Plane Crashes and Nostalgia

Doc Searls has a nice round-up on Sunday’s plane crash into the KFI tower in La Mirada. There hasn’t been a lot of media coverage [local or otherwise] on this incident but there’s plenty of reasons why it’s an important incident – which Doc covers.

When I finally heard about the crash, it sort of hit home for me. You see, I’ve spent pretty much all of my existance in La Mirada. It’s always been this insular sort of community that felt claustrophobic at times. A five mile blot on the landscape bordering Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, Buena Park, La Habra, La Palma and Fullerton. Most residents under 30 tell everyone they’re from either Fullerton or Whitter so they don’t have to explain where exactly La Mirada is.

But I digress. As I said, I’ve got sort of a connection to the area…

  • My mom went to Neff High [blocks away from where the tower stood] before it was shut down and the area was turned into an industrial park.
  • Since KFI was cranking out 50,000 watts, anyone in the immediate area could get the station by doing as little as picking up their phone. Our neighbors – who hailed from Missouri – fondly called it their “hold music”.
  • When I was in high school the gearheads would take their cars out to Trojan Way [the drag where Neff used to be] to race. It ended up being a competition between the greasers and the ricers most weekends, but we had fun.
  • When I had my first job [At Knott’s Berry Farm] I got in the habit of running down Trojan Way – mostly because I knew I could get away with doing 80 down it. My car radio could only pick up AM, so there were plenty of nights where I’d get a closing shift and I’d cruise home to KFI. The signal would always be strongest once I pulled onto Firestone and cleared the Nabisco Factory. The smell of snickerdoodles in the air and Art Bell on the radio will always bring me back to 1997.

For the past four years I’ve passed the tower on an almost daily basis while heading into work. My AM radio has been replaced by an iPod, but I sort of took it for granted until it wasn’t there this morning. Since the Nabisco factory is closing down too, that bit of my life feels bare now.

Here’s to hoping they bring the tower back up soon. When they do, I also hope they make it a little safer for airplanes coming into Fullerton Airport.

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