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Home | Episode #72
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May 2018 | Student Producers:

Renee Chavez, Carleen Syth and Eliot Weintraub (An Impact Linda Vista Initiative Story)
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A couple living in Linda Vista for half a decade talk about combatting stereotypes of the neighborhood and continuing its traditions. (12 minutes)
Angela and Ricardo del Rio

Renee: As we get out of the car, we walk up to a big, beautiful house on the corner of the Linda Vista neighborhood. We hear the sound of chimes blowing in the wind and birds chirping as we make our way up their front stairs. It looks like their door is being redone. And as we ring the doorbell, we are welcomed by Angela. As we enter, we noticed the home is immaculate. The pictures on the wall show many generations. We are offered coffee cake and orange juice as we sit down at their dining table. This is home. To some people Linda Vista is seen as just a road, a shortcut to get from point A to point B. A poor community with hard struggles and crime and gangs. But one couple has lived here for over half a century and at every turn in their life has chosen to stay. But I mean, what is it about this place? Why would they stay for so long?

Angela: The funny thing is people usually who never lived here are the ones saying the negative and there are these beautiful views of Linda Vista and they say, I live in this community. I feel safe. And I go out at six o'clock in the morning and I jogged down Linda Vista. I don't feel like someone's going to jump at me and get me. And I feel very safe. And I think people do have an attitude towards people who live in Linda Vista. Oh, you must be poor. Oh, do you rent, are you on social security? I mean, you know, you just have to hang your head up high and be proud of where you came from. And that's one thing I taught my three kids.

Ricardo: I'm Ricardo Porfidio del Rio.

Angela: I'm Angela del Rio.

Ricardo: And we have lived here since 1972.

Renee: It's amazing how powerful experiences can be in shaping perceptions.

Angela: Meeting people for the first time when you tell them, Oh, I'm from Linda Vista and they'll go, Oh, the ghetto. And it's like, what is your perception of Linda Vista? But in Del Mar, Oh, that's a beautiful area, you know? And I've experienced both by living in both. I remember one lady I was saying, Oh, I'm from Linda Vista and she got real concerned. Like really, you have gang problem? You know, right away. Just like you could just see in her body language, it was like, poor me. I live in Linda Vista, but well, you know, I choose that I could move, but I choose it. Why would I give up all my roots, my experiences, the riches of the community, because of people's perception of Linda Vista?

Ricardo: If you don't know, it's easier to form some kind of a negative, but I've never had that kind of an outlook. And so I'm very proud of where I live. I think it's a nice place. Can you be better? Everything could be better. So that's what you work on.

Renee: In the sixties, Linda Vista was ...

Ricardo: A pretty unique community because all of these houses were built for the war project. Ownership was afforded to a wide range of people. And the houses at that were $5,300 perhaps. And it was offered to all of these former people in the military. So that resulted in a very diverse community. 

Renee: Linda Vista is a diverse community and has seen many changes throughout the years.

Angela: I think it has changed because if you notice there's a lot of apartments up. And a lot of these homes are two lots, are four lots, where they can build behind their home. And I, in my own neighborhood, these duplexes have built four unit apartments and that has changed. And so the congestion is of course far more now than it was in the fifties and sixties. And that's one of the biggest changes I have seen is the traffic, the cars. So I see that change. And um, sometimes it's like, Oh my gosh, it's so getting so congested, but my roots are here. And things like that, you just have to overlook.

Ricardo: Linda Vista had always been a transitional community. And then in the 1970s, because of the Vietnam war, there were a lot of refugees. It has always been like waves of immigrants that have come through here. I think that that's a central feature of Linda Vista.

Renee: Ricardo and Angela have witnessed all of the changes that the Linda Vista community has experienced, dating back to the 1950s.

Ricardo: We have lived here since 1972 in this same house. This is where she grew up. This is my in laws house. And so we raised our family here. So we're connected with the university in a lot of different ways. We both grew up in this neighborhood. I would always go to USD and ride my bicycle around. Her father and my father both were longtime parishioners at Holy Family. And there were a lot of fundraising that was going on when the university was being built back in the early 1950s. And so there was a second collection that they would always do to help the university. While I did my undergraduate work at San Diego state, I did graduate work at USD. So there's just a whole history of connections.

Angela: I've been living right here in this house, on this corner since 1953. I grew up here. My parents moved to Del Mar when I was engaged to Ricardo and the house was on the market. So we bought it and it has absolutely worked for us. I have roots here. It's not a house, it's a home. It's where my roots are. We had three children and they went to Holy Family School, which is two, three minutes away. And then they went to the university of San Diego High School, which is five minutes away. So it made sense to stay right where we were. And then from the high school, my three kids went to the University of San Diego. And so there was no reason to move. This was our community.

