I grew up in the Riverside area of Fort Worth, just west of downtown. In the 60’s and 70’s growing up in Riverside was sort of like growing up in a small town. At the post office, gas station, grocery store, hardware store, or just about any where, people knew who your were.
We even had a movie theater on the corner of Belknap and Riverside Drive. Its just a vague memory. My dad took my sister and me there to see “Batman and Robin”. They tore that down and built a 7-11 store. The names of the guys at the Mobil station are long gone from my mind. But I remember them sitting outside in chairs and passing the time of day with my dad. They bragged on my Camero when I got it.
There was the Rexall Drugstore on Sylvania. That’s where all our prescriptions were filled. Plus they had a fountain and made a pretty good hamburger. We didn’t drive across town to the doctor. We used Dr. Barber up on Race Street. I remember the Foremost milk man use to bring us our milk in his orange truck. If we were having a good week my mom would put a note in the bottle and ask for ice cream. I remember sitting on the front porch with my sister enjoying a bottle of coke. We didn’t get them often. They were a treat when we did, so we took our time.
As we got older, if we wanted candy or soda we could walk just about any where we wanted to get it. There was the Melody Shop on Race Street, we would walk there and buy 45 records. That’s were I got most of my Donnie Osmond records.
It was a pleasant area to spend your childhood. Like anything, time takes it toll. For years after leaving I was always a little sad to drive through Riverside. It wasn’t anything like I remembered. Stores and buildings boarded up. Houses in disrepair. At one time there was a motorcycle gang that lived across the street from my mom. They drove their motorcycles into the house and I believe sold drugs. I remember the lady who once lived there, Mrs. Whitty. She was sweet and friendly and would not appreciate her house being treated in this manner. Finally it was sold and is no longer a rent house. Granted its painted bright yellow and has banana trees planted in the yard. But they are good neighbors and my mom says the house is a happy color. She’s still content in her little house in Riverside. That’s where her memories are she says.
Now when I visit Riverside things look like they are on the upswing. New businesses are opening up. If I want to take my mom to eat, we don’t have to go far. There are wonderful restaurants right there within walking distance.
If you venture as far as Beach Street, you’ve gone to far. There the craziness is. The traffic, Walmart, and all the fast food places. But if you stay right there in that area between Belknap, Sylvania, Riverside, 28th Street, and just before Beach Street its nice, pleasant almost.
As I get older I sometimes think moving back to Riverside really wouldn’t be a bad idea.