Before the Wall


From my house on Cambridge Street in North Long Beach, my family and I could hear the cars and trucks zooming down the 710. The vibrations made it feel like an earthquake!

A dozen times or so while lying in my bed at night, I could hear an accident on the freeway. As I always had, I would jump up, throw on some clothes, grab a blanket, and run down the street to the little wire fence alongside the freeway. I would toss the blanket over the fence and then jump over, landing on the other side, then gather up the blanket. Looking down the freeway to make sure that no traffic was coming fast, I would sprint across the lanes to the accident. If the people inside were hurt, I would help them outside and use the blanket to keep them warm until the ambulance came. My job on the “rescue team” was done.

Things changed a lot when they built the block wall right next to the freeway. You can barely hear the freeway now, compared to the way it was. I am not sure if it is because the wall is there or if there are better drivers today, because I don’t hear crashes the way I used to. But all that is just as well, because these days it would be really hard to get over the wall.

Looking over my life, I feel that my parents raised me right and taught me to help others.

I am glad to say that this little Coolidge Triangle is part of my home memories, and I will never forget all of the happy times I spent here in my childhood growing up, and all of the times that I helped on the freeway before the wall.

Story by Clifford Lee Noble
Artwork by Tosh Middledorfe
Published in Book by Authors: North Long Beach Anthology, 2009