Ricardo: And let me just add one thing. It's not often in a community that your kids can go from kindergarten through graduate school, within a two mile radius. You know, the community has grown. It's changed. It's a very vibrant community, there's a lot of things that are going on.

Renee: One deeply seeded root that has kept the Del Rios around is the amazing schools and the generations that they witnessed pass through them.

Angela: The elementary school, Holy Family, that my children attend. I was involved as a parent with the school when they first started and I noticed they didn't have a PE program. And so I started volunteering my services to my children's classes, and then the other teachers liked it. And so of course, uh, the dioses decided to hire me as their PE teacher. I worked there for 28 years and the beautiful thing about it is I had three generations, and you can't buy that. And I remember the very first time, a second generation student, it was a little boy, he looked like his father, his name was the same thing, he acted like his father. And every time I saw that, I used to tell myself, this is a blessing to be here and see the next generation. And then I saw the next generation. And for me, what a motivation to teach and be a part of this community. The value of a community, and to be a part of that, you just can't beat it. You just can't beat it.

Renee: It's not often that you find kindergarten through graduate school education within the same community. But unfortunately this is not the case anymore for Linda Vista residents.

Ricardo: It's a sad day though, because Holy Family school is closing down, which is a terrible thing. It's a loss for the community because that school has been there since the parish opened.

Angela: It's very sad, we have something for 70, 80 years working in your community. And all of a sudden it has to shut down.

Renee: In addition to losing the Holy Family Elementary School this year, Ricardo noted that in 2005, Linda Vista had lost their high school as well, leaving Linda Vista without Catholic K through 12 schools. Regardless though, this community still remains strong. Angela is and has always been actively involved in the Linda Vista community. And from that she has established traditions here, which have kept her from moving.

Angela: In fact, up the street, I grew up with a family of 12 children and Halloween was a very big deal in Linda Vista or in our neighborhood. And we all would get together there. Out of the 12 children, there was eight girls. And so Halloween was a big deal. We'd all go trick or treating together. And to this day, my house is probably the most decorated house because it's just how we established it when we were young. And all those eight girls, all left, had children, kept in touch, but to this day, they still come back to the neighborhood to trick or treat. And they don't even live here. But I live here. So we all meet at my house and they hang out. And so we still do Halloween here. So they come back, they come back to the community. That's what's wonderful about it.

Renee: The school, the children, the community, these traditions, all of these make Linda Vista what it is.

Angela: Linda Vista is a community. There are roots here. And I was in Del Mar for a while. I never knew my neighbors. I never saw them because the houses were a little further away from the street. And people went into their homes and you never saw them. Where here, you know, I water grass still a couple times a week. And everybody that goes by, it's like, “Hey, how's it going?” It's going well. Even people, I don't even know we wave and then wave to me. So that's that to me is a community where you live and you're participating in a relationship with other people, you don't even have to know their names. I know them by their car. “Hey, how's it going?”

Renee: People think Linda Vista has a bad reputation, but there are good people doing great things, adding to the richness of this community.

Angela: We do have people out there in the community that are still trying to promote Linda Vista and to save it and to beautify it and change the whole attitude. We have the carnival where everyone comes together.

Renee: Angela is talking about the Linda Vista Multicultural Fair and Parade that has been around for 33 years and was created to showcase and promote the community.

Angela: We have a council that is trying to improve the community. They're not forgetting about the people who grew up here. They're the ones that are on the council.

Renee: One question we asked the Del Rio's is if they ever think about leaving Linda Vista, and this is what they said:

Ricardo: All the time,

Angela: All the time, I would say all the time only because, do we need something different? We're both retired. And I, sometimes I think I'd been here for 63 years. I don't know anything else. Before I pass, should I experience something different? I don't know. But every time I bring it up to my children and grandchildren, you can't leave this. And because we have the roots, it's hard to leave.

Renee: The Linda Vista community has seen a lot of changes since the fifties and sixties when Ricardo and Angela were growing up. But one thing that has stayed the same is a sense of community and roots embedded within this community. 

 

Angela: But it's really hard to pick up. Like I said, it's not like we've lived here for 10, 15 years. It's really hard when you have roots. And the blessing that I really believe that I gave my children was to be in this community and raise them and share my experiences as a little girl, like this little house, my mom made me a quilt and it's the old house that when I was five years old and I'm sitting in the front yard and it's just a little teeny house. And I like to show my grandchildren that when they sleep, I said, that's where, you know, and I tell a story about that. And I know I get really excited, but I'm very lucky to be able to do that in a community. I may not have lived in La Jolla. I have more to offer. I have more experience in what a community is and what my roots are and what I gave my children. For me, it's home. Linda Vista is home.