Sunday, February 02, 2014

The House on Soto Street

Thee House on Soto Street
This is the home on Soto Street in Boyle Heights where my mother Anita, along with my aunts and uncle, grew up in. They lived on this street until my mother was about 15 or 16 years old, when my grandparents, Auggie and Mary Osuna separated and eventually divorced. In those days the neighborhoods in Boyle Heights consisted of Jews, Russians, Japanese and Mexican Americans. and fragments of other ethnicities.

Until a few weeks ago my mother had not seen this house since she left it or at least that's how she remembers it. Either way it has been a very long time since she has seen this house. She has spoken of it often but this was the first time I had seen this house.

We had just come back from having lunch at Phillipe's in downtown L.A. when we decided to look for the house. It took just a few minutes to locate. The very instant she saw the house I could see the memories passing by in my mother's eyes. The landlords were a Jewish family that lived next door, an Irish family lived across the street and a Japanese family lived up the street. They opened a small grocery store nearby. The daughter of the Japanese family was my mom's best friend.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor the family was taken to a interment camp, most likely Manzanar. Everything was taken from this family, their home, the store, all of their personal belongings. As my mother remembers it, as they were loading the family onto a truck, neighbors were looting the house for anything of value. She remembers several men carrying out a large piano. She never saw her friend again.

Still, she had lots of good memories from that home and that neighborhood. The house is weathered now by the years. A stone facade and a fence have been added but it remains, more or less, the same. The upstairs window over looking the street was her bedroom. The look on her face and the sound of her voice as she was looking at the house and remembering was priceless.

The other two photos are of the two schools she attended; Hollenbeck Junior High (now called middle school) and Roosevelt High School.

Hollenbeck Middle School

Roosevelt High School

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