Mojave

Illustration by Doug Davis

Crossing the Border

By Lee Goldstein

It was 1950, and I had never been in trouble with the po­lice until this year (except for when I was 9 and threw a clump of mud at a shiny black car which turned out to be a plain-clothes cop car). Yet in the next month or two, I would be fleeing from the California Highway Patrol with two ladies who were on the lam with me.

My dad had just read a Life Magazine story about an amazing university in Cali­fornia that was encouraging wheelchair-user enrollments, one of the first universities in the nation to do so. The ar­ticle explained that there were curb ramps, classes which could be moved downstairs, and even elevators in some newer buildings on campus. UCLA’s resolve to provide op­portunity to wheelchair us­ers, particularly vets who had served in WWII, put it at the forefront of disability aware­ness. And Southern Califor­nia had perfect weather for such an undertaking.

I was 18, a partial quad­riplegic from a diving acci­dent, and a new high school graduate from the small tow