Every city has special characteristics that only their residents will recognize. Whether it’s a specific fast food joint or a certain pose arising every time the camera comes out, these small traits are what make your hometown unique. Here are 15 signs you grew up in Hayward Cali.
1. This Headline Got You Excited
No one ever writes about us! Whenever you see a Facebook group or article with Hayward in the title, you automatically click on it. Although it is not the most well-known city in California, you are always a little overjoyed when it is mentioned anywhere online. You grew up in this little city and want it to be showcased to the world! This is one of the signs you grew up in Hayward Cali!
2. Mac Dre And E-40 Are Music Staples
Whether you’re at a house party or just cruising downtown, you know you grew up in Hayward whenever one of these jams comes up on your Spotify. You remember listening to Feelin Myself at middle school dances and having your young mind absolutely blown when Tell Me When To Go came out. These two take you back to a simpler time when you could just thizz dance and call it a day.
3. Parks Were Legitimate Hang Out Spots
From PC Park to Mt. Eden Park and everywhere in between, getting nostalgic whenever you see a basketball court is a sign you grew up in Hayward. Maybe you played on the courts or just discussed life on the swings with your friends, either way it was always a good time. Sure, there were some sketchy folks nearby, but you just focused on the low budget hangout with your friends. This is one of the signs you grew up in Hayward Cali!
4. You Played Or Watched Your Siblings in PAL
Some of your best memories growing up in Hayward were watching your siblings play PAL baseball in their multicolored shirts at Weekes Park. Getting overpriced nachos or Big League Chew at the snack bar and having the best time even if their team lost. If it wasn’t baseball, you remember watching PAL basketball inside small sweaty gyms and constantly hearing the whistle blow. The ultimate sign you grew up in Hayward is if you still have your PAL shirt!
5. High School Brought People Together
Most of the time these were positive interactions, but this also proved just how small Hayward was. It seemed like Mt. Eden, Tennyson, Moreau, and Hayward High were the only schools in the entire world. You had friends at other schools because most of the time you were only an overpass away from each other. A sign you grew up in Hayward is if you graduated from one of these schools and still revel in those coveted yearbooks. This is one of the signs you grew up in Hayward Cali!
6. The Dances Divide
This mainly applies to the King vs. Ochoa debate that will never seem to have a clear winner. King students had daytime dances while Ochoa had night-time dances. There was much discussion over who had the better middle school dances, but you can look back now and laugh at how ridiculous this all was.
7. Two Sides Of The Same Coin
Growing up in Hayward, attending King or Ochoa also dictated where you went afterschool. Ochoa kids would go to Burger King or hangout at the park in front of the school while King students would frequent McDonald’s. Whenever these paths crossed, an altercation was bound to occur as if anyone really owned any of these establishments. You know you grew up in Hayward if you remember walking what seemed like 50 miles to witness these events as a 13-year old. This is one of the signs you grew up in Hayward Cali!
8. Church Festivals
You know you grew up in Hayward if you remember going to a festival at St. Bede or even being there on Halloween. Dressed up in costume as you played games indoors to win candy because it was safer this way. Since you were young and at an age where you couldn’t drive anywhere, the church festival gave you an opportunity to interact with your friends and meet other people.
9. Haunted Houses
One of the signs you grew up in Hayward is if you remember the specific families who were really into haunted houses. You would see them setting up ghosts on their lawn weeks before Halloween and there would be lines down the block to enter on the big night. If you were like me, you probably walked by it in costume never entering because of the spooky flashing lights! This is one of the signs you grew up in Hayward Cali!
10. Firework Shows
Another holiday where Hayward showed its true colors. Despite it being illegal, certain families made an extra effort to put on a firework show for the entire neighborhood. Booms that set off car alarms, running down blocks to get there in time, and waving sparklers around as you marveled at the sky is a sign you grew up in Hayward.
11. Chabot Flea Market
As with the San Jose Flea Market, the flea market at Chabot is a Hayward tradition. Whether you are driving past the college or setting up to sell at what feels like the crack of dawn, you always feel the flea market’s influence. Taking a Saturday out to browse or help your family sell some items has been a reality for a lot of Hayward residents.
12. Southland Shopping
If you grew up in Hayward, you have probably witnessed Southland Mall at many different stages. From the hangout spot with endless stores to the empty mass it has become, you have shopped here at least once. Maybe you stop at one store now strictly to buy Christmas gifts or to work out at Planet Fitness, but Southland is a part of your life in some shape or form.
13. The Carnival
When the JC Penney parking lot transformed into a wonderland complete with a Ferris Wheel visible from the freeway. Most of the time you never knew when the carnival was coming but you would spot it on the ride home and beg your parents to make a trip there. If you grew up in Hayward you remember the rides on the Scrambler, the Zipper, and spending $10 on a stuffed bear.
14. Zucchini Festival
A Hayward staple to this day, the Zucchini festival is a family outing everyone in Hayward has experienced. Sweating at Kennedy Park to try things like zucchini popcorn and zucchini cake while browsing crafts by locals. It was something you looked forward to every summer because it was an outdoor event and you could try some cool food!
15. Family Is Everything
In Hayward, there is nothing more important than family. It is a small city where everyone knows everyone and if you grew up here, you hold that close to your heart. You like to come back and visit your family members or maybe you still reside here in the same house your mom grew up in. Whatever the case may be, growing up in Hayward taught you to value your family because they are one of the few constants in your life.
No matter which part you grew up in, I hope Hayward has touched you in some way! Which of these signs that you grew up in Hayward Cali did you relate to? Let us know below.
Featured Image: weheartit
Rebecca was born in Hayward, CA and still resides there today. She received her BA in English Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is the first in her family to graduate from university. She is a Poetry student in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California and is furthering her involvement in the literary community. In her spare time, she likes to lose her voice at Giants games, read Young Adult novels, make lists, and aims to cross become a writer off it.