Category Archives: Southwest

Light at the End of the Tunnel: Main Street and Summit Ridge by Pearson Juntila

Path Down Summit Ridge Dr.
Houston, Texas 77035

January 2004–As you cross the median, it looks as if there is a tunnel with a light at the end because it is so dark, but there really is not a tunnel. When entering the street, one has to drive slowly because of all the gravel on the road due to construction on Main Street. On the left side is a school for “special people” coming soon. It used to be an auto-shop with a fence surrounding the building. You could always hear some dogs barking from inside the shop to prevent any burglary. As you go along the road, grass consumes the entire land on both sides that has not been cut for weeks, maybe even months. When this grass is cut, some parents like to take their children here and fly kites. The children seem to enjoy it and their parents are happy because their kids are happy. Dead animals sometimes lay on either side of the road. A feeling of melancholy engulfs your entire body as you see the animal lying down on its side with its tongue hanging out of the mouth. The innocent canine did not know that a wreck less driver would crash their worthless car over their lively body. If you do not see the dead carcass at night, one might have to swerve in order not to run over it. Animal control usually picks up the mangled body the next day for safety reasons.

Some people like to run or go biking on this street since the street is so long. The road takes up approximately a third of a mile. A newly constructed Science Center resides on the right side of the road. A greenhouse accompanies the Science Center building. A massive array of various plants consumes the inside of this greenhouse, almost like you are in an enclosed jungle. The temperature resembles that of a rain forest, which is very hot and humid.

If you look at the Science Center from the front, you can see Butler Stadium in the background and its parking lot. Countless high school football games have been played at Butler Stadium. I remember going to a Bellaire High School homecoming football game. I never realized how much fun you could have when you are watching a football team that never really played well from the beginning until I went to that game. My friends and I were just messing around in the stands, cheering for the mighty Cardinals. Everybody was wearing the colors of Bellaire High School: red and white. The cheerleaders would give out free stuff by throwing it out in to the crowd. People get rough when they want free stuff. The game was relatively close, but they lost by the end of the game. I do not remember who they lost to but afterwards, there was a fight after an exchange of words seconds after the game ended.

The parking lot of this stadium is very old. There are some potholes here and there, so if you drive onto the parking lot, you have to drive slowly. Those potholes are only in one area of the parking lot. The rest of the parking lot would be a street drag racer’s dream. Most street drag racers race for about a quarter of a mile. One side of the parking lot is just above a quarter mile. So you could see why it would make street racers salivate over it: other non-participating cars would not get in their way and it is the perfect length for a race. But unfortunately for the racers, it is illegal to enter the parking lot if there is no event going on. Every season there is a massive garage sale on the poor side of the parking lot. Selling your items at this garage sale is actually easier than setting up your own because there is guaranteed to be many people looking at your items for sale. Also, you do not have to put up signs on the street to say that there is a garage sale going on at your house. It is on the poor side because this side is smaller and the rest of the parking lot is used for, well, parking. Many people flock to this huge garage sale coming to find a great deal on certain items. I remember always coming here for all the things they have for sale. You would be surprised at how many things you could find. I always tried to find somebody that sold sports cards or some other things that might have value in the future. This garage sale has been done for as long as I can remember.

More along the road is a little side street on the left. If you stay idle here at night, there is a somewhat peaceful sound of crickets communicating with each other: nature at its fullest, stars shining down at the earth. At the base of this street is a sign for “Paintball Bonanza” and at the end a lonely rusty gray gate leads to the paintball area. If you enter this area, you can see countless trees spread out randomly. It kind of gives you the feeling of how the area was like before they turned the whole land into a community. Heading straight through the trees, when you reach the end, you can see the next neighborhood, like finding civilization at the edge of the forest. That neighborhood is brand new and is selling houses starting at $90,000. Not bad a price for a house these days.

Going further down the street, there is a large sign for a Baptist Church that is coming soon. About 200 more feet you can see a larger sign that says, “Future SWC Recreation Center Site.” SWC stands for SouthWest Crossing, which is the name of the nearby neighborhood. You can almost imagine this entire grassland turning into nothing but buildings. Across from those two signs, you can see nothing but yellow buses. These buses are HISD’s buses. This parking lot is the bus’s resting place until they will used the next morning to pick up thousands of children to take them to school and back to their homes. It seems lucky for the children in the nearby neighborhood, right? Wrong. They get to be the first children to be picked up and the last ones to be dropped off each day. Luckily, I never had to go through that. Actually, I went to a private school, so my parents would take me to school everyday.

On the left after the school bus parking lot is another side street with a red and white striped gate that takes up the width of the street to ensure that nobody enters. If you turn around, this would be a perfect place to test your car’s 0-60 mph time. As you turn the corner, there are all these wires suspended in the sky that are dangerous power lines. These power lines supply the electricity for the whole neighborhood and more. Tall light poles can be seen, while some light do not even turn on. All the houses can be seen when you are in the light. When you see the first house on the left, you can see that the house is not like all other houses. The fence to the backyard has many holes and you can see that the backyard grass is very high. The house says “you cannot enter” as you see part of the gutter is broken as it touches the cement on the driveway, blocking the path to the garage. The gray color is absorbed by the sidings and the roof needs repair as some shingles are missing. All the front lawns of every house look clean and organized. Each lawn has a different shade of green, which seems like you cannot have the perfect shade of green. In the darkest of night, virtually every house has its porch light turned on. When I arrive at my residence, the house appears to have a certain glow coming from inside, projecting light out onto the darkness of the street destroying the darkness that consumes the rough cement. My home can be described at night to be very bright, the light at the end of the tunnel.

Maps:

Links:
Paintball Bonanza

Bellaire High School

Street Drag Racer

Kites

eBay

Inexpensive but Never Cheap: Theatre Southwest by Rachel McKeehan

8944-A Clarkcrest
Houston, TX 77063
713-661-9505

April 2004–As a Theatre Major, I am bound by the laws of physics (and aggressive theatre professors) to see plays every so often. I attend a variety of sorts at the high school, college, and professional level. But the amount of professional productions I get to see is limited due to the loan I need to take out just to look at a ticket to places like The Alley Theatre. So a few months ago I went on a search for the theatres to go to while keeping the majority of the net worth of my being. Enter Theatre Southwest. This is the littlest place I’ve never heard of, but I don’t know it was little when I heard of it. So I call and get some cheap student tickets to As Bees In Honey Drown. I know the title sounds corny, but I needed to see the play to write a paper. The day of the show I looked up directions on Mapquest.com (which I now know sucks, by the way) and got all ready to go. Since my taller, but younger, sisters are interested in theatre as much as I am, I tell them I’ll take them to shows one at a time. Tonight was Olivia’s turn. My mom drives us because I’d get lost if I drove, and Map Quest had us going downtown in a not-so-nice neighborhood.

