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Thirty Years Ago COME TO SEE the real men. Come to the Mission Beach Plunge.

EILEEN AT Halcyon: When I said you were "homely," I only meant you look good enough to take home. Honest, Bozo.

KEEP BLACK'S Beach one of the most beautiful in Southern California. Put litter where it belongs. -- CLASSIFIEDS, April 22, 1976

Twenty-Five Years Ago When the world looks like worn, habitual images, we have trouble seeing. At their worst, shopping centers are that way. All over the country there are small shopping centers like the ones we find along San Diego's Midway Drive and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. They resemble each other to the point that they annihilate any sense of place: they are everywhere and nowhere. At best, they are cloyingly ingratiating, like Seaport Village: calming, soothing, reassuring, and totally mindless. Their banality anesthetizes our perceptual capacities. -- "FACADES," Alberto Lau, April 23, 1981

Twenty Years Ago No one is sure how Oriental white-eyes escaped from the hummingbird aviary of the San Diego Zoo. The zoo speculates that the birds flew out of the birdhouse as its double doors were open for a stroller or wheelchair. The year was probably 1973, but it could have been 1974. One thing is certain: a male and a female escaped. Broods of little white-eyes were hatched. The young ones mated with abandon, resulting in a problem for the county department of agriculture. -- CITY LIGHTS: "SING A SONG OF CAPTURE," Brae Canlen, April 24, 1986

Fifteen Years Ago Mayor Maureen O'Connor and her husband Robert O. Peterson took heat last month after it was revealed that the city's First Couple was one of its heaviest water users. With the easing of the drought, interest in O'Connor's gardening habits has diminished, but she and her husband aren't leaving water conservation to chance at a home they are preparing to build near the San Diego Yacht Club, in Point Loma. According to landscape plans on file with the city, the most predominant feature of the home's front entry will be a towering, multi-armed saguaro cactus. Two drought-resistant strawberry trees and four desert-hardened Mexican palo verde trees will flank the saguaro. Agaves, ocotillo plants, and small yucca trees are the only shrubbery. -- CITY LIGHTS: "MAYOR MOVES TO CREATE DEATH VALLEY-LIKE WASTELAND IN POINT LOMA," Matt Potter, April 25, 1991

Ten Years Ago I grew up in our nation's capital, 14th Street, Southeast, Foggy Bottom. I landed in San Diego years later and looked for places that felt like "home." When my daughter was born, we moved to City Heights; from there Logan Heights, Encanto, Southeast. Living in "minority neighborhoods" where we were the "minorities" was neither intimidating nor strange to us. While I was hailed by strangers ("Hey, white girl!"), got double takes on the street and questions at public transportation stops -- "What're you doing here? You got a black boyfriend?" -- I never felt challenged or threatened. -- "JIMI HENDRIX TOLD ME NOT TO SCREAM," Anonymous, April 18, 1996

Five Years Ago While I fixed Jack and the girls cheeseburgers for dinner, I munched on baby carrots and celery sticks. I drank V-8 juice to try to fill up my stomach."What's wrong, Mommy?" Rebecca asked.

"I'm angry," I said.

"Why?" Rebecca asked.

"Is it something I did?" Jack asked.

"No," I answered.

"What is it?" Angela looked worried.

"I'M SO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O HUNGRY," the words spilled out of me in an animalistic howl I hadn't intended. "I JUST WANT TO E-E-E-E-E-EAT."

Everyone stopped eating. Jack came down to the end of the table and took over with Ben. The girls stared at me.

"Sorry," I told them, wiping tears from my eyes. -- KID STUFF: "GAPING MAW," Anne Albright, April 19, 2001

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