Moving on east

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.

7 thoughts on “Moving on east

  1. “There were no Kenneth Cole shoes at the swap meet. We didn’t mind.”

    Seriously, I shopped at the vineland swapmeet growing up. I loved the raider sweatshirts, the bomb dickies shorts, the baseball cap you could get embroidered, the cortez, the old school vans, and everything else that filled my closet as a kid.

    But then something happened. I grew up. I joined corporate America. And today, if I walked into a boardroom trying to convince some pink faced millionaire to trust my company, or my boy’s hedgefund with his dough wearing a suit or shoes that I got from the Vineland Swapmeet, I’d be broke. My student loans don’t pay themselves. Kenneth Cole shoes, actually, are considered “low-end” in the business world. They’re for the younger guys who are just barely making their way into this den of vipers. But on top of that, they look sharp with my suit. They’re comfortable and keep my feet from aching when I take the stairs all the way up from the pershing square metro all the way up bunker hill. And you know what? They last. I have one pair that I’ve had over three years and wear damn near every working day. They still are comfortable. They still look sharp (with a shine from boy Luis).

    Funny thing about those sweatshirts I used to buy and rock from the swapmeet. Every new school year I had to pick up a new one. Because the one I had would be faded, shrunk, or worn out from a year of use. Doesn’t happen to my kenneth cole shoes. Or my Nordstrom’s dress shirts. Weird. It’s like the label that I’m whoring out has a magical force field around the product that makes it last longer and better than anything I could cop at the swapmeet.

  2. Chuppie, can’t you shop at both Kenneth Cole and the swap meet? I shop at Banana Republic and the 99 cent stores, the gourmet market and the bodegas–and I attended an Ivy League college and I have a master’s degree. Just because you’ve moved up the economic ladder doesn’t mean you have to look back on the past with contempt.

  3. Li,

    Who said anything about “or”? I’ve never phrased anything I’ve posted on this or the other website in those terms. In fact, I’m probably the only one that hasn’t passed judgment in any direction.

    I do shop at both. And not only do I not look back on the past wtih contempt, I have advocated here that BOTH can be useful and service the community in different ways.

    I’m not passing value judgments on anything in terms of “better” or “worse.” I’m speaking about truisms. Someone in my line of work can pick out a cheap suit or a swapmeet pair of dress shoes in a new york minute. For good or for bad, that is the world we live in. For good or for bad, a lot of business decisions are based on first impressions (partly) and these types of things impact a person’s livlihood.

  4. Ugh. Ya bajenle al pedo. Sounds like a tired Kanye West rap song, “I Can be down with the hood, and rock Marc Jacobs” etc etc. “I can wear pink and still affirm my masculinity.” “i can eat tacos in the morning and have a fancy french dinner at night”

    I hear/read mostly men do it. Shoot, just read Myspace profiles for latinos. Wearing lifestyles on your sleeve, or having to declare it over and over is tacky.

    p/s: kenneth shoes for men are just plain tacky across all worlds. estan refeos y corrientes.

  5. Chuppie, you are entitled to your opinion, and are smart enough to justify it. But calmate ese, you are personalizing too much of this as a personal attack when it is not. Just like you are entitled to your position so do others who appreciate the chicano authenticity a swapmeet brings. No need to breathe down their throats, taking offence (or sounding like it, are we all getting you wrong?) is not a truism. I wear suits for work too and shop at fancy stores nowadays much more than the Hacienda Mart (whoop whoop, I lived 3 blocks away, Puente Ballista-Blackwood), but I dont mind hearing these folks note how fond they are of those places. I too recognize that my old baggy gear gets me nowhere in the proffessional world, nothing here so far makes me uncomofrtable about what I do or where I shop. Again, no need to personalize or prove a point, it is pointless. It is possible to navigate both worlds without catching feelings about a blog celebrating one.

  6. Metro:

    I think Bruno’s are ugly as hell. But you know what, I don’t look down across my nose at someone who wears them. If you, the wearer, like’s the shoes, then that’s all that matters. So, while you might think KC’s are tacky (and you’re entitled to your opinion on fashion styles), so am I.

    To both:

    My point was not to celebrate my choices, nor to bad mouth the choices at the ‘meet. But if you read Chavo’s blog that preceded this entry, there was a disdain to his comments at the “chuppies.” So, it’s not about catching feelings, but if someone’s gonna hammer the point and imply that I’m a “chump” because of my commercial tastes, I think I’m squarely within the ambit of appropriateness to throw a little mustard on my response.

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