On the way I decide to call the theater again because Map Quest was getting confusing. The box-office man tells me in his 007 voice that the theatre is in fact not downtown, but off Fondren. I get a little mad and have the 50-year-old box-office man who thinks he’s charming direct my mom there. He does it perfectly.

We drive into this ratty looking strip center and wonder if we did it right. Then we notice the windows of the particularly clean part of the strip center. They are painted with drama faces and big black letters that read, “THEATRE SOUTHWEST.” This is the only evidence that this place is in fact a theatre. I get out of the car and notice odors of a garbage bin that must be near by. There were also a few weird guys down the strip center giving Olivia and me funny faces. Like we would give them the green light with our Mom clearly saying, “I love you Honey, be careful! Call me when the show’s over!”…Nice place right?

Olivia and I wave our goodbyes to my mom as she drives off. We enter the building through glass doors covered on the inside by red curtains, and receive yet another funny smell. An old building smell. To top if off, it turns out the living room of my house is bigger than this lobby, if it can be called that. I notice the ceiling looks as if it will fall in. We walk up to the kind-faced lady at a small desk and request two student tickets. It all costs about half of what on Alley ticket would have cost me. I then walk to another part of “The Lobby” and sit in a sticky chair. After a few mean-spirited words, I end up leaving my stubborn sister to stand next to where I sit because she doesn’t want the chair across and a little left of me. I look around and find an assortment of ages in this place, all of them waiting politely and patiently. Most of these people came in pairs or groups of three. All the faces I see are those of older senior citizens or the younger high school and/or college generation. About fifty of us here in only sixty square feet of space. The lower-than-it-should-be-ceiling adds to the tight, squashed feeling.

A man in a colorful disco shirt comes out and, with the help of various gesticulations, says we can be seated now. (Hmm, wonder if he’s straight.) As we go into the theatre, I realize that the stage is as small as the lobby, maybe smaller. It is a tiny four-sided stage surrounded on all sides by tiny seats. According to the AACT website glossary, this is what you would call a theatre-in-the-round, or an arena stage. It looks only big enough to seat about a hundred people.

My sister and I get seated in the second of three rows. The seats look as if they used to be a reddish color. They are small and padded and my sister soon complains how there is not enough room for her freakishly long legs. The friggin’ giant, serves her right.

The seats full up after about twenty minutes and we begin the show. It is about a con-woman and this poor, beginning writer she cons. He’s kind of cute and her haircut reminds me of Velma Kelly from the musical movie Chicago . I agree with Jay Reiner from The Hollywood Reporter when he says that the con-woman sounds like “Bette Davis on speed.” The actress who plays the con-woman seemed a bit weaker than the other actors because she relied completely on her accent to pull her character through. I was glad her accent appeared less in the second act, because I was going to get irritated if it didn’t. After the first act and half of the second, the innocent writer is dumped. Took her long enough. However, all this leads to his loss of innocence and his shock into the real artistic world. He finds the need to get her back, and, in doing so, meets all the people from her past. All in all, it is a decent play. A bit weird, but good. And that is really all I can ask for from freakishly cheap tickets and a kind ticket lady, despite the weirdo on the phone.

After the show they were going to have a “talk to the cast and crew” session. But Olivia and I needed to go. However, I found it kind of cool that they would consider doing that. After looking at the website and speaking to the people who run it, I know they do care about their audience. They really need to, considering their theatre and location. They do all this, not for fame, not for glory, not for money, but for the love of the Theatre.

A true Thespian will do what they do for the living for free. That’s our problem. That’s why most actors get paid squat. But this theatre doesn’t care. They are known as an amateur theatre (thank you, expensive college theatre class books like The Theatre Experience) but I always find that term to be belittling. I find its connotation means they don’t know what they are doing and they really serve no purpose. But my professor and I share an alternative view on this theatre and other amateur theatre groups: they do it for the love of it, thus they are more dedicated than we who expect to be paid. And this is what I think is the spirit of Houston : they’re constantly striving to fulfill their dreams while building a community with their accessible shows.

It’s not like they don’t know what they are doing. Quite the contrary. The lighting designer for the show I saw, according to the ticket lady, has a resume that can fill a 1 inch binder. He has worked in just about every theatre in Houston , plus many in other parts of the USA and London . The director also was responsible for stage managing and directing plenty of plays in the Greater Houston Area. The story was the same for most of the rest of the cast and crew.

But these people are not snobbish in their experience and do not exclude newer members of theatre to try their hand. The leading lady with the Velma Kelly haircut had never gotten a major role in anything before then. From her bio in the program, she was so very excited to be given the chance to be a part of such a show. I’ve also heard from some of my friends from the UH School of Theatre that they pay about $20 for tech workers. It’s not much, but it gives an inexperienced set or lighting techie the chance to get their feet wet.

Later, under their consent, I looked at Theatre Southwest Online for dates and times for auditions to upcoming shows. To my surprise, they actually encouraged new, never-before-seen actors to audition for these shows. The auditions are set for times that have the ability to fit nicely into a working person’s schedule. Perfect for a student who spends most of their day at school. I also learned from the extremely helpful Theatre Southwest Online that they have been providing “quality theatre since 1957.” 1957!?! This place should now have a historical marker! To be a non-profit theatre company and be able to stay in business for that long, they must be doing something right. Such a small place, such nice people, such good shows… this kind of phenomenon is not seen to much now-a-days.

This is why I believe Theatre Southwest represents Houston: Good people and good places exist that are never heard of before. They also have the ability and drive to offer so much to the community; good, affordable shows, open-minds to new talent despite the theatre’s age, and extraordinary experienced people in accessible areas to be learned from. What else can someone ask for from an amateur theatre group? They love their work, and they love their audience. They must for them to find the nerve and the will to continue their promise: “quality theatre.” I hope you will find out the unheard-of greatness that is Theatre Southwest for yourself. Then tell me that you would rather see a play for the indifferent people from Theatre Under The Stars or the expensive people from The Alley. Don’t get me wrong, they do nice work, but I like my money where it is.

Map

View Larger Map

Links

Theatre Southwest

MapBlast.com

Alley Theatre

Theatre Under The Stars

Stages Repertory Theatre


Willow Meadow Place: An International Residence by Phuc M. Huynh

10630 Beechnut St.
Houston, TX  77072
281-495-9293

April 2004–To find a perfect residence is extremely hard in the United States . Let’s say you are a newcomer and do not know where to find a good dwelling because everyone is unfamiliar to you. For the sake of economy, it makes sense to begin your journey of searching for an apartment at places that offer cheaper rental cost. Driving along several streets, you might pass a sign saying “Move-in specials, no deposits, first month free.” Your immediate reaction is to jot down the phone number of that apartment complex and call in its leasing office to reserve a rental. But that may be where your troubles begin. This is the case of many people who have lived at the Willow Meadow Place Apartment Complex. Located right in the heart of Southwest Houston , Willow Meadow Place used to be a crowded residence where time did not exist although it might be the middle of the night. However, for the sake of security and personal safety, the face of Willow Meadow Place has changed, and the complex itself has become desolate.

