"I was there..."
by Michael Arago
Getting harassed and beaten-up as a kid is part of growing up in almost any neighborhood, but we had some Class-A demons in our neck of the woods. There was a certain white-trash feel to the Crocker Park bullies who ended up forming the Crocker Park gangs. When one former wimp went off to join the navy, I distinctly remember his triumphant homecoming years later: he rode his Harley up and down the Crocker Amazon streets, displaying his new found muscles and his new found wardrobe--the distinctive wings and skull sewn on to the back of his leather vest, the proud colors of the Hells Angels. Now that was making it in Crocker Park!
Off the top of my head, I can think of several people, either my friends or friends of my brothers, who are dead, victims of street fighting or drug-related incidents. While violence seemed to be the dominant misery (another close pal of mine from grammar school--Guadalupe Grade School--is spending the rest of his life in prison for multiple murders and currently heads the Aryan Nation at Pelican Bay Prison) the greatest tragedies involve pals taken down by serious drug and alcohol habits, some still actually roaming Crocker Park, sitting in the baseball diamond bleachers, paper bag with beer in hand.