I am applying to have the corner of Decatur street and Saratoga Avenue be co-named in honor of my Dad, Melton Charles Walden whom the community knew as "Doc". He was born July 10th 1926 and transitioned on February 21st 2019 at the age of 92.
He started out with a Candy Store back in the 60s, that he named Mike and Keith after his two sons. It later morphed into a take out fast food restaurant, a variety store and video game room and more, over 4 decades and several generations. (I remember we even had one of those old school, wood and glass phone booths. You know the kind Superman made a habit of changing in.) Eventually it simply became known as "DOCS".
It was the only place where could purchase a comic book, womens stockings, Italian ices, chewing tobacco... and a "Doc Burger with Cheese Fries" and other fare we all grew up on...
As some know, it was even featured in the sitcom "Everyone Hates Chris" with the actor Antonio Vargas playing the role of my Dad.
My father later retired from the restaurant and opened up a game room right down the street on Saratoga between Decatur and Banbridge, where many young people hung out to play video games, and adults came to play pool. To this day I get people telling how they miss the Docs Game room. It was more than just a game room; it was a place people came to escape and talk about current events, sports and anything else. It was a true "gathering space" for many in the neighborhood.
My father had a positive impact on the lives of so many people in the community from the 60s to the early 2000s.
Co-naming the corner of where his store was located is a long overdue honor that I feel he truly deserves. Not because he was my father, but he was a "Father" to large part of the community. At time when there were so many kids from growing up without a father in the household, my Dad was a true role model of Black Fatherhood and of Black Entreprenuership as he was one of the few black owned businesses in the neighborhood.
I remember when the Black Out happened back in the 70s, and all the stores on Broadway were being looted, many men in the community actually stood outside the store and told folks "no one was looting Docs". It is one of those things I will never forget.
Your support is greatly appreciated.