Located at the corner of Beechnut Street and Wilcrest Drive , a really busy and bustling corner in Southwest Houston , thousands of cars and drivers pass by Willow Meadow Place every day. However, the place seems not be noticed by the passersby. The complex looks shabby. The cranky, unsteady and full-of-bends fences show the signs of wear and tear at the first glance. The sky blue paint on the apartment doors is faded into somewhat white-blue. The long-standing buildings also contribute to the old appearance of the complex. The building bricks near the ground are coated with mosses. They all prove the lack of care and maintenance. Even though the complex itself is really big, there is just a small sign posted on Beechnut Street to welcome its visitors and couples of lines providing leasing information. Even though the shabby appearance makes it uninviting, there is one thing distinctive about it. Unlike other apartment complexes where you have to enter into in order to figure out what they are like, here at Willow Meadow Place you can just stay around the entrance, you are still able to see what the inside is like. By just driving by, you will notice a big mailbox where a lot of people gather around at the dusk, gossip and exchange their experiences of the day.

My family and I resided there for about one year. As for me, I loved the place since it was the first residence of my family after we moved to Houston . Six years ago, the complex was so beautiful and friendly. Most of the apartments were occupied; therefore, the mosses had no place to grow. The fences and gates were not newly constructed, but they were steady in place and had no bends. The smell of fairly newly painted doors was like the mint of winter-green gum, giving me a feeling of freshness every time I returned to my apartment. Willow Meadow Place also provided me with many good friends. However, all of us had to follow our family moving out to different parts of the city because of security concerns. Since then, I have not returned to the place even just to pay a visit, until recent time.

It was 11:30 P.M. on Saturday. I was on the way home from work. The outside temperature dropped below 55oF. This was usual for the nights in late November in Houston . I was on Beechnut Street and immediately had my car stopped at Wilcrest due to the traffic light. There was little traffic on the street at that time. And for less than two minutes, I continued driving and approached Willow Meadow Place . A strange occurrence caught my attention. It was almost midnight, and everything in the complex seemed ghostlike in the quite, misty darkness – everything except the appearance of an Asian man whose age I guessed was more than sixty. He was wearing a worn jacket while carrying a thirty-gallon size trash bag in his hand. When I slowly steered my Toyota Corolla past the complex, I saw him opening the gate and entering the complex. I wondered why he had to walk out that late.

In my mind, that apartment complex was not a safe place to walk. My father was mugged twice right in that apartment complex by black men when we were still living there. It was about seven o’clock in the evening, and my father went to the trash container in the back of the complex to throw away some food wastes. When he just approached the corner, halfway to the trash container, two black men attacked him. They punched him down and put a revolver on his forehead. One of them started searching in his Wrangler jean pockets and took away his wallet which had one hundred dollar bill, some changes and his driver’s license. After both muggers ran away, my father went back to my apartment with his pale face. He was too scared to immediately report to Houston Police Department what had happened to him, but a couple of hours later. The second time he was mugged was when he returned home from work at night o’clock right at the parking lot. The muggers did not deprive of him anything this time because he did not carry any cash with him. However, they punched his left eye so strongly that he had to call EMS to take him to the hospital immediately. My father was not the only victim of the robberies at Willow Meadow Place . The muggers also targeted Vietnamese people who seemed to be the main targets for the robberies. At times, old black and Hispanic men and women also fell victims of the violence. For years, Willow Meadow Place was known to be a Vietnamese village because once you entered that complex, you would catch Vietnamese people walking or doing something in every building block. Things started changing when others moved in including blacks and Hispanics. This move-in gradually made Willow Meadow Place a diversified apartment complex. Unfortunately, the robbery rate started rising following that move-in trend. Willow Meadow Place was then known to be an insecure place because the diversity made the complex more complicated.

Situated in the Alief subdivision of Imperial Point, Willow Meadow Place was known in Vietnamese as Bich Gia Nghia Village . The name of the village was translated roughly as “The Four Walls of Mutual Assistance.” It had an important meaning to Vietnamese residents here because “within these four walls, I would do anything for you, and you would do anything for me,” one of them explained. In this multiethnic apartment complex, about 750 Vietnamese residents had created vestiges of the village system of their homeland. At the time my family moved in, the Vietnamese population at the complex had doubled as the result of 153 new refugee families. Daily tutoring is a valued component of life at Willow Meadow Place . In a vacant apartment, the village leader scheduled the tutoring, four levels of English classes and a variety of other programs offered to residents. The Vietnamese immigrants at Willow Meadow Place found strength in working together. And together, they gathered to hear their share of stories about family difficulties or problems with their social lives. And together, the group tackled language barriers. And together, they wanted to learn English because each word learned was a step closer to a new life and new possibilities, a step away from the deaf-and-mute feeling.

Concerns about robberies and security had changed the face of Willow Meadow Place . The complex became more vacant as Vietnamese people started moving out. My family followed that trend because the violence happened to my father twice. After that time, we were no longer in contact with the complex and had no information about it. That accounted for my concern when I saw that old Asian man walking in the complex at midnight. Anyway, such a concern just flashed in my mind and then quickly faded. However, the same sight came upon my eyes again the next day when I was driving home from work and passing Willow Meadow Place . I began doubting him and asked myself if I should follow him to figure out what he was actually doing at midnight in a pretty cold weather like that. Finally, I decided, no, and went straight home.

I did not work on weekdays, so I did not see him the following five days. Such a scene was really strange to me because it had not ever caught my eyes in the past. I guessed he had been doing that for a long time, but I did not notice him. Next Saturday, I took the same route and caught him again. This time I decided to follow him. After he opened the gate and entered the complex, I quickly drove my car in and parked my car in front of the leasing office. I saw him approach the trash container, climb on its side, open his trash bag, and start disturbing the container with a wooden stick that he picked up right on the ground. In a moment, I heard the clank of cans emitting from the trash container. I came to understand that he was picking up the used cans. I stopped my car for a while and left the complex until he left for another trash container located further inside. On the way home, my mind seemed to be obsessed by what I had just seen. In fact, image of that man gave me an emotion and a deep thought about the life of people like him. I had ever thought that I was unlucky because I had to work that late. But when I saw him at almost midnight, I knew that at least I was luckier than one person. Society forgot him, left him out of its game. I asked myself unanswered question, “How many more people like him had to walk in this cold weather to pick up “pennies” thrown away by the others? Was it fair to them?” A sad feeling was provoked in me, and I did not say a word after getting home.

