“Grandpa, how are you and Grams”? “Where good, Mija, but I need your help; your Grandma’s Tesla has a flat, and the dam thing has no spare; what idiot would make a car with no spare tire?” “A man,” say’s Lydia.
“Hilarious smart ass, you’re just like your Grandma.” “So Grandma took my ride to her sister’s.” “You let Grandma take the Crystal Palace”? “There was no let in that conversation; sweetie, Grandma does what she needs to, and I support whatever she needs.”
“Can you pick me up and take me to a couple of places”? “Sure, Grandpa, give me 30 minutes”. “Do you want something from Starbucks”? “Sure, maybe a Chia tea.” “Ok.”
Lydia loved her Grandfather; he taught her that whatever she desired, she could have; he would say, “Lydia, you are blessed with all things you need to be successful.” “The most important one is that you have an intelligent brain and are beautiful like your Grandma.” “You think for yourself,”; he would tell her. “Don’t be the sheep in the crowd, be the fox on the other side, thinking about what decision is best for both sides when possible because sometimes you will have to make one-sided decisions, which are the tough ones.”
The drive to her Grandparent’s house was a short one down Highland street in National City, California. Unfortunately, there is still a ban on cruising, so whenever she visited, she drove down Highland Street to make a point. A law prohibiting’ s someone’s freedom to drive one’s car when and where they wanted to was so ridiculous to her.
She had been ticketed several times going to her Grandparent’s house, and she got her car towed twice for arguing with the cops. However, Lydia was very strong-minded, so when she felt something was wrong, she spoke her mind and never backed down from a fight.
When she pulled up to the house, her Grandfather was standing outside waiting for her. “Grandpa, you didn’t have to wait outside for me.” “I did not wait outside for you; it’s for this beautiful lady right here,” he says as he grabs the door handle of Lydia’s purple and white Lowrider. Lydia got money for college, but instead of using it for college, she built her Lowrider she calls sassy.
She had a job since she was 14 at her Grandpa’s gas station. She spent hundreds of hours working on cars with her Grandfather. Then, finally, she saved up enough to pay for college herself. Plus, she did not want to rely on anyone else to get her to school on time. Lydia knew what she wanted and how long it would take her to get it. Except for love, the one thing she’s been thinking about most.
She desires to have a long loving marriage like her Grandparents, who have been together since they were fifteen years old. Her parents had separated when she was young, and she spent a lot of time with her Grandparents while her mom worked two jobs to support them. Lydia was an only child.
When they pulled out onto the street, her Grandfather said, “I know you want to go down Highland St, but can we avoid the cops today, Lydia?” “Sure, Grandpa,” she says. “I know it drives both of us crazy that we can’t even drive our Lowriders down a street a block from my house, but the law is the law.” “It’s a stupid and racist law.” Says Lydia.
“I know, Mija, but just because something is unjust does not mean it’s racist; remember, it affects many people in California, like your Godfather Michael, who is not a Chicano.” “He was involved, along with many others who loved cruising as much as we do.” “Plus, he will tell you the same thing I told you; we caused a lot of trouble back then.”
“We caused many problems for the merchants along Tully Rd and El Camino Real in San Jose, along with the problems we caused on Highland st.” “So we have to take some of the blame.” “Remember the story I told you about your Godfather when I met him?” “He was my boss at work, and I thought he was a racist because he was white.”
“But after getting to know him, I realized I was causing myself to be held back at work, not him.” “What made you realize you were the problem”? “Well, his wife came to work for one.” “I get it; she’s black, so I can see why you would change your thinking.” Says Lydia.
“What else.” “I asked Michael if he would ever make me a dealership manager.” “He said if I would lose the chip on my shoulder, blaming everything under the sun for my problems and take accountability for where I am in life.” “I have not told you I had a nasty drinking problem.” “He offered me an apprenticeship if I would stop drinking, and he would pay me while I was in rehab to get sober.” “Wow, Grandpa, I did not know you used to drink?”
“It saved my marriage and taught me how to operate a business.” “So that’s how I bought the gas station you work at; it gives us a very comfortable life.” “So Mija, remember, Im not saying it was not racist or it was because I did not know the people who decided to outlaw crushing.”
“Even if everyone was white who decided to outlaw cruising does not mean they are racist.” “When people do things that cause others big problems, a solution must be found, or the issues could worsen.”
“Remember, Mija, when you have problems with your life, you could be the problem.” “I get it.” “Can we listen to some music?” “Sure, Mija.”
On the way home, Lydia thought about what her Grandfather had told her. It’s easy to blame others when you feel everyone is against you, but taking the time to look at yourself can be challenging to take responsibility for your problems. So, when Lydia had a problem, she would gather her feelings and look inward to challenge her thinking to see where the problem might be coming from.
“Grandpa where home.” Her Grandfather said nothing; he had passed away on the way home. Lydia was devasted, but something peaceful came over her. She remembered a conversation they had while working on cars together. He told her, “Mija, When I die, I hope it’s in a lowrider.”
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