Pomona = PROUD by Rev. Roxanne K. Cottell
Stranger things have happened than just that I have pretty much changed my stance on this town we all live in, work in, communicate with each other in. Hi...Iʻm Roxanne. I am your neighbor here. Perhaps you have read some of my rambling blogs, or have even purchased one of my books. Maybe we are schoolmates – whoever you are in my life, hello. If you and I are just meeting through this writing, hi.
Again, I am your neighbor. My name is Roxanne.
I wanted to write this, specifically for Pomona Proud, as it was the first one in this town to have given me the chance to write something – anything – for it, but at that time, I was in the middle of a hell that was not of my own making. I was in the middle of something that no one who has not been there or through it can begin to understand – Domestic Abuse. It wasnʻt something that I was not familiar with, given that for a very long time in my life, it was the only truth I knew about marriage, about my being married, about men, about women, but mostly, about my very self. The thing about being someone elseʻs victim is that until you have chosen to not be that anymore, and until you have decided for yourself that you are not going to deal with evil people anymore, and until you have changed your thoughts, even as you might not be able to change your address right away – nothing is going to change.
Everything, you see, begins with a thought. Thoughts are things, we are told, and thoughts are what have created this world with, and what the hell are we thinking? Have you seen this world of late? We have guys in DC thinking that they can get away with whatever they want to, but we know that the world does not work that way, and we know, too, that no matter what – all bad things, just like good things, must end.
The bad thing that needed to end for me was the idea that I would not love this town as much as I have come to. I used to look forward to moving away from here, but the truth is that I donʻt think that I could love a town more than I love right here, Pomona, Ca. I know, it is not that pretty here but, remember – we are like the rock n roll neighbor to our more...affluent ones to the North and East. Where their downtowns have boutiques and everyoneʻs grandma wants to have brunch there. Downtown Pomona is the rock and roll equivalent of those places. Where other cities have boutiques, Pomona has record shops, tattoo parlors, and there is this really great school there called The School of Arts and Enterprise (where my only daughter, her boyfriend and all her high school pals graduated out of high school from and where her little brother now attends the middle school). Where those other places have ice cream shops and health food stores, Pomona has two concert halls, LGBT clubs, sports bars and eateries....and the fish market is the best place for seafood ANYWHERE.
I suppose that I am trying to tell anyone reading this that, before you discount this place, and before you decide to not let it be anything other than the darling of FOX televisionʻs COPS, give her a chance. Yeah there are homeless people here, and of course there is crime, but find me a town that doesnʻt have that in it. Just because you do not hear about the crime it does not mean it doesnʻt exist, meaning that other towns have just as many issues as we do, just in a different zip code and different crimes- ask any cop...they will agree with me in that crime is crime.
These other places are the reason why it is that we have chosen to no longer care what they think – why should we bother with prim and proper when what we are is rockinʻ and rollinʻ? Why should we have tea and violins and beautiful tinkling piano music when what we have are live rock bands, beer and pizza, and people...really really beautiful cultural people...that is our town – an actual melting pot. It might not have all of those...pretty boutiques...but it doesnʻt have to. It is Pomona, the rockinest place on the planet....I mean – our downtown has two concert halls -tell me Iʻm wrong. Go ahead. I will laugh at you and that notion and invite you to please excuse yourself to one of those more...aesthetically pleasing towns...the ones that hide behind the veneer of pastel colors, health food restaurants, and sometimes people with their noses up in the air. If that is what you are all about, then go there – we are having way too much fun here for you guys to wreck our party.
Go have tea. We like beer (and we have a craft beer joint right here at CPP). The one thing that this town has, that none of those other ones have in comparison, is a heart and soul.
No one can convince me that the people who live here are not as ...awesomely bad-ass...as anything, or anyone, or anyplace else. You will not make me believe that. I have been here long enough to watch a whole lot of kids graduate out of high school, go on to college, and some of them attend with me at MtSac. I have been here long enough to have created friendships with many of the merchants and many of the people and hell yes – some of the homeless folks, as well. The bottom line truth is that as hard-scrabble as we are here, and as much as a whole lot of us complain about how things are in this town, no one will convince me that living here is as bad as the world wants us to believe it is.
The world cannot convince me of a whole lot. You must understand that I am one of those people who believes in the Ether world, where there is the possibility of living with one foot on each side of the veil of consciousness, and by that alone, I am telling you, each and all, to not give up on your town. I do not listen to the world. I listen to my heart, my soul, and I listen intently because neither of those two things about me are ever wrong. They might have been off a bit every now and then, but isnʻt this the same for us all?
SO, I guess that I am trying to say that the next time someone asks you where you live, tell them with a big smile, metal horns up, for this place that you call home. The next time someone tells you that this place ainʻt that great, remind them that it is true, that it doesnʻt hide behind what it isnʻt, but prefers to be what it is, what we are, and what we are is a group of citizens who do not see this place as anything more than needing attention in some places, and in need of its own citizens to breathe some love back into it. Rather than disdain the homeless, help them – get them to a shelter, the rehab, or call the police. Do something other than complain about it. You would want someone to do that for you. Perhaps if they were given some sort of thought in their heads that anyone at all sees them as humans instead of the useless heaps of trash pushing carts down Holt might give them a reason to remember who they are, because that is really what we are dealing with when we are talking about this town.
The next time that anyone tells you that this place is no good, that drop outs and dope fiends are the only people who live here, let them know that we have several different institutions of higher education within our townʻs borders, and hell yeah I am one of those people called a student at MtSac. Not only that, I was fortunate enough to have received a scholarship from one of the most beloved grocery chains in California – Cardenas Markets, LLC. The coolest part is that I actually shop there. I was very excited to go and tell Francisco and all the friends who I have made there over the years, that I was one of the people who was given that scholarship. It was almost required of me, by right of the demand of my soul and knowing that I actually love that store and its employees....they needed to be thanked.
There is Sammy at Mundo Smoke, and Fat Boy on Temple and Valley. There is the ramen place, the Subway and no one can forget where I go to have my eyebrows ripped out of my forehead every few weeks by the lovely Cindy and crew. The next time that anyone hears about the bad things that go on here, remember the good things, and remember too that we are all here, all in this place that we disdain at the same time that we love it.
You are here in this town ...be proud....be Pomona Proud.