I decided to pay a visit to the apartment complex during the daytime to see how it would be now. After having my car parked in the lot where I used to park it, I hastily walked to the building located in the back of the complex. Physical things seem not to be changed. The apartment where my family and I lived in before is still there; however, a Hispanic family now occupies it. The doors are still painted blue. The trees are still sitting by the stairs, making a big shade ideal for those who like chatting with friends. Though the place and the objects seem to be intact, human activities are not as same as what they used to be. It is daytime, but no one there hangs or walks around. The scene is getting so quiet, giving me a feeling of having left something behind. It makes me feel like I was attached to it somewhere. The sky was overcast, but I could still hear the birds singing while hiding themselves on tops of the trees. A couple of squirrels were chasing each other while looking for food. They were running back and forth as if nobody were present there even though I was standing by the stairs and keeping my eyes on them. In a couple of minutes, I left for the nearby building. I caught no one in my eyes but a Vietnamese man who was fixing his Honda Accord. Rumpled and bleary-eyed, perhaps due to lack of sleep last night, he was sitting transfixed by the car with his eyes glued to it. I proceeded to him to find out if he would know something about the old man who I saw pick up used cans in trash containers. Before I said anything to him, he stood up and smiled at me. He gave me a feeling of friendliness and made me feel like I was actually welcome there. After a few words gossiping with him, I asked him about the old man I saw at night. He responded me in Vietnamese, “Sorry for not being able to help you. I don’t really know that man. My family and I moved in six months ago. And we are in the habit of not loitering outside at night because, you know, security is not very good.” Through his words, I acknowledge that security is still the main concern for residents at Willow Meadow Place . “So, you didn’t hear about security at this apartment complex before you moved in?” I asked him in Vietnamese. He let me know that he chose to move in because the price is cheaper there, and he thought that security at other places were not good as well.

After saying good-bye to him, I walked quickly to the building block neighboring the exit onto Wilcrest Drive . Passing by the waiting area where I now saw two more benches were added, I recalled the moment when everybody in this complex running out for life as the roof of this waiting shack caught on fire six years ago. It is now renovated with the entire roof removed. Instead, they grow a tree with the very big shade, giving the freshness to the area.

I took a seat on the bench for about thirty minutes. More human activities now came upon my eyes. A Southwestern Bell car passed by followed by four cars of the residents. Those cars were really noisy, but anyway they broke the strange quietness of the whole complex. Not so long after those cars passing by, the voice of a girl calling my attention, “Mom, please wait for me! I forget my wallet.” Looking on my right, I saw her mom was waiting for her while she was running upstairs to her apartment for her wallet. Her mom was wearing a blue Old Navy Dress while the girl had a new pink Banana Republic V-neck shirt on. They both disappeared in a moment. After their going, an Alief I.S.D. school bus arrived and dropped off their high school students. Among them, there were only three Asian boys and one girl leaving the bus. It came upon my mind that most of Vietnamese families had moved out of this apartment complex already, and they would not like to set their feet back here for security reasons. Willow Meadow Place is not as full of animation as it was in the past.

Several days following my visit to Willow Meadow Place , I got back to work. And on the way home, I still saw that old man. I was very unsatisfied because I could not figure out who he was after my visit to the complex. And nothing is going smoothly as I thought. Following the week of Christmas Day, I no longer saw him. I do not know for some unknown reason that this fact made me feel as if I were missing something behind every time I passed by Willow Meadow Place without seeing him open the gate and enter the complex. Since then, I went home in a fairly sad mood. I felt pity for him because his life was clearly not as happy and fortune as the others. I related what I had seen on the street to my father. One thing that amazed me was that he and my father have been friends since my family was still residing at Willow Meadow Place . After listening to the story, my father just smiled and told me about the life of that man. He lived alone in the apartment next to Willow Meadow Place and worked in the nearby Phillips gas station. He picked up used cans as his extra earning. He went back to Vietnam after Christmas Day and planned not to re-enter the United States . He had been saving enough money and wished to live the rest of his life in Vietnam . Well, I still felt pity for him. Willow Meadow Place now loses a midnight visitor. But his image will exist in my mind as long as Willow Meadow Place is still present in Southwest Houston.

Map:

Links

Alief School District

Alief

Step Into Le Promenade Apartments by Leo Calderon

7400 Bissonnett
Houston, TX 77074
(713) 774-3289
November 2010

I heard the police sirens during the day and night, but mostly at night. Occasionally gun shots woke me and every time they did I prayed everything would be alright. There was also a lot of gang violence at Le Promonenade Apartments. I witnessed guys and girls getting jumped into gangs, your average drug dealers waiting for daily customers, and even one of my friends shot and killed for no reason he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I lived around all this until my parents and I moved when I was fourteen. This is what people see while living at or even visiting Le Promenade Apartments. There are also positive things going on in the Apartments.

They say, for every negative there’s a positive this applies to Le Promenade Apartments. People spend their time to setting to know each other no matter what skin color, age, or race they are. For example many including myself, who live or lived in the apartments know Ms. Flores, is a sixty- five- year- old sweet lady. She always stays in a cheerful mood if you are ever down, she is the person who will put a smile on your face. One day Miguel a friend of mine, had a rough day at school. He passed by Ms. Flores apartment the next thing you know he was laughing at the jokes she was telling him. Some of her jokes were corny but that’s what made them funny like the one she once told me “Knock, knock who’s there? Tuna, Tuna who? You can tune a piano but you can’t tune-a-fish”. People like Ms. Flores help others not be afraid of talking and getting to know other people who live in Le Promenade.

On the flipside there is J.J he who was in a gang, and always in trouble with the law. J.J was about twenty-five years old about 6 feet tall and had numerous tattoos on his body. Also at the age of nineteen he was put in jail for five years for robbery. Even though J.J was not what you can call such an innocent person, growing up around people like him reminds people what not to do. I learned to a distance so I wouldn’t get in any kind of trouble. As you can tell there’s a lot of criminals at 7400 Bissonnet and Fondren, Le Promenade Apartments but good people many can be found there.

I also have cherished memories from growing up there. My family and I celebrated birthdays there, and at Christmas and Thanksgiving all my relatives would come and celebrate with us. One memory I will never forget is when my grandma spent her last Christmas with us before she passed away two months later. Memories like that and the lessons I learned growing up there, I still carry today and will for always. Maybe, it wasn’t the best looking place but there is family and memory-making. I learned to appreciate the things I have and the roof my parents put over my head. My parents work hard and manage to give me a home, food, clothes, and most importantly love. Living in those apartments made me realize that it was my home. A home that is to be valued instead of being ashamed of how it looked.

