(Editor’s Note: Adrian Florido and Sam Hodgson are getting to know a different San Diego neighborhood daily.)

When Janice Eisner and her husband Blaze married, they’d planned not to have any children. But the couple was religious, and there it was, in the Bible, in plain writing. (“Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”)

They did not want to offend the Lord.

So they had 10. Rachel, Jesse, Colin, Diana, Julie, Aaron, Micah, Blaze, Olivia and Patrick.

She’d wanted 12 because her favorite childhood movie was “Cheaper by the Dozen.” But she’d only made it to 10 when she and her husband separated. Until then, she had home schooled them all.

But that ended when it became clear the separation was final.

“We were on welfare. I had no educational skills and I had 10 kids. What was I going to do?”

She had to support herself.

“I thought, OK, I know how to teach because obviously they can read. So I took my seven youngest kids and deposited them into the school system, and I went to college.”

In 1996, at the age of 42, she enrolled at San Diego State University, got her bachelor’s degree and her teaching credential and became a fourth-grade teacher. She teaches at Webster Elementary School in southeastern San Diego.

Six years ago, after a lifetime of renting, she finally had enough money to buy a place of her own. She decided she could afford a mobile home, and bought one in a quiet mobile home park tucked away near the edge of Tecolote Canyon in Linda Vista. Today, the 57-year-old is enjoying the calmest period of her life.

Her home looks out over a lush expanse of the canyon, and the only disturbances, she said, are the transients who occasionally emerge to steal things from in front of the trailers and the coyotes that have become increasingly bold in approaching the homes. Her neighbor recently stopped feeding the raccoons, because the food attracts coyotes too, which are attracted to her cats.

“This is like my little oasis,” Eisner said.

Her children visit her on holidays, and their families overflow into her small yard out front.

“I can’t even explain how much of a blessing it is. It’s like, why doesn’t everybody do this? Then I think, no. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.”

On Wednesday morning, Zachary Villar was trotting down Linda Vista Road on his way to his second day at a new job.

It was also his second day of living in a new two-bedroom house in Linda Vista, which he shares with eight other people, none of whom he knows.

“I came to Linda Vista because rent is cheap,” he said.

He doesn’t know anyone in the neighborhood, and his living arrangement is a crowded one. But things are actually looking up for the 21-year-old, who wears round metal-rimmed glasses held together by tape. Since a recent falling-out with a roommate in Ocean Beach, he’s been living with friends and out of his car because he’s had no income.

Now he can afford to pay rent, he said, because he just started a job at an adult novelty shop in Spring Valley.

“I found it on Craigslist and sent them my resume,” he said. He studied English at Mesa College, he said, but didn’t do well in his classes so dropped out to work instead. He worked at a fast food restaurant, but has been out of a job for six months.

So Wednesday morning, as he was walking toward his car so he could be in Spring Valley by noon, he said it felt good to be working again. And to finally have a real place to live.

As he drove away, his belongings were visible through the car windows, piled high on the back seat. He had yet to unpack.

I was reporting from Linda Vista Wednesday and Thursday as I explore a different San Diego neighborhood each day this week. On Friday, I’ll be in San Pasqual. Have a story idea for me? Email me at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or call me at 619.325.0528 and follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/adrianflorido.

Adrian Florido

Adrian Florido is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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