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Thirty Years Ago I was amazed that you would print your whitewash of the 7-Eleven Corporation in this week's Reader ("It's a Pretty Good Deal," July 21). These stores have become a black spot on the San Diego landscape. They are ugly; they push cigarettes and liquor on adults. And they push pornography on anyone who walks in the store ("Okay, kiddies, why don't you browse through Hustler while I fix your Slurpee"). And anything that isn't harmful is priced at one and one-half times its value. -- LETTERS: "A PACK OF SMOKES, A FILTHY MAG, AND THOU..." Lana Rodriguez, Pacific Beach, July 28, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago Wing worked in the kitchen for 30 years. I always said to him, "Hi Wing, what's Wong?" and he always laughed. He played on an old wooden flute, and every pigeon in the neighborhood knew him. When Tommy came in he'd have a fit to see all those pigeons outside the back door, but he never said anything to Wing. He went up to San Francisco and visited the Chinese cemetery where he was going to be buried, and he died soon after, three years ago. -- "BLUE PLATE SPECIAL," Amy Chu, July 29, 1982

Twenty Years Ago Late one Wednesday afternoon two weeks ago, a group of around a dozen people protesting American foreign policy in Central America gathered on the Broadway side of Horton Plaza. As had become their custom, the protestors stood in a silent vigil between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Some of them held signs with slogans such as "The Contras Are Terrorists" or "The U.S. Should Stop Waging War on Nicaragua.""We were all standing there when the police car went by and said, 'Ollie North for president,'" says Ertle. -- CITY LIGHTS: "LET'S HEAR IT FOR OLLIE," Bob McPhail, July 30, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago And if I got it once, never going near the sun, I will damn sure get it again -- a worm for the other side of my neck, or a centipede for my chin, a lizard for my cheek...my earlobe, they'll just clip it all off. And if I can get that kinda cancer, not having willfully or knowingly contributed to it causally, how can I miss getting cancers of the pancreas, liver, tongue, sinus, and scrotum? Incisions, excavations, tissue down the dumper, tubes in my veins, chemotherapy, emotherapy...and I'm not talking fear of death, or even fear, I'm just talking normal wear and tear... -- "FADE TO GRAY," Richard Meltzer, July 30, 1992

Ten Years Ago Imagine for a moment: Hitler is found alive and is arrested. That's the kind of shock that went through San Diego's Cambodian community when they heard Pol Pot had been captured.

"He should be killed! We want him dead!" says Mr. Sokha, in the Trieu Chau restaurant at University and Menlo in East San Diego. "Don't bother with a trial. Three million people died because of him. Just kill him. We want to know he's gone." -- CITY LIGHTS: "I WOULD PREFER THAT HE WERE DEAD," Bill Manson, July 24, 1997

Five Years Ago Tony Hawk answers the phone at his Carlsbad home. He has been expecting the call. Hawk began his career at the Del Mar Skate Ranch. It would be a holy place to fans if it weren't defunct -- a dinosaur, demolished. There, in 1982, Hawk won his first contest, having turned pro at age 14.

What does bother him is people who lump skateboarding together with other so-called extreme sports. "Suddenly people assume that just because you're a skateboarder, you're also a rock climber, and that you like to go sky surfing, and that you do lugeing downhill. But for us -- the skateboarders -- we skate." -- CALENDAR: "LUCKY HAWK," Jeanne Schinto, July 25, 2002

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