It took me time to get past my shame about living there. I am now able to see the positive. It’s hard seeing things in a positive way when you live in a dangerous neighborhood, they don’t look classy, cops are always there, violence. For example whenyou first come in the apartments you see the gate entrance, the gates are about 7 feet tall and all black. They open but don’t close, but the gates are broken. Once you’re in the apartments you see parked cars left and right, some old some new, but be careful with the pot holes that just never seem to get fixed. Driving around and looking at the apartments you notice that the apartment’s color of are green all front doors have a brown color, green and brown seem like a very odd color for apartments. Once you start walking around you can also note that many of the windows have bars. These bars are a result of houses being broken into, they’re used as a precaution. Our windows had bars but luckily my house never got broken into so after a while my dad decided to take them off. This is all a glimpse of my apartments look like.

Most apartment complexes have pools for the residents but not ours. At one point in time but for some reason they closed it down. The pool area was still there just no water in the pool, it was emptied out and filled with sand. We did have a park though. The park had a basketball court and a small soccer field, that’s all I cared about. One of my friends, Michael, would always come knocking on my door saying “Leo lets go hoop” or “are you ready to get beat on the court”. Michael would always like to “thrash talk” but most of the time I would always be the one that beats him on the court. Some people they may
not think much of the little park but that park is what got me and many other kids out of trouble it prevented getting involved in the wrong things.

If I wasn’t playing basketball with my friends, I was on the soccer field trying to make goals. Imagine a twelve-year old boy playing with his friends while someone passes him the ball and he kicks the ball as hard as he can hoping that the ball will go in,and he can yell “Goal!” The best soccer game I remember was the day it rained, the ball and grass was soaked, everybody was slipping and falling but that day was one of the best days I had with my friends. Had very good times living in Le Promenade and I wouldn’t take it back.

Once the sun went, it was time for my friends and I to go back inside. Some of my friends lived in a two story apartment but I lived in a one story. Despite the two stories,the apartments looked the same. All the rooms in the apartments have red carpet with white walls. People always try to color their walls or change the carpet even though it’s not allowed. The only difference between the one story and two is that with the two stories the kitchen, living room, and one of the bathrooms are downstairs while the bedrooms are upstairs and each have their own bathroom. Size wise there is a difference but other than that the appearance is the same down to the rooms to even the tiles on the floor. There is square tile in the kitchens and bathrooms, but everything else is carpet. When it comes down to it I really wanted my house to be more square tile than carpet but after a while I started liking carpet better.

The first thing you notice are walls being tagged by the neighborhood gangs. The apartment manager would always get the workers to re-paint each time a wall was tagged but in about two days the walls would be tagged once again. The managers were spending so much money on the repaints and after a while they just stopped painting over the tagged walls. My apartments don’t feel like a safe zone area to people. There are security guards but even that’s still not enough since there are still tagged walls and houses being broken into. Not to mention once in a while even cars get broken into or even stolen. I understand the security guards try their best but it’s not enough. Even with all these problems the apartments still stand people still live there. The people are what keep the apartments running and not getting closed down. If the apartments were to be closed down my family and everyone else who lives there would have been homeless.

The overall look may not be a good one but never be so quick to judge because you can really be surprised by what you learn at Le Promenade Apartments. I still have friends who live there. I keep in touch with them and from what they told me not much has changed many people see the complex as the ghetto but my friends call it home.I’m very thankful that I didn’t get caught up with the crime while growing up there and thankful for the lessons I learned. Much of that is what made me the person I am today, and I will never forget where I was raised at. If you’re ever in the area, check out the complex. Maybe you will learn a lesson too.

MAP:

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=&q=7400+Bissonnet+Houston,+TX+77074&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=7400+Bissonnet+St,+Houston,+Harris,+Texas+77074&gl=us&ei=ggP9TK-UKsL7lwfM2IWRBQ&oi=geocode_result&ved=0CBYQ8gEwAA&z=14&ll=29.687047,-95.51192&output=embed

LINKS

LePromenade

Neighborhood Store

Elementary School

Author Bio:

Leo Calderon is currently a freshmen at the University of Houston Downtown and is majoring in law. He is getting his basics at UHD and plans to transfer to Saint Johns in New York after he is done with his basics. He grew up in Southwest Houston and he hopes when he reaches his high in life he wants to give back to the community he grew up in. He will never forget where he came from and the lessons he has learned and will keep on learning. As for now he will keep working hard and wont give up until he becomes a succesfull person in this world.

An Oceanic Taste of Chinese History: Ocean Palace Chinese Seafood Restaurany by:Leung, Carol

11215 Bellaire (Hong Kong City Mall)
Houston Texas 77072
281.988.8898

April 2004–With a distinctive Chinese, empiric design and standing in the heart of Southwest Houston , Ocean Palace Seafood Restaurant’s cultural and historical charm takes you by surprise! The green, glazed roof allows Ocean Palace Chinese Restaurant to glitter like an emerald jewel on the surface of Houston ! As you pass through the bridge that leads toward the entrance of the restaurant, the massive clear, blue water fountains surrounding gives you the feeling as if you are standing under Tai Yue Shan, one of Hong Kong’s most popular natural attractions. The misty, drizzle of water of the fountains sprinkle upon your face as you walk through a hot, humid climate of the mountains in the summer. Unlike ordinary Chinese restaurants, Ocean Palace Seafood Restaurant is a castle of two stories and inflects the feeling of how royal Chinese families lived in the 1700-1800’s when China was still under monarchy rule. Ocean Palace Chinese Restaurant at the Hong Kong City Mall is one of the traditional favorites for Hong Kong and Chinese families to open wedding parties, usually on the first floor, and entertainments shows on stage, sometimes even featuring some Hong Kong Chinese singers or superstars from abroad! Recently, Ko Thien Loc, Huong Hai Lam, and Xa Sze Man, three of my favorite actors and singers flew over from Hong Kong , China to Houston on Friday and Saturday, January 30-31st, 2004to perform a live show at Ocean Palace ! The live performance was spectacular and it was one of the best days of the year! Louis Ko (Ko Thien Loc), Huong Hai Lam, and Xa Sze Man sung some of their famous Chinese songs, danced and musical surroundings sparked the stage on the second floor banquet! Streams of delicious Chinese dishes like barbeque roasted duck, mushroom and bok choy with abalone, and Chinese-style fried rice was served on each table along with the show.

Both levels serve as dim sum and seafood dining rooms. On regular weekdays, dim sum is served on the first deck. Numerous tropical aquariums with decorative fish surround you as you eat, as well as live tanks in the back with live edible seafood. For dinner, there are countless varieties of fresh seafood beyond your imagination! Some examples include Dungeness crabs, Australian jewel crabs, shrimp, cabezon, tilapia fish, geoduck, Australian and Boston lobsters, oysters, and clams. Located at the corner of Hong Kong City Mall Center in Bellaire, it conveys a profound, authentic feeling of the Chinese culture. Both the restaurant’s exterior and interior successfully brings the heart of the Chinese to Houston .

