To answer the question of what newspapers I turn to for information, I have to take you back to where it all started. It was at my Italian grandparents modest three-bedroom one bathroom house, in Culver City that I had my first experience with a newspaper. I was no more then five years old but the vivid image of Grandma, Grandpa, the Los Angeles Times and I crammed into that small shoe-box of a kitchen became imprinted in my mind. There was Grandma wearing her sauce-stained apron doing what she always did, slaving over a huge pot of sauce, making meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, salad and garlic bread for the three of us, while Grandpa, sat at one of those round bistro tables that Italian restaurants place outside, eating sardines out of the can, drinking a Budweiser and of course reading his LA Times. The only problem is, I

The actually chair that accompanied the bistro kitchen table. It now resides in my apartment.

don’t remember him doing much reading because he and grandma were yelling at each the whole time. And if any of you have full-blooded Italian grandparents you know what I mean when I say fighting was their favorite thing to do. The fights would usually go something like this: “Godddamit Rose! I told you to take care of that parking ticket.” Grandma would angrily reply, “Bill, stop making your grandson Chris feel uncomfortable, he doesn’t want to hear an old man yell at his wife. Why don’t you go fly a kite.” Grandpa would grumble a few words under his breath, finish his beer, sardines and walk off upset with the newspaper tucked under his arm. To be honest, I really didn’t’ care. For me, I loved being in that house with the smell of slow cooked sauce and roasting peppers. It was my own personal Italian deli and I loved it.

Then in the evenings, after we ate, grandpa would sit down with his newspaper in one of the family rooms two matching soft brown chairs—to not only read but also to listen to the one and only Chick Hearn. In between those two chairs was a small table with a radio on it. I would lie on the floor at grandpa’s feet listening to Chicky’s play by play of Magic and the rest of the “Showtime” crew, as I fell asleep. These were my first memories of newspapers.

As a history major I tend to break things down into historical sections. When it comes to my relationship with newspapers there are two eras. The first, which ended sometime around 2008 when my financial situation became really dire, can be called the hard copy era. The second era, could be defined as hard copy romanticism but more on the romanticism later.

Unfortunately, after those great times at my grandparents my relationship with newspapers became, for the most part, non-existence. I never touched a newspaper except for using them to start bonfires at the beach to keep my buddies and I warm while we slammed beers. It wasn’t until my once promising football career came to an abrupt end at Saddleback Junior College that I started to take my education serious and my relationship with newspapers began to grow…

Christ, I wrote this initial post last week and after reading Professor Arellano’s email today I realized the question should have been how I receive the news not what newspapers I read. Anyways, I will attempt to bring it all together with my next post but it’s late and I got few cold ones to drink in celebration of my first blog. Cheers.

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About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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