Each month KCET Departures features a community initiative in which we ask our readers for submissions on a particular topic. So far we've asked for stories about skateboarding, punk rock, and poems for National Poetry Month, to name just a few of our initiatives. We are currently running The Power of Place: Map Your L.A. contest.
Although the deadline for some of the contests have passed and not every month can be dedicated to the art of prose, you can continue to send us your stories--we want to provide an outlet for anyone with an interesting story (or poem) that they'd like to share. Each week we will highlight a story that you may have missed, or that have never been published.
This week we feature a story by illustrator Ann Pickard, originally submitted to us for the How Do You Skate the City contest.
Ann Pickard - The Skateboarding Legends of the Hollywood Riviera
My sister and I ran inside and told our parents. My mom told me to wait while she made some "elbow pads" for me out of tube socks so I would look more "professional".
So while everybody booked it up to the local dead end where they were shooting, I stood there in what my mom would later term "wardrobe", sweating and itching in a rust colored, wool sweater from the Goodwill, a tight pair of Toughskins and tube socks cutting off the circulation at my elbows.
Finally, I got on my sky blue, Hang Ten flexi skateboard and jammed up the street to find the shoot already in progress. Kids were sweeping up dangerous pebbles and watching Chris Chaput show my six and a half year old sister how to do a 360 on her tiny wooden board. Snap, snap, snap went the cameras. This was going to be awesome.
Then the cameras stopped and all eyes turned to me. It must be my bitchin trucks or my Cadillac wheels, I thought.
"Please, can we have you remove those things on your elbows." The author of the book said to me. "But my mom made them. They're elbow p..." "Please. Take them off. We can't have them in the pictures. They're socks." She walked away.
I took them off and felt stupid, but was immediately uplifted when I saw my neighbor, Laura Thornhill skateboarding toward us. She had the longest hair in the world and she was so nice. Laura didn't have any shoes on so they made her go home and get them. She came back with shoes on. They weren't pleased with the fact that she was wearing shorts so they made her go home and put on jeans. I felt like Laura and I were sisters in crime that day. Me with my elbow socks and her with her shoeless, pantlessness infuriating the Man.
We all skateboarded until sundown, cameras recording our skills or lack thereof. We couldn't believe how long it took for a book to be published and when it did come out my mom drove me to the author's house to pick up a signed copy. I was afraid of the elbow pad shunner, but I wanted that book more than anything in the world. I ran up to her door, rang the doorbell, snatched the book, said thanks and dove back into the car.
Skateboards and Skateboarding by Lavada Weir. That's the book. We're all in it... my sister, my brother, me. I have two copies and I take one out every now and then to remind myself that I was small once- and that I looked pretty professional, even without the elbow socks.
Previously on Stories from the Community:
- Sprawsong by poet E. Amato.
- Growing Up in Venice, photography by lifelong resident Mary Jo Braden.
- Santa Claus is Chinese! by exotic food writer Eddie Lin
- Bored Punks in Trouble by media educator Antonio Lopez
- Melrose Ave. by award-winning poet and writer Zosimo Quibilan, Jr.
- I Was the Skateboard Queen by Melinda Lyttle
Do you have a story to share? Tell us here. Visit our community page for more opportunities to share via initiatives and contests.
- A Los Angeles Primer
- Arrival Stories
- Block by Block
- Engaging Spaces
- Green Justice
- I Am Los Angeles