Almost every weekend, whenever anyone in my family asks, “Where are we eating for lunch?” My parents would reply, “Hui Yum Cha,” which is a familiar Chinese phrase that means “Go drink tea.” It literally means to eat traditional Chinese dim sum and enjoy hot Chinese tea at the same time. Dim sumis a Cantonese term meaning “pieces of one’s heart” (Chan) that enhances awareness and understanding of the deeper meaning inside Chinese culinary arts. Most of the time, we arrive at Ocean Palace during Saturdays and Sundays. As our family enters the main doors of the restaurant, there are two rotary snakes of stairways curling up toward the second floor. As you look up, you could see bright, shining chandeliers as a flash of a camera would when taking memorable photo. The dim sum ritual takes place at the second-floor ballroom during weekends, which is usually crowded. “I am told that a thousand people can fit inside [the second story], and having seen it full, I [can’t] believe it” (Cook 4:13) As my family and I sit down on the cozy, snug sofa chairs, I always instantly adjust my head toward the glass windows that border the side of the right wall. From the second story view, you could see the top views of the auto repair shop and the mini centers that stretch alongside of the other side of the street from Hong Kong City Mall. When I look out further beyond the neighboring buildings, I could feel myself standing next to the bloated, puffy clouds and touch the shadowing silhouette of the downtown skyscrapers. Usually, only the fresh smell of scrumptious food, such as “some excellent Xiao Mai [or] barbecue pork rolls”, canarouse me from my meditation. It is a unique experience to be submerged by the restaurant’s cultural and historical surroundings and marveled by the excellent view overlooking Houston at the same time!

Once my family and I are seated at a table upstairs with clean, ceramic plates and wooden chopsticks wrapped in recycled paper, “breathing in the seductive aromas from the circulating food carts and enjoying the first sips from a pot of loose-leaf tea, the unavoidable sensation takes hold” (Cook 4:13). As the newly baked, mouthwatering dim sums are laid upon the table, it reminds me of how lucky I am to actually have time to spend together with my family. Most of my friends prefer to hang out with their other companions than with their own folks and some don’t even have five minutes to talk with their family! Many families of mixed cultures may have difficulties associating with each other, like mentioned in two of my favorite novels Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and May Pao-May Tung’s Chinese Americans and their Immigrant Parents. Chinese immigrant families, like mine, usually “[have the fear] of losing their strong family ties and seeing their children not practicing traditional customs” (Tung 173). That’s why my parents are meticulous about us speaking mostly in Chinese Cantonese-dialect and has set up a cable with Chinese channels at home. Strangely, I live and was born in Houston , but I seem to blend into my family’s Chinese culture more than that of American culture! I am even tempted to watch Chinese shows, news and movies on Chinese satellite more than that of the English channels. My interest for my family’s Chinese culture has greatly grown throughout the years. However, my education and knowledge “strikes a nice balance between the traditional cultural influences which affect the social behaviors of Chinese and Chinese Americans” (Tung 282). When it comes to reading, writing, and knowing about its history, I excel in English and American history much more. Even though I can pronounce Cantonese and English fluently, I am definitely nothing near amateur when it comes to reading and writing Chinese. Ocean Palace Chinese Restaurant is my emblem of who I am and what binds the two cultures together in my heart. Most importantly, the eatery is one of the locations that have brought my family together in happiness. It is usually the best time to share memories, feelings, and love with one another. Not only that, it brings me more knowledge about my family culture into my heart.

As our family sips traditional Chinese tea and chats, certain types of dim sum remind my parents of Hong Kong and Guangzhou , their hometowns. Some examples are shrimp dumplings and sweet black sesame dumplings. Shrimp dumpling is “a typical dim sum filled with fresh shrimp, bamboo, and pork mixed in a crystal clear wrapper” (Chan). The fresh, scrumptious shrimp dumplings that are being arranged on the table seem like golden, round goldfishes lying in a steel carton. As the shrimp dumplings are laid at the table, my mother usually tells us about the culinary art of dim sum and the old Chinese historical theories about them. Like Thomas Tseng says, “Chinese culture socializing is almost impossible without food” (Schwarz 28). She always says in Cantonese dialect, “To know if the dim sum in any restaurant is good or not, you must try the simplest dish: shrimp dumplings. If that doesn’t taste good, then nothing else will taste good in the restaurant.” Following the theory, she also explains, “It’s because that certain dim sum is one of the most complicated Chinese dishes for cooks to perfect.” Those conversations usually lead into the subject of extreme poverty back when my mother was my age and how women worked so hard for just very little money in China . Back then, I remember when my mother once told me that she was the only one who did all the chores and endured drudgery for the family, “As I worked so hard, my three younger brothers just eat, play and sleep!” However, even though my grandparents pampered my three uncles more then my mom, I could always see that my mother’s love for grandma and grandpa was always exceedingly deep. In the 1960’s, it was not unusual for parents to love only their sons and male generations. As I watch her talked, my mother would always manage to shed some tears while she talks and emotionally shove the dumpling into her mouth as crumbs of dumpling wrap fall upon the new restaurant tablecloth.

My father, on the other hand, loves to call sweet black sesame dumplings because it reminds him of the times when he was back in Ghangzhou and their old traditions. What would make my family laugh all the time is when every time my dad talks about his old days and says, “Back then in Guangzhou, this black sesame dumpling dessert is know as ‘eet’!” It is an old custom historical name for the dish. The particular dim sum also brings back his past experiences during historical revolts when the city was ruled under Mao Zedong. “Change in the economic policy of the People’s Republic of China introduced by Mao Zedong under the second five-year plan of 1958 to 1962. The aim was to achieve rapid and simultaneous agricultural and industrial growth through the creation of large new agro-industrial communes” (“The Great Leap Forward” 693). All men and children were forced into farming communes, and my father was one of them. “If it wasn’t for Mao Zedong’s agricultural plan, I would have been a graduate of one of China ’s top colleges! Before I finished the last year, I was forced to go farm, so I’m left as a high school graduate,” he would always boost, “You should know how lucky you are to endure the conflicts of life that you endure now, because you did not endure the worst conflicts and understand how much pain, hard work, and how much blood I lost!” If my dad had didn’t swim over for numerous days in the bitter and wintry seas to Hong Kong, he may have died with the “20 million people [who] died in the Great Leap famines of 1959 to 1961” (“The Great Leap Forward” 693). Also, not all refugees who swam survived. Apart from the times of depression, there were pleasant moments and times of laughter throughout the past to present time in both China and Houston . Their stories made my sister and my interest for Chinese history and culture grew deeper as well as our personal American experience made my parents’ interest in Houston grow too.

