I have been blessed to grow up and continue to live in Armory Park and work in downtown Tucson.
I’m even more grateful to have had the opportunity to share my memories with readers and to receive your positive feedback.
This is my last column for “My Tucson,” and I want to thank you. I wish I’d had more time! Don’t we all?
There are many more stories I’d have liked to share about days gone by, especially those even Rio Dinero’s spending can’t duplicate.
For example, I wanted to share my and other Tucsonans’ experiences in the Tucson Festival Society’s Children’s Costume Parade as part of Las Fiestas de la Placita.
That festival took place during the 1950s in the downtown commercial center that featured El Zarape and other restaurants, Ronquillo’s Bakery and many other businesses.
All were razed, along with a portion of a vibrant residential neighborhood, to make way for the Tucson Convention Center. Thankfully, El Minuto Mexican restaurant survived.
During the 2008 presidential election year, it would have been fun to share my political experiences from the 1970s.
I had a fabulous trip to New York City and the Democratic Convention in 1976 as an alternate delegate for then-congressman and presidential candidate Mo Udall.
It was an incredible opportunity to witness and participate in the building of a party platform. Meeting national elected officials and media celebrities was pretty neat, too.
Also, I would have liked to offer opinions on how to solve the economic crisis. One of my favorites is to give middle-class and low-income taxpayers a $50,000 rebate. We’d then have the money to buy a new car, catch up on mortgage payments, donate to church and charity and buy a few more necessities and maybe some impulse items. Economic crisis solved.
And I would have written a profile of local hero Gerry Verdugo, who, just before Christmas, donated a kidney to Barbara Valenzuela, both parishioners at St. Augustine Cathedral.
Gerry and his family made a courageous decision. Organ donation saves lives. Everyone should consider it.
Most important, with the start of a new year, it’s appropriate to look to the future with hope.
I believe downtown Tucson’s future lies in the hands of the tenacious businesspeople who have invested in my favorite restaurants: Enoteca, Caffe Milano, Casa Vicente, Ascolese’s and Barrio Grill. We need more.
Where are the Whole Foods, Sunflower Markets and Trader Joe’s that downtown residents and workers need and want?
Residents of Armory Park and surrounding neighborhoods want a grocery store and a bakery.
On weekends, I love walking downtown to my favorite restaurants, especially when events are taking place in the neighborhood.
It would be nice to be able to pick up a few groceries on the way home. Maybe my 7-year-old neighbor Marcus (pictured above) will live to see it.
When the economy stabilizes, we’ll all still be here. We’ll have a little less money in our wallets, but we’ll still need groceries. Believe!
Happy new year, Tucson!
Julieta González is a Tucson native, playwright and freelance writer who is active in the community and working for the Catholic Diocese of Tucson. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org