When I first got sick in 1980 when I was 19 I got put in a group home. It was in downtown San Jose, a city of about 600,000 people. The rules were pretty lax there in the home. During the day I could come and go as I please.
I went out at night but that’s when the gangs came out and the hookers, homeless people and other unsavory characters took over the streets. I used to have this used bookstore about 7 blocks away that I went to during the day. I would go there and spend an hour or two at a time browsing the books and reading them, occasionally buying a couple.
I would take walks downtown all the time just for something to do. I couldn’t work at that point and I didn’t even really have to clean at the house, I just had my little room which I kept neat and clean but the counselors did most of the tidying up. I had nowhere I had to be, I just had whole days to kill time and do what I want. I went into restaurants occasionally, but rarely.
The University was about 5 blocks away, I went there too and hung out in the student union, watching TV or playing pinball. I did this for a year. I wasn’t really afraid to walk the crowded streets during the day. No one bothered me or gave me a second look. That was my life. Every now and then I hung out with some people my age at the house. One guy had a car and we went places.
I look back at what I did then and I sure wouldn’t do it now. They rebuilt downtown and put in new clubs and trendy restaurants. But that neighborhood was worse back then. Before they cleaned it up in the late eighties it had a bunch of sex shops and adult shops and two X-rated adult theaters. It had hookers and seedy bars.
It’s probably my age but I would be a lot more careful if I went there now. That was a long time ago. The hookers and sex shops have been replaced with Starbucks and drunken college students. IDK, I just grew up in a nice, peaceful town and being in San Jose in the eighties was an eye opener sometimes.