First, I want to thank Caroline Millson for her compassionate response, “The Road to Homelessness Isn’t Long,” in the Sept. 9 issue. I am a 66-year-old female on Social Security who temporarily became homeless for reasons I don’t like to share.
I had two options: be homeless in Las Vegas (my final desination) or at the beach. I opted for the beach, mostly for the cooler weather. I arrived from up north in Laguna Beach with little money and food. Thanks, God, for 99 Cent Stores.
Lucky me, I found parking on a street with no restrictions. I couldn’t wait to spend my first day at the beach. How I missed the smell of the ocean. I walked along the beach to the tidepools, breathing deeply. All day I frolicked in water and enjoyed a glorious sunset. In all the years I lived in south county, I had never seen a sunrise or sunset. I was mesmerized. What had I missed.
The first few nights were scary, but it got easier as time went by. In daytime, I can lie down on a mat and rest my eyes. In nighttime, I mostly sit back in my car, listening to the traffic. For the next two and a half months, I spent almost every day at the beach watching children playing, dolphins riding the waves, a movie being filmed, motorcycle riders saluting firefighters on top of firetrucks. Awesome! I talked to tourists from all over the world. I pretended I was just one of them. I never had so much fun in years. I walked around town up and down the hills, which was a challenge. My feet, ankles and legs have swollen from sitting in my car. After watching the sunset each night I took a ride on the trolley. What a blast.
On gloomy days I visited the library and on Sundays the little Catholic church on Park Avenue. I felt free.
There is a lot of sadness in me. I miss my 20 month old granddaughter and my brother and family, who I haven’t seen since 1996 and who I probably won’t see again due to economic circumstance.
Pretty soon I will leave this beautiful place to my final destination, Las Vegas. I saved enough money to hopefully find a cheap, furnished studio to see if I can weather the cold and heat. I hope my car with 120,000 miles won’t break.
So thank you Laguna for providing me with the adventure of a lifetime.
Please, please smell the roses, watch the sunsets instead of complaining about every little thing. You don’t know how lucky you are.
God bless. Ever thankful,
(last name withheld at the author’s request)