As dim sum is shared, memories of depression from the past and happiness of the present is flowed along the table. During these meals, my sister and I would absorb as much knowledge about our own background and history of China as we can. Sometimes, eating at Ocean Palace makes me feel as if I am living in my parents’ past and through the ages of China myself. Ocean Palace Chinese Seafood Restaurant is also one of the reasons that make me more eager for weekdays to pass by quicker!

MAP

Tranquility Among Peoples: Lakes of Austin Park

Neighborhood Lake
Austin Parkway and Lakefield Blvd.
Sugar Land, Texas 77479

January 2004–The sun is setting beyond the horizon of suburban housetops and enormously tall, metallic power lines, the kind of unthreatening power lines with their own designated area in fields far away from playing children and fathers trimming their trees. As I open the front door of my red brick, two story house with forest green shutters on every window, I make my way to the mailbox at the end of the street. This is a safe neighborhood with people who don’t take any chances, even when it comes to the convenience of having your own unlocked mailbox in front of your house. My bare feet touch the warm pavement soaking up the sunshine from the day as my feet are pounding onward towards the locker containing bills, coupons, and letters.

On the left side, and across the street Nigerian food is being cooked. I recognize the smell because a few weeks ago I attended a graduation party where I sampled many delectable ethnic dishes with names I couldn’t pronounce. Just a few houses down from where I’m walking, I detect the aroma of Chinese food. These neighbors have a garden in their backyard and bring us the biggest cucumbers I have ever seen in crumpled up paper bags as a gesture of neighborly kindness. The Egyptian family resides two houses down the row of the comforting brick houses on Bermuda Drive. I have never eaten over there, but as a child I went swimming in their tropical oasis-like pool. Finally the distinct smell of curry spices cuts through the air, and I know exactly where it is coming from. There is an Indian family who lives here, whose daughter used to baby-sit my sister and I. About five years ago she made it on to a college episode of “Wheel of Fortune.” Her proud family posted on the mailbox the time and day of the airing so we could all watch it. I’m finally to the rusty, wobbly, gray painted mailbox. The only mail for me is from technology and community colleges. As I am walking up my driveway with the mail in a loud, plastic grocery sack, I return to the smell of my own dad grilling chicken.

After dinner when everyone’s belly is filled with their own native cooking and the air is cooler outside, it is common for many of the families and couples in our neighborhood to go for a walk around the man-made lake that wraps around our peninsula-like neighborhood. The land the lake was carved into used to belong to the Frost Ranch. “In the 1940s a man named Gerald Hines took flying lessons above the Frost Ranch land he would later purchase and develop into First Colony.”(Perin) These lands served as a purpose for growing sugar cane and other crops. On the other side of the lake behind a levee there remains a large pasture of cattle. It was common to hear the melodic groan from the cows in the morning when I stepped out into my dew covered backyard. At a glance the lake is beautiful and the ripples and mini-waves shine like crystals from the sunlight. The grass around the lake is green and well kept. Various strategically planted trees circle the lake to provide shade to picnickers and people seeking solace by the water. The lake is stocked with fish every year bringing recreational fishers as well as raggedly dressed men who drive washed out, blue Cadillacs with loose tail lights.

When I first moved into my house I never questioned whether or not the lake was clean, it was new and looked clean to me. I saw people swimming in the water on more than one occasion. If someone were to do that today they might be branded insane, or diagnosed with some terrible bacterial infection, or feared to have the same effects a New York Sewers Ooze had on the Ninja Turtle. The water is very stagnant, so mosquitoes thrive and bite while kids from the block are trying to enjoy neighborhood games of kickball. Trash, leaves, and chemicals of fertilizers that runoff into the lake, form a ring around the edge. After saving up enough birthday money, I purchased a four-man raft and oars this summer to carouse around the lake for fun, but most of the excursions turned unpleasant when I was stuck in a big massive floating dump. The lake being unnatural and polluted, still has noteworthy qualities that many can enjoy. A wetland environment is one of the most innovative concepts to relieve the normalcy of suburban living.

As I told you before, it’s after dinner and time for the family to go on our daily evening walk around the paved path through our neighborhood that weaves around the lake. The lake curves from the entrance of the neighborhood all the way to the last street where I live, with the other shore residing behind my backyard fence. I would follow shortly behind my parents on a bike while they steadily walked onward. I think they appreciate this in a way because it gave them more space to talk about problems at school or at my dad’s workplace. Women dressed in Indian saris, or with their faces completely covered wearing some kind of draping would step aside for me on the path around the horseshoe shaped lake to let me pass by on my bike. Everyone almost always says hello as they walk past others. If a ball or Frisbee crosses the path of the regular evening walkers they would stop and retrieve the item to the people playing. That’s what I like about this neighborhood; it isn’t completely full of rich or close-minded people that think they are too good to interact with the common public or individuals from different cultures.

You can catch clips of conversations made by the walkers. As I zipped by unsuspecting parties, I nosily eavesdropped the usual dialogue, that consisted of family problems or upcoming events. As I rode my bike behind my parents I heard them talking about building a deck for our backyard, at the same time I also hear part of a conversation in Spanish going on behind me. I used to ride my bike on this same sidewalk to elementary school almost everyday. It was a refreshing and beautiful way to start the long day of sitting under fluorescent lights in unforgiving classrooms. I would watch the sun come up over the lake and reflect a net of diamonds bouncing off the water.

Feeding the massive duck population is a popular activity to partake at this lake in one’s own leisure time. There used to be other kind of wildlife like alligators, but they were seen as a threat to the people in the neighborhood. They were worried that the alligators would try to snatch dogs or children if they got too close to the lake. The food chain here is discombobulated. The duck population is enormous now, at unnatural levels leaving the sidewalks and streets covered with bird droppings. There is an overweight white woman who sits for hours almost everyday feeding the ducks. One time during one of my excursions in a raft with a few friends around the lake, geese started to encircle us. They were honking and trying to peck at the raft, so naturally we were waving the oars at the foul. While nervously laughing, my friends were looking at me with disgust, questioning why I would put them in a position of danger like this one. I looked back at them saying, “I don’t know what’s going on, this has never happened before, but keep on whacking!” The woman angrily yelled at us to stop, and we were thinking, “Oh, what now?” She made a strange noise and the wild geese flew to the grassy shore and allowed the big woman to pet their feathered backs. I believe this woman had tamed the geese, probably by means of food which we didn’t have, and that’s why they came so boldly close.

