NAT BERHE Text Message

This message flashed across my iPhone screen at 3:05 p.m. on December 2. The sender was my brother, Tam. The street was Waterman Avenue.

As anyone from San Bernardino knows, everything in the “Dino” runs either through or off of Waterman Avenue.

As a child, my mom would take Waterman Avenue to Baseline, to Medical Center Drive to my grandma’s home off Evans Street. I spent most days there while my parents built a non-profit residential care facility for boys from the ground up. We’d play football in the front yard, eat loquats from the loquat tree and watch I Love Lucy and Gilligan’s Island in the den.

 

nat-behre-01Growing up, nearly every aspect of my life ran through Waterman Avenue.

When my grandmother was placed on hospice care in 2006, the decision was made at Saint Bernadine’s Hospital off Waterman Avenue. My first job shredding paper and calling in lunch orders at my parents’ company was off Waterman Avenue. When I went to my senior prom, my suit was tailored at Tello’s Tailors off Waterman Avenue. And when I got tired of bumming rides from my mom and my best friend Eddie, I went down to the Waterman Avenue DMV and got my license. It took me two tries.

People use the phrase “close to home” when a tragedy happens near them. We try to understand that it’s difficult for people living there, but it always feels far away. You don’t truly grasp it until it affects your own community. You don’t understand how real it feels to see the place you’re from endure such pain. San Bernardino is a place where so many of the most important events of my life happened. From eating more Baker’s and In-n-Out burgers than I’d like to admit, to hanging out at the Inland Center Mall as a teenager. This place made me.

Continue reading at: The Players Tribune

Words by: NAT BERHE

Feature Image by: Patrick Edgett

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A GoFundMe has been created on Isaac’s behalf to cover the expenses of his three children currently attending college. You can donate here.