In 1989, the Earth trembled, skies poured, killer winds howled, tankers spilled and revolutions swept the globe. In Los Angeles, gang violence claimed yet more victims and traffic seemed to grow ever worse. Still, amid the tide of oft-tragic happenings, small rays of hope keep shining through. Here are a few of many stories worth sharing on a day of feasting, family and friends. They're enough to remind that it's still worth saying: "Oh, Thank Goodness."
There were times when teen-ager Angelique Paige didn't think she'd ever have a decent place to sleep, let alone an apartment of her own, a car and a college degree.
But it's all beginning to happen.
Paige says this is the first Thanksgiving she can finally see the pieces of her life falling into place, and she wants to "keep the momentum going."
Paige, 19, has relied on herself ever since she can remember. She will not discuss her life before age 12, when the Department of Children's Services removed her from her family "for my own protection."
After years in foster care, Paige says, "I decided to build my own life, to become fully independent. I wanted to try it by myself and see how much I could accomplish."
But she had no one to show her \o7 how \f7 to accomplish--until she heard about the Independent Living Program, a federally funded program for teen-agers 16 and older, who want to be emancipated and live on their own.
"I went through the program, which teaches things like employability, choices and consequences, how to budget, and how to take care of yourself the right way," Paige says.
She obviously learned a lot. After graduating from Lynwood High School, she went on this year to West Los Angeles College, where her major is criminal justice administration.
She also achieved some other major goals for which she is thankful this year. She got four wheels, a brand-new apartment and two part-time jobs that let her pay for both.
Still, it's not an easy life. In fact, Paige has no time for even the simplest diversions most young women her age enjoy. Like phone calls, clothes shopping, or just kicking back on the weekend.
"I'm always rushing to a job, to school, or trying to study," she says. "But I'm really thankful I have a place to live, two semesters of college under my belt and I'm paying my own bills."