‘Mr. Snazzyshirt’: PC: Eric Beteille, aka ‘Pedestrian Photographer’; November 22, 2008; East Hollywood.

Walking through memory lane, it’s my pleasure to share a bit about the origins of JIMBO TIMES as shown in the picture above. In the picture, to the left of ‘Mr. Snazzyshirt’ lies my mother’s newsstand when it was located right at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica boulevard.

Today it’s located farther east on Santa Monica boulevard, right across the street from East Hollywood’s local Swap Meet. The difference of location might not seem like a major event, but business at my mother’s stand took a substantial loss following the move.

The newsstand at the corner as it’s shown above was simply stronger; it was right in front of the Metro’s 204 and 754 bus stops, where people heavily trafficked the sidewalk, and at a time when more people were still buying newspapers and magazines. This is also known as the antiquated era just before the advent of smartphones took over nearly every aspect of our lives.

Moreover, the stand above was in business before the onset of the Great Recession, which impacted the predominantly working class folks that were my mother’s customers, and of course, mom herself, more than it impacted many other groups of Angelenos.

Of course, back then mom couldn’t predict it all as it’d happen, but she knew she had a good location at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica. She wanted to keep the stand there indefinitely, but had little choice in the matter when L.A. City Inspectors got involved. Only a few months after this photo was taken, the inspectors cited safety concerns for the stand and other issues, and that was it.

Preferring to get on with work rather than fighting the city, then, we broke the stand down and rebuilt it down the block. It’s been there steadily ever since, but the rise of smartphones and their impact on small business like mom’s is still in progress, just as the Great Recession is just residing, if it is in fact residing.

In any case, rain or shine, my mom still opens her newsstand essentially every day of the week on Santa Monica boulevard. I don’t know how she does it, but she just does, and it still works for us, somehow, even if it doesn’t work as much as it once did. At the same time, all the newspapers and magazines I’d nab from the stand over the years would play a pivotal role in shaping my love for the written word. I’d read Kaliman, Condorito, and Memin Pinguin, among other great publications alongside Mama.

Today, with these memories still firmly intact, I know that if my mother could make words work for our family since this photo was taken, then somehow, I can do it for us too in the days and photos that follow.

After all, as noted at the outsetJIMBO TIMES is still for you, Mama.

J.T.

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