In my last post you read a little about our journey from Minnesota to Santa Monica. In this post you will read about my one-day job in La Jolla, California and the awful irony of looking young and attractive yet being homeless.
On the way to Ventura, we stopped at Mission Beach to see if we could find work. Our plan – if you could call it that – was to look up one of Priscilla’s friends from Minnesota, spend a day or two (which was all we could afford) making some calls and try to get jobs. Priscilla had a knack for scoring waitress gigs. But even she flamed out.
La Jolla Light – Paste-up Artist
I actually secured an interview for a job with a local newspaper – I think it was The La Jolla Light – and began work the next day as a “Paste-up Artist”. I had fudged my credentials and found myself composing the layout of an editorial page, which of course I knew nothing about. Here at the age of 23, I had the ability to get people to like and trust me and consequently talked myself into some things – some of which appear in this book – that, shall we say, became increasingly uncomfortable.
Here is a link that discusses the relocation of the newspaper company in the present day:
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/Mar 21, 2013
“However, the building has not been added to the list of local historic sites according to the La Jolla Light. Such listings are important for those in the community who want to preserve the 78-year-old building and a mural inside the post office the paper reported.”
I only lasted a day as a Paste-up Artist.
To be perfectly clear, were it not for the attention Priscilla was attracting, and the help people were willing to give her, we would have been homeless far more nights than we were. I can recall sleeping under the pier at Mission Beach one or two nights.
Homeless and Sleeping Under the Pier
The worst part about being homeless, is not so much where you have to sleep. The worst is wandering around before dark and coming to the realization that no one is going to help you, no matter how sharp your girl friend looks.
The brooding and soulful sounds of the wind and surf that soothed and transformed our moods during daylight, sent cold shudders through us at night. I dreaded those nights on Mission Beach, with no place to sleep.
Uneducated and Homeless but Extremely Tan and Fit
I was beginning to have recurring thoughts and a smoldering resentment about how things had gone so wrong for us and so well for others. Daylight brought new hope. By this time Priscilla and I were tanned and fit from our swims and beach walks. Priscilla was attracting attention like crazy. In conversations with people we would meet, our little story was probably amusing. But I was getting a sense that merely being young and attractive was going to fall short of the mark, when it came time to find meaningful work here in California.
I could see how others our age were driving expensive cars and seemed more grounded. And I found myself resentful. I could see that unless I made some major changes in my life, I had no chance of being the guy driving that expensive new car to a job I loved.
My First Serious Personal Vow
We didn’t start out with much cash, and it was being rapidly depleted. I knew we’d have to find jobs soon and wondered, with our education, for which jobs we might even qualify. The unvarnished reality of our situation was starting to set in. I promised myself, if given another opportunity to go back to school, I would make the most of it.
Have you ever been homeless?
Next: Working in the Oil Fields and Felling Tall Trees