When I was in elementary school, I used to run around my cul-de-sac on Elmwood with neighbors and friends. We would play until the elotero or the paletera would come by so we could buy corn on the cob or some ice cream. Those were the days when getting our shirts dirty didn’t matter. We only cared about stuffing our faces. We would play until eight at night when our moms would yell, “entrencen, tienen escuela manaña!”
There are so many memories in Burbank, especially on Elmwood Street. My favorite has to be walking to and from school with friends. Everything was so close to home. My mom was pregnant with twins when I was in second grade. She couldn’t drive me to school, and I didn’t expect her to.
I’ve lived on the same street for two decades now, and things are not how they once were. I wouldn’t say it’s worse- because it’s not. The diversity has increased, and that in itself is amazing. I have Asian, White, Black and Brown neighbors now. It wasn’t like that growing up. I was once only surrounded by Latinos.
But there’s no more children running around the area anymore. I see families with children, but none are outside riding their bikes with their friends. I no longer hear the sound of the ice cream man or the elotero pass by, mostly because Burbank has permits available for food trucks, and the Farmers Market, but none for street vendors such as the elotero. Mother’s aren’t yelling for their kids to come inside because they have school the following day. Something changed on Elmwood, and I don’t believe it has anything to do with diversity rising.
Elmwood still has a good amount of Latinos living here. Some of the people I grew up with, moved away. Others, like my family and I, have stayed in the area. Most of us get our news by Telemundo or Univision. Mostly because it’s in Spanish. I don’t assume the rest of my neighbors use the same news outlet as we do because they don’t all speak or understand the language.
In the past five years, i’ve seen diversity on my cul-de-sac rise. However, I don’t see that for the Burbank news. My Burbank consists of nine staff members that typical write on school updates, especially regarding sports, and whose getting arrested in the city, but there isn’t much said about the community. Burbank’s population has always consisted of white and Latin people. As the years pass by, the more diverse it becomes. I believe that if My Burbank spoke more about the different communities around the city and the opportunities available to them, then we would be seeing more children running outside. At least we would on Elmwood Street, and of course, with the permission of the apartment managers.
The apartment complex I live in has had the same manager for over two decades. She’s always been strict, never allowing children to play in her area. However, when I was little it wasn’t much of a problem because we were able to play in other complexes. At the end of the cul-de-sac, there used to also be a playground where kids would enter at any given time, and use their imagination. However, about five years ago, it was removed from the area and converted into a garden. Since then, there hasn’t been many children running around with their friends, and parents yelling for their kids to go inside because it’s getting late. While the garden is kid-friendly, children are not as interested in playing in it as they are playing in a playground.
The changes made in the city such as having no permits available for the eloteros or removing a playground in a place filled with children, changed the actions of every child’s life.