I started skateboarding when I was 11 years old. It has been a large and influential part of my life for the past 8 years. There were always a few kids in the neighborhood that I would skate and become friends with. We would usually skate in the street in front of one of our houses. There were also certain "skate spots" in the neighborhood that we would go to and skateboard at. The most common spot was a parking lot on the side of a tobacco store called "TOBACCO" that was about a mile from my house. So, we would always refer to this spot as Tobacco.
Here is an image of Tobacco from Google Earth, since I unfortunately don't have a picture of it.
During the summers of junior high, my friends and I would skate up to Tobacco almost everyday. We would go up there mainy to skate, but we would also hang out, eat food from Walgreens, and go mess around inside Rainbow Foods. these two stores were in the same lot as Tobacco.
The Genius Loci of Tobacco is all about childhood and friendship. It's about growing up with friends and having fun. It's about spending countless summer days on a skateboard with no responsibilities or worries. This place meant so much to me and still does. When I go back there, I can feel it. I can feel the meaning of it. The memories start to come back, but not all of them, not even close. There are too many to remember. I do remember what this place was to me, though. It was skateboarding. It was friends. It was innocence. It was happiness. It was pride. It was home.