Several years ago, before new houses were built on the other side of the lake, we had a huge fireworks display every Fourth of July. The new houses were a big controversy to the others already living here. They were worried their natural view of the lake, trees, and fields would be obstructed and urbanized. Well Corporate America and investors won of course, but not all was lost. There is a branch of the Brazos River that is lined with many trees that is still visible past the levee beyond the lake. Our lakefront house was the site of the entire New Hope Lutheran Church Fourth of July party. Our church wasn’t a Lakewood type of televised church, but it wasn’t a one room small church either. I felt privileged that others came to enjoy what was in our own backyard. We had the BBQ going with hotdogs, burgers, and chicken, as well as the yard lined with tables and chairs with red checkered table cloths. Some kids brought sparklers and pop rocks, while others played on our swing set. Our party wasn’t the only thing bringing hundreds of people out to our neighborhood. Around the entire lake, people from miles away filled nearly every grassy spot with a blanket, cooler, and their families.

How did these people know that this was the perfect place to choose to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July? People I had never seen before in this area of all ethnic groups, possibly family members of the cultural mecca of what our neighborhood is were there to celebrate. As a child I remember petting exotic cats at my Egyptian friend’s house, eating rice and watching “Bill and Ted’s Awesome Adventure” at my Chinese friend’s house, learning how to play basketball from the black kids in the neighborhood, meeting people from my Jewish friend’s Temple, and playing “Pogs” with the Indian kids who all lived on my one block. The community, lake and its surrounding area in the neighborhood of Lakes of Austin Park is an oasis and safe place for growing up, living, and participating in recreational activities no matter what your ethnic or cultural background. This neighborhood teaches people of different cultures to interact peacefully, no matter how great their diversity may be. This neighborhood greatly influenced who I am today.

Map:

 First Colony Parks and Recreation

 First Colony

First Colony Real Estate

 Duck Overpopulation

 Alligators in Neighborhoods

Childhood Memories: Astroworld by Charles Anderson Jr.

9001 Kirby Dr. Houston Tx
77054 south loop 610

November 2010Traveling down 610west freeway I could remember the excitement and the remarkable experience the closer you approach the arch over 610. The Bridge that links the drop off parking lot and the once-famous Astroworld still sits there for us to ponder our memories. Astroworld was the start of some people’s vacation, for some it was a common tradition, and for some young adults it was a first date. The exhilarations this empty parking lot once held began inside the lot, and grew stronger as you crossed the bridge.
Now I walked through this newly built parking lot; my blood pressure rises and thought of Astroworld mesmerize me. These fifty-seven acres of land now look like a cemetery full of memorable roller coaster, great stories, and the atmosphere of Astroworld. The smile and joy Astroworld put on people faces are now replaced by parking lot entertainment, such as the tailgaters at the Texans games or from the livestock shows.

Touring that million dollar franchise, it was hard keeping my hands out of my pocket and not spending any money. How could anyone resist the temptation of trying out different foods, or buying creative souvenirs from a key chain to a fancy shirt? Chosen widely as America’s favorite restaurant, many people chose to eat at McDonald’s even though the prices where more expensive than normal. Even some of our favorite childhood cartoon characters influenced Astroworld and the appreciating of buying wonderful souvenirs. Although the price of a keychain or a famous stuffed animal were unpleasant, the satisfaction and joy of receiving them was pleasurable. Receiving a human size Tweety Bird or a Bugs Bunny shaped cup made it worth every penny, or if you were afraid to ride the huge roller coasters, a variety of mini games were presented to win a possible stuffed animal or many more prizes. Now when I see the lot I think it is amazing that lot was filled with Houston greatest money maker. I always described Astroworld as the cash absorber deep in the heart of Texas, though even now, parking in the parking lot that used to be Astroworld still accounts for a large amount of money. So even though there’s only gravel and grass, Astroworld is still a money-making attraction.

Although, the parking prices are outrageous the experience you received some say is priceless. Astroworld is sincerely missed but the rodeo, tailgating, and concerts held at the Reliant and Astrodome Stadium covers the missing moments. I can remember some of the stories my mother mentioned to me about when she use to work at Astroworld. On holidays like Independence Day or Halloween night concerts where held inside of Astroworld and famous singers before my time performed.

Some days when my friends and I attend an event inside of the parking lot we mentioned, “It is days like these when I wish Astroworld was still open,” and I could relate with them. Discussing times when we took a detour to the Astroworld water park also known as Water World because of the hot and humid weather. My huge water slide experience came to me, the time when it felt like butterflies’ begin to enter my stomach. Giving the opportunity to visit Astroworld rather it was in 1975 to ride a roller coaster or 2009 just to park to attend an large invent being held at reliant stadium, all visitors can relate to at least one memorable moment.


I can still picture the rollercoaster such as Serial Thriller that lived up to its name with its fire truck red, twisting tracks, and dangling seats. It arrived and was a great addition to the older attractions of Astroworld, such as Grease Lighting and Batman Escape. The Batman Escape impression was modeled like the bat cave seen in all of the Batman movies and cartoons, in a very dark tunnel with a cold breeze of air while you waited to enter the ride. The Grease Lighting was lighting striking fast. It reminded me of a Ferris Wheel with high-speeds. When I heard dropping a penny from the top would give a concussion to anybody below, I never looked at the rollercoaster that day.

Introduced to the parking lot attributes and all the great memories overshadows the pain I felt in my legs and feet, or the heat I conducted on my skin walking fifty-seven acres of land to stand in lines longer than he D.P.S office. Remembering the obstacle that was completed looking up to the rollercoaster that I knew was going to have my stomach turning felt as if the ride lasted forever. Moving forward towards one of the rollercoaster rides gasping the fact I no longer have the courage to ride anymore but it’s too late to turn around, I looked my fears in the eye and entered the ride of my life. A feeling of accomplishment and a burst of pleasure enters my body at the end of the ride.

Entering the actually theme park you could taste the sugar from the funnel cakes as you made your way across the ticket booths, and you could hear the soft music of Looney Tunes theme songs playing. As I take footsteps through the parking lot I could think of all the fantastic activities and concerts, and the only concern that I have is the thought of not coming back. Growing as a child visiting Astroworld one or two times were breath taking and the desire to visit increase as you grew. Throughout the years Astroworld invented the season pass, an answer too many people boring days during the summer. The parking lot was not only built to increase Houston’s economy, nut surprisingly a Houstonian second home. In Remembrance of Astroworld

MAP:

LINKS

Employee Tribute , History, Facts

Author Bio

Charles Anderson Jr. is a transfer student from University Houston and is in his second semester at University of Houston Downtown, who is thinking about majoring in Computer Science. Charles is compassionate and genuinely well rounded, and has competed in many diverse assortments of activities ranging from sports, and education courses.

In my experience, Charles has proven himself to be an honest, hard-working young man. He is generous and kind. Even as a teenager, he was always thinking of other. Several times, I have witness him volunteer to help complete any kind of responsibility.

At all times I have found him to be a humble, dependable, courteous young man. He strives always for the best and takes a high interes in technology. Charles plans to get a degree and pursue his career in technology