Stockton, California

I’m from a place that has deemed the 2nd worst place to live in the United States and the sad part is it’s a small hole in the wall town in Northern California. Well I call it a hole in the wall, compared to Houston, which is where I live now, which is now the 3rd largest city in the country. My family is not one that people would call an ideal family, sorry pop, your words, not mine.
Despite all the negativity it IS where I was born so it will always be my first home.
I am a firm believer that you can find beauty anywhere, if you know how to see it. I have lots of memories of Stockton and for those of you not lucky enough to drive through that little slice of heaven, the best thing I can tell you is watch those shows and movies that take place in L.A. ghettos.
Downtown was nothing special. It’ll take a lot of elbow grease to clean it up. When I was little I use to think to myself, why do we have to have such a dirty downtown. Even the Greyhound station was bad. Now, as an adult I realize that Stockton’s downtown was not that bad, I should know, I worked at Greyhound in downtown Houston and I use to think, just like Stockton.
I use to walk or catch the bus everywhere I went. Summer time was spent at Oak Park, swimming in the pool, learning how to swim from a fat balding old man who looked like Mario from the Super Mario Bro game. My grandmother use to take me to Ports games, Stockton’s minor league baseball team, and she taught me a lesson I still live by today. “They may not be a Major League team but they are your team so you need to support them.” I agree and that’s why no matter what anyone says, I still cheer, GO AREOS!!!
Sorry, that’s a Houston team and I’m talking about Stockton.
Anywho, I remember Stockton having very few movie theaters and my uncle taking me to them all. There was the big one where I seen ET, The Hunt for Red October, Return of the Jedi, and Jurassic Park. There was a little one where we seen two movie on one ticket, that was the best, we spent all day there watching movies.
There were two malls, and they both had a video arcade. Many a quarters were lost in that place. I even remember there was a park, not sure what its called, but the zoo was there, it had a water ride that went around the entire park, and it had a museum. That was my first museum and I swear that the mummy they have on display moved while I was there.
The best, for me anyway, I have a few. The last time I went to Stockton for a visit there was three things I HAD to do. First thing first, when I got back into Stockton it was morning so we had to go to a Spanish bakery and the smell was heaven. Having to park on the street and go inside brought back memories, nothing had changed in the ten years I was away, right down to the pink fading paint on the outside wall.
That night for dinner I HAD to have a Michael’s pizza. When my aunt moved down the street from Michaels I went there all the time, which is where I fell in love with Hawaiian pizza. I went on and on about how I HAD to go to Michaels but my family wouldn’t let me leave the house so my cousin went and picked me up a pizza and that first bite, oh my god it was awesome.
Lastly, Genova Bakery. I have found memories of the smell of that bakery. If you are reading this and living in Stockton you HAVE to go to Genova and take a huge breath, smelling that sweet sweet smell. All I can say it this is what I think of when I think of Italy. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!
Well that’s enough about my home town. While I would not move back there, sorry but California is beautiful, just expensive for me to live in, I would love to go back for a visit. It may not be the best place to live, the crime is high, the streets are dirty, but it’s still a place that I call home.

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