In the Neighborhood: George Pennacchio shares memories of growing up in Lynwood

LYNWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Follow along with ABC7's own George Pennacchio as he shares his fond memories of what it was like growing up in the city of Lynwood.

Pennacchio attended Mark Twain Elementary School. His very first best friend was Kurt Benbenek.

"Your main fashion characteristic as a small human child was a vest," Benbenek recalled.

The two remain friends today.

"I do remember you and I did quite a bit together, riding bikes, wandering into bowling alleys," Benbenek said. "I'm positively sure that you and I were dropped off at the Arden Theater. I think we intended to watch 'Gone with the Wind.' I just remember running around the red velvet seats and spilling Coke and throwing popcorn."

Benbenek joined Pennacchio for a tour of their old stomping grounds, which is now clearly focused on long-term education.

"We emphasize the importance of developing goals. Mark Twain stands for college career readiness, preparing our students for the future," said Edward Espino, principal of Mark Twain Elementary School.

Not far away - St Philip Neri, where Pennacchio made his first holy communion.

A trip back to Lynwood certainly would not be complete without visiting Chico's Pizza.

Pennacchio saved his merit certificates for student council, the safety committee and spelling bee finalist.

And then there was his my sports career. Pennacchio played Little League Baseball as a child at Lynwood park.

When it came to hitting, he said he was awful, but he was much better at being a bat boy for his brother Monty's team.

He was also a part of Lynwood Children's Theatre, which is now part of Lynwood's history.

To get a take on Lynwood as it is today, Pennacchio visited JJ's Barbershop - and he got a haircut in the process.

"This is Lynwood, this is us. We got new restaurants around here, new businesses, but everything is still warm. It's still the same Lynwood it's always been," said George Pulido, a barber at JJ's.

Pulido is also a musician.

"Hopefully, my career takes me up one day, and I'll be another pride of Lynwood," he said.
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