Summertime, Summertime by Alexis Rodriguez

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Reading an article by Helen Ubiñas, from The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 17, 2018 (♪Happy birthday to me♪…) she writes about my old neighborhood, with a picture of young boys on bikes. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered “the good ol’ days”.

I’m overtaken with nostalgia! Thanks Helen. I’m from the West Kensington area and riding our bikes was truly an adventure. We would go to Camel Hill under the tracks near American street, where I have heard now there is some type of small city where homeless and addicted live. Our travels would take us to 5th and Allegheny, where in the back of the center we would ride the dirt hills and skirt the overgrowth.

I’d visit my friend John in his ‘hood, Fishtown, where I was accepted to the Snake trails near the recreation  center, and challenges of “who was the fastest” were met. Helen mentions buying ” pastelillos” and man, my mouth waters. Around my way we had “Chupi-Chupi” a local vender of scraped ice with wild flavors, oh man those “piraguas” were awesome against the Philly Summer heat.

Our explorations of the ‘hood were endless.  One of my friends, well his Pop helped us to build a quarter pipe along side an abandoned van in a lot near 7th and Columbia (Cecil B. Moore)…you can’t tell me we did not invent The X-Games!  Hell, we put the X in X-Games.

Personally I’m so happy to read about all the renovations in Philly and new parks for the kids to play.That is something very much needed in the life of growing children. When my hang-out, Teen Haven on Lawrence and Susquehanna, was closed down, I considered that a down turn in my youth. There with the vigilance of Pastor Centeno everything was cool. We even had a bumper pool table made of clumpy lumber nailed soda bottle caps for obstacles and whatever that was acting like rubber. Was that bicycle inner tubes? Anyway, further into the rabbit hole of nostalgia I go…here comes Twiddle Dee and his bro. There’s that Cat smoking that stuff…oh, I’m sorry the reality sets in…

By Alexis Rodriguez

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