By Beryl Forman
Growing up in the 1970’s in Tijuana, Linda Caballero Sotelo explained that “our mind set was that we had the best of both worlds.” Almost everyone moved freely through the border to accomplish their daily activities. For groceries, people from Tijuana preferred to shop locally for their meat, produce, cheese, and tortillas, but would cross regularly for bread, canned items, ice cream, novelty goods, and to do large loads of laundry. She recalls a childhood activity of going to Bonita on Tuesday nights for $1 movies. This bi-national lifestyle is inherent to many who grew up close to the border.
While it is evident that this way of life is no longer as flexible, Linda believes that San Ysidro, adjacent to the Mexican border, has never greatly benefited from this cross border lifestyle. Linda consults and works for Casa Familiar, a neighborhood based community development, social service agency in San Ysidro. From the perspective of someone who grew up in Tijuana, Linda describes San Ysidro as a pass through area, a place to exchange money, run last minute errands, fill up the car with gasoline, but not a place to spend leisure or otherwise valuable time.