Letter to the Editor: Memories of the YMCA

Dear Editor:

I was born in Downey in May of 1955. My earliest memories were of my father, Chester Amidon, involved in the Y, and at the age of 5, I was a full participating member, participating in activities like making Indian Guide vests, stamping leather, wood working, and sports.

My father was the Chief of the Pawnee Tribe, and had a full headdress of feathers and Indian outfit. I remember the tall white house we entered to learn our crafts, and sang songs. I am in a black and white photo with my older brother Ron and my dad in full Indian attire holding shovels at the ground breaking ceremony of the new soon to be built YMCA in I think 1962 or 1963.

We used the small hut beside the Alameda Elementary school for our meetings until the new facility was finished. The new YMCA was everything you could ask for as a gymnasium. I had my school friends with me in our basketball, flag football,and baseball games. We aren't the best team (Angels) but at the sports banquet, we usually received the Good Sportsmanship Award.

We ended up moving from Downey in the winter of 1966, but the lessons learned and memories saved, made me a better parent for my own sons by being involved with all their activities, an I even coached my son's teams.

James Amidon
Downey