It was a hot summer in southern California; the air was heavy from the
humidity. I wish it would rain. Our apartment is a one bedroom, furnished. We
really liked living in Bellflower, California. It is like a small town. We could walk downtown
without a care in the world. It is also the best place for showing off your cars
on Friday and Saturday night. We drove our 55 Chevy all shinny through town more
than ones. We would go to Helen and Grace for ice cream. I loved all the pink, black and torques green. When
you opened the door the smell was sweet with chocolate and vanilla. Arney and I
were married in August, 1963. We had no idea what the future would bring, only
that we loved each other and wanted the life we longed for. But it was not easy,
we were so young, and the good stuff didn’t come easy for us. This night had
been long for me, it is hot and I am pregnant. Arney must have had the TV on all
night keeping up with the news. I could hear a soft sound coming from the living
room, and Arney did not come to bed. Watts and the towns around it are on fire,
I can see the smoke from our apartment on the second floor. The regular smog we
are used to is now mixed with the smoke. It is hard to breath very deep.
Sometime during the night I fell asleep. I wake feeling sick to my stomach; I
did not want to look at what was happening in Los Angeles. Why would you destroy your own town and each other?
Compton & Watts had always been a mix of Negros and whites. When I was
growing up it was mostly white, but as people spread out into Orange County,
tracks of homes were being built. The homes being built are expensive, and only
those making a really good wage could move into most of the areas. Seems that
the Negros more or less had some parts of LA all to themselves as time went by.
But it had been a mixed race state. We know there are gangs of all colors living
in LA, Compton and Watts. No one wanted any problems, at least no one I knew. I
get myself a drink of water, it teats like chlorine, I do not like Bellflower
water, a bottle of Coca Cola would be nice. Arney is lying on the floor and the
front door is open because it is already so hot. No air conditioning, not even a
fan. Arney is worried about me and the riots, so we are saying very little to
each other. I felt restless. We talked about going to Arney’s Grandma Neely’s
in Acton near Palmdale, California but it would be a long drive to the hospital.
blood to be checked. Our baby would be born soon, but I had not felt any kicking
or movement for almost a month. I stayed in the state of crying……..to be