April 4, 2019 By Mary Ann McKinney

California Without a Car

Imagine living in California without a car! My college girlfriend and I did it for a year while saving money to make down payments on cars. Jean and I had signed contracts with Chula Vista City School District while still at Arizona State completing our senior year. We wanted to start a new life and where else but California? We barely considered the fact we had no car.

I had never visited Chula Vista and neither had Jean, but Jean’s parents drove her out and helped find an affordable apartment near all the conveniences we would need. I don’t recall how I arrived, but I know the trunk containing kitchenware and linens was shipped and delivered to me. We were excited and a little uneasy at the same time. School wouldn’t start for another week or so, giving us time to settle in as much as possible.

The two-story apartment house was located near the main street in Chula Vista. It was built in the 1920s and contained antiquated but workable plumbing. It was nicely furnished, and an ironing board and vacuum cleaner were available for our use. Being without a car, the location was an ideal situation for us. We were less than a five-minute walk to a small grocery store, a produce shop and butcher shop, each separate but connected physically. There was also a bus stop where we could catch a bus to San Diego.

During the week before school began, we awoke to bright sunshine for a change and decided to walk to my school, which was still being built. We were unaware of the distance involved and that the bright sunshine heralded a Santa Ana condition with temperatures in the 90s that day. Of course, we had no water or hats with us either! All in all, it was a disappointing venture and we were dehydrated and exhausted when we arrived home.

On Monday when our school began with Teachers’ Week and we met the staffs, Jean and I had offers of rides to school from other teachers.

That of course made all the difference as distances to both our schools were substantial. We were treated with kindness and generosity as we began our careers and new lives. The teacher who provided transportation for me later introduced me to her friend, Tom McKinney. My life has never been the same . . . or as good!


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