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Thirty Years Ago These are the best cars the English ever made, no matter what anyone may say about how much that is saying. (Some would have you believe that England could have won the war with their technology -- by sending them to the Germans.) I had had one before -- a little gray woody with red leather seats and a wooden dash, that smelled and felt as good as it drove. And I, as do all Morris Minor owners, swear by them. Besides, it looks just like Donald Duck's car: a cross between an egg and a derby hat. -- "MORRIS THE CAR," Jacquelynne Garner, May 13, 1976

Twenty-Five Years Ago People bought ecology bumper stickers for their autos and in 1970 planned an Earth Day celebration, but it didn't seem enough. Then an answer was conceived -- a document that could weigh several pounds and could grow to an inch thick.... Educated people were paid good money to fill them with correct jargon, and they've been cranking them out since. And just like that the environment was saved. This document, the Environmental Impact Report, was created, naturally, by legislation...signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970. -- "THE PAPER MOUNTAINS," Gerry Braun, May 14, 1981

Twenty Years Ago I can still recall the date, May 19, 1977, because that was Ho Chi Minh's birthday. The entire camp was taken out to the fields to clear away the elephant grass -- to "compete with each other for Uncle Ho's birthday!" I made my way to the grass right by the road where the bus passed because I knew that this was the day my wife, Thuy, was coming to see me. I had learned this the week before through a letter smuggled in a bag brought to me by friends who had come to visit the re-education camp. -- "ESCAPE!" Duong Phuc with Vu Thanh Thuy and Neal Matthews, May 15, 1986

Fifteen Years Ago The top five reasons why Richard Lee Poet said he would not pay his rent: 1. He had just paid $18,000 to promote a Grand Prix race and "that really cleaned me."

2. His business partner robbed him;

3. His parents were dying and he had to go home to spend their last Christmas together;

4. Construction workers were on strike; and

5. He was a city building inspector who could get his landlords in trouble if they tried to collect. -- CITY LIGHTS: "WHAT RHYMES WITH IMMORAL?" Colin Flaherty, May 16, 1991

Ten Years Ago Almost 20 years ago, for research on behalf of The Duke of Deception, written to give my sons as much of their family history as I could articulate, I gumshoed details about my father's final years in California, in and out of prisons and state mental hospitals, on the dole or on the lam.... But till now I'd kept my distance from pretty La Jolla and from San Diego and from up close and personal memories of my terminal pileup with my dad. So I was unprepared for the vividness of my recall of that summer, of the effect on me of finding our apartment near Windansea Beach, of searching for the San Diego city jail (since torn down) where I last saw my father, of bringing all this back so that maybe (fat chance!) I could get it buried for good. -- "LA JOLLA 1962," Geoffrey Wolff, May 9, 1996

Five Years Ago Re: Anne Albright's "Everybody Stop Whining" ("Kid Stuff," May 3). I can only hope that next year the Easter Bunny puts some birth control in her basket.Five kids under the age of ten? Your kids are probably starved for attention, Anne, not Easter chocolate. -- LETTERS: "LOATHES ALBRIGHT," David Rizzuto, May 10, 2001

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