A few months ago, I read a post by El Chavo on the folks who leave the Eastside for suburbs to the east in an effort to “move on up.” In the replies to the post, some people pointed out that their families have been living in places like the Inland Empire for a couple of generations or that when their parents decided to buy a home, the only thing they could afford was out in the Inland Empire.
The post and ensuing discussion made me curious and I went to my parents with more questions. Why did you buy a home in Hacienda Heights? Why not stay in East LA? Why move to an area where you didn’t know anybody? Are we Chuppies?
Well, my mom explained, she and my dad started looking at homes in the area during one of their shopping trips to the Puente Hills Mall. She compared it to my sister going out to Victoria Gardens in Ontario (I think). I think she mentioned something about schools too, but that wasn’t what stuck.
In 1978, there was no Applebees or Chili’s or Starbucks to draw her and my father out to the area. Besides, they don’t care much for chain restaurants or over-priced coffee. But my mom has always loved to shop.
The funny thing is, growing up, my mom shopped most often at the swap meet. I visited the Vineland Swap Meet in La Puente much more often than the Puente Hills Mall though the latter was closer. We’d get everything at the swap meet from fruits and vegetables to fabric to make dresses and curtains and bedspreads.
There were no Kenneth Cole shoes at the swap meet. We didn’t mind.