People of Northeast Los Angeles: Gloria Madrid

My name is Gloria Madrid. I'm from Frogtown, Elysian Valley. And I've been here since 1964. You know it's real peaceful. You know, I've always been peaceful I was a hippie and everything and I know there was gangs around, but no one ever bothered me. And I went everywhere, I went to Watts, to the Danza.

We used to have tons of frogs at night, and it was such a beautiful sound, it would be: ribbit, ribbit, ribbit. I mean, it was an orchestra, and when you'd come out it would be silence. And they'd see you and they'd say 'Oh it's just you' then they'd start: ribbit, ribbit, ribbit. It was so neat, it was so neat. And we didn't realize that in Burbank, that... What was the name of that place? They were getting rid of their jet fuel, and it was going down the river, and we didn't know that of course or we would have tried to stop the environment of this happening, and the frogs started disappearing, and disappearing. And it was because it was going down the river. And within ten years there was no more frogs.

Before it was open people would trust each other and everything we had it open. We had a metal table, with metal chairs and it was gone! Just so many things that went by, you know, my neighborhood has always been beautiful and everything. I used to leave my car open you know, right there, out front until it got stolen. And then it got stolen by one of the neighborhood guys you know that I found out later from my nephews. You know, that whoever stoled it dropped it off four blocks away and it was his girlfriends house and then it got shot, and then when the police gave it to me a month after it had bullets in it. And I found out the story. So from there on out I locked my car.

You know, and, it's just you know changed but it's always green and beautiful, honest to god. You know, I've always loved our neighborhood it's always been quiet and beautiful. So now we put you know, doors, you know doors like, 'hey!' You know that's changed too, it's like every man to himself. I pray for my sons when they were growing up. My son was 13 years old when a guy came up to him and told him 'where are you from?' 13 years old. He goes 'I'm from no where I'm from my mom.' Cause I would tell him if anybody asked him you tell them you're from me. Because this is terrible. You know, again at 16 they approached him. At that time I was having the outs with my husband he lived in El Sereno. And they approached him when he was 16 and they asked him 'where are you from?' And he felt they were going to shoot him he said 'I'm not from anywhere.'


The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:

About People of
Northeast Los Angeles
These are stories from the everyday people that make-up Northeast Los Angeles, particularly the neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights, and Elysian Valley. See some of our featured portraits below, explore by neighborhood, or see all the stories.





About the Author

For the past twenty years, Chilean born Ricardo Palavecino has been developing his skills as a cinematographer working on documentaries, feature films, television shows, and commercials.
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