Archive | 11:29 PM

La Vecindad, Duct Tape, and Our Own Water Slide

23 May

The heat. It brings out the humidity in your hair, the sweat from your pores, and the inflatable pool your kid has been asking about. Well, that is unless you have a house with a regular pool and aren’t a starving writer like myself.

In any case it’s pool time, and while I was filling up the pool with hot air I started thinking about my own inflatable pool growing up. Yeah the nonexistent one. My parents believed in the beach or your bathtub. No in between. But luckily I lived in La Vecindad.

Photo via

La Vecindad  was a Latino populated nine unit building in the inner city. A community — an extended family of sorts — where everyone knew everyone, and if you had a family disagreement all the families knew about it. Thin walls. We were joined together through the good, the bad, and the ugly. But we enjoyed our stay there, because when it came to the summer the kid with the giant inflatable pool, which was usually Marisolita, always shared. It was the La Vecindad code.

One year someone got a Slip-N-Slide, but we soon realized that Slip-N-Slides and concrete patios aren’t a good combination. So we stuck with the pool.

It was always a team effort to blow that thing up and make sure there were no holes. If there were we’d find a solution — Vecindad Style. Ahhhh. The magic of duct tape. That swimming pool must’ve had at least four patches, but we loved it. It was our own upscale getaway, and if it happened to leak we always had more tape.

It would get filled with massive gallons of water and we would splash and swim around pretending we were Aquaman, have relay races and swim like we were Michael Phelps, then play volleyball with our makeshift net — duct tape also involved the creation of this sporting equipment. We were resourceful inner city kids.

But one of the best parts was the end — when we let the water out. We’d all position ourselves at the top of the stairs, give someone the signal with our pruney hands and whoosh! Niagara Falls in La Vecindad.  Gallons upon gallons of water creating mini tidal waves that allowed us to “slide” down the 24 steps and race back up for another run. We didn’t care whether there was dirt, insects, gum, or Budweiser residue on the patio floors and steps, we were sliding down those steps. And it was awesome. 

I loved our little Raging Waters experience. 

So as my son was done swimming and splashing around, I tried to replicate the same childhood moment, but seeing how we didn’t have 24 steps,  it wasn’t the same. However he still had a good time slipping and sliding … him and his Batman figurines.