Why I Long for El Swapmeet de la Alameda

The South L.A. Market Once Connected My Family to Mexico; Now It's a Memory of the City We Fled

I miss el Swapmeet de la Alameda, on East 45th Street where South Los Angeles meets the city of Vernon.

I miss how the smell of churros—cinnamon, brown sugar, and baked dough—used to make my mouth water as we passed by the lady who sold them three for a dollar. I loved how the Spanish music mixed with the booming sounds of voices speaking more Spanish deep in my eardrums. My eyes were often captivated by colorful piñatas hanging from the ceiling, and by the rows and rows of Mexican candy—Masapan …