Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bixby Park Tunnel

When I was a boy,   
Nearly seven decades ago, 
I walked two miles 
To the beach 
All by myself. 
I walked down 
Junipero Avenue. 
I rolled my eyes 
Knowing how the locals 
Mispronounce it as 
One a pair oh. 
I’d cross Anaheim Street
And read the Cabart Theater Marquee
Looking for a pair of movies
I’d like to see.
I continued on
Passing by the California Bungalow houses
On my Independent Press Telegram
Paper route.
I’d watched the cars whizzing by
As I’d wait for the light on 7th Street.
I’d pass Doctor Logan Jackon’s house,
Glad that I didn’t need to get a shot.
I crossed Broadway 
To the Park Pantry restaurant,
And hoped that someday 
I could afford to eat there.
I'd stroll through Bixby Park 
Scanning, Searching, and hunting  
For any friends who might 
Want to play at the beach. 
When there were, 
And when there weren't, 
I'd cross the park 
From one corner 
To the corner 
Of Cherry and Ocean.  
I'd descend the stairs 
Into the Bixby Park tunnel 
That went under  
Ocean Boulevard 
To the beach.  
I always found friends
Some I knew
Some I’d just met.
We'd play at the shore
And play tag with the waves.
Some kids had skim boards
Some had floats.
We’d play all day.
When we got hungry
We pull out the bologna sandwich
That we’d made at home.
Our teeth crunched the sand  
That the wind always,
Always, always blew
Onto our sandwiches.
When it was time to go home
I'd go into the tunnel
And back through the park.
I needed to be home
Well before it got dark.
I am sad 
That the tunnel 
Is no more.  
I suppose 
When children of ten 
Were no longer allowed 
To walk to the beach 
All by themselves, 
They sealed the tunnel, 
And the memories 
And only left a mural  
At the ocean side  
Of the tunnel.  

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