My parents took us on a lot of fun trips when we were young. But what I remember most are the errands to places like K-Mart, Mervyn’s, and Alpha Beta (yes, Alpha Beta).

Buying shoes was always an adventure at K-Mart. I’m not sure why I was asked to “walk around” in shoes that were TIED together with PLASTIC!

“Just do ‘baby steps.’” Really? Thanks, mother. I was about to do lunges.

At least K-Mart sold cherry Icees (basically Slurpees). We always enjoyed those!

Mervyn’s is where we took pictures with Santa, but once the store closed its toy section, we moved to the motherland: Eastridge.

JC Penney’s was my mom’s favorite. And because my brother and I had a tendency to wander off, she once went home to drop-off her purchases, then came back to look for us. (My brother was fine. I cried.)

What we never did was take family walks. I’m not sure why. We lived in a safe neighborhood. No gangs, no thugs, no danger. When your tract is filled with street names like Peanut Brittle, Gumdrop, Bon Bon, Coconut, Taffy, Peppermint, and you attend a school on Sugarplum, it’s pretty hard to be tough.

95148 … Holla!

Today, our kids love taking walks. So we started a gang. We wear colors, and carry hot coffee, but trust me, we’re safe. If you see us, you don’t have to move to the other side of the street.

The Chacon Gang

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