Monday, May 08, 2006

The story of a car-dweller

The Los Angeles Times has this article today about a lady who is living in her car for the past 8 years.

From the article:
When a reader in Playa del Rey suggested I track down Sevilla, I thought I'd find yet another L.A. story of hard luck in the shadow of conspicuous riches.

But this one stands out: a great-grandmother who worked her whole life, avoids trips to the doctor because she can't afford the Medicare deductibles and has to sleep with a foot on the brake.

Sevilla is from Long Beach but moved to Chicago with her husband. When the marriage came apart in the late 1960s, she raised her three kids by working as an interior designer. She returned to California in 1989, following two of her children, but found it difficult to get decent pay for honest work. She wondered if her age — mid-50s at the time — was beginning to weigh against her.

A daughter took her in, but the apartment was cramped and Sevilla felt uncomfortable about imposing. When the daughter got married, Sevilla packed her bags, determined to make it on her own and confident that she would.

"It's my responsibility to take care of myself," she said, but that was easier said than done. She found part-time jobs, but with a developing heart condition, she couldn't be on her feet for more than a few hours at a time.

For a while, she ended up sacked out at her son's place in Irvine. But he had been in a terrible car accident, suffered brain damage and felt horribly depressed about the burden he'd become.

On Christmas Eve in 1998, Sevilla asked him to accompany her to church, but he wasn't feeling up to it. The next day, he went off by himself, put a gun to his head and took his life. He was 40.

That's when Sevilla found herself living in the car, wounded, distraught, scared.

So, what does she do? She works as a part-time receptionist at a local paper, making $10 an hour.

After she gets off work, Sevilla motors over to the El Segundo Public Library on Main Street to work on her drawings. Employees and patrons were so impressed, they began bringing in photos for her to sketch, and she's good enough to command $60 for a print. For an additional $20, she'll make 12 postcards on handsome stock, using her laptop as a print shop.

A moving story, I wonder if I can do something for her [I am sure this woman will not accept donations, and I do not have enough for $60 paintings. Maybe I should track her down and become her computer-repairman :-).

Kudos to Steve Lopez for covering these stories of real life fighters!

1 comment:

  1. Nice one! of it reminds me of some movies 'Terminal', 'Trial and Error' ... though 'Birdman of Alcatraz' is much more inspiring :-).