in front of mine, on El Camino Real. I lived on a hill, so there was VITA above me and VITA below me. There were also two Ritas: Vita Nieblas's sister Rita, and Rita Donner, who lived down the street from Vita Reynolds. Rita Donner was a third grade teacher at the Old Mission School and probably a lesbian. Dodo (Dolores) lived at the intersection of Don Juan and Ysidora streets. My cousin Nikky lived on the hill behind us. He was married to a woman named Mike and they had a son named Dynamite. Nikky's brother Mugsy lived with them a while. My dad used to walk up the hill to hang out with Nikky, Mike and Mugsy. Those people liked to drink. They had a special room, in fact, for drinking. Really it was their garage, but they'd turned it into their own private saloon. Down in the cul-de-sac at the bottom of our hill, a childless couple, Ken and Barbie, had a backyard as big as a miniature golf course. No one ever used it, but the grass remained trim and clean always. Two houses down from ours, on Guadalupe street, lived the Bomb family. Mrs. Bomb had three boys, Malcolm, James and David. Malcolm was "touched" and would run down the street every morning, air-boxing.

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