An interview at Pete’s Fish & Chips on South Central Avenue
While doing our fieldwork on the exploration of South Central Avenue, between Elwood and Broadway we stopped at Pete’s Fish & Chips. I met Angelica and Amanda both 18 years old, third generation residents of South Phoenix. Angelica was picking up food to take home, while she waited with her 3-year-old niece and best friend Amanda (they have been friends since Kindergarten) I introduced my classmates and myself to them and asked if they would mind chatting and answering some questions about themselves and their neighborhood. They agreed, once they realized we truly were students simply interested in finding out more about them—with no ulterior motive other than to garner information about South Phoenix and the local residents. They were very excited and happy to talk about themselves, friends, families and their neighborhoods.
We sat outside on the wooden picnic tables at Pete’s Fish and Chips, a local restaurant that has been there since the 50’s. First Angelica said, “this is our Red Lobster. We continued to discuss other local restaurants and she said, “my family owns part of Poncho’s. Have you eaten there? The food is really good!” We exclaimed yes we just ate there for lunch and we agreed it was great! Angelica and Amanda said, “we have all been here, in South Phoenix our entire lives.” We asked her if she was planning to stay in South Phoenix? She said, “oh yes my whole family is here my grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles; I cannot imagine living anywhere else. If I ever need anything they are all around—across the street and around the block. Although, I am planning on going to NAU for college but, I am going to come back home; I love it here.” We asked if the new development south of Baseline and the Rio Salado project were a good thing or bad thing happening in her neighborhood? She said, “ I think it is good because there is just no place to shop anywhere in South Phoenix. We have to drive all the way to Awhatukee if we want to go shopping at Target or any place. There are only two grocery stores—Fry’s at 7th Street and Safeway at 16th Street—and this is a new store. So I think it is good because it will bring more businesses to us.” Amanda just nodded a lot and agreed with Angelica so we started talking to her directly asking her similar questions. She said, “the only bad thing is there is just no place to hang out! If we want to hang out at a club we have to go to Scottsdale or Tempe.” Amanda also said, “the best thing about living here is my family.” They both agreed there is not as much crime as they have seen in the past. We asked them if they worked in the neighborhood? They replied, “we both work at the airport.”
I was so taken by how truly connected they were to their families, friends and community. Having personally grown up in a small town outside of a larger city in Ohio, I could totally relate to the attachment of my family and my neighborhood. I too had all of my family—grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all within walking distance. I miss the connection I felt to my family, small town and local surroundings. I truly hope that the development South of Baseline does not destroy this wonderful neighborhood that Angelica and Amanda live in, long for and love.