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Thirty Years Ago
A Sunday afternoon last month on the Ocean Beach pier. The fellow in the yellow short-sleeve shirt and sunglasses was carrying three small boxes wrapped in white paper and ribbons. Mike Hall had served at funeral homes in Los Angeles and San Diego and was familiar with the tools of the trade.

Hall and his housemate, Richard Heffernan, stood and watched as the man came to a stop a short distance out on the pier. He lined the small, square boxes up on the railing, then cut them with a razor blade. According to Heffernan and Hall, the man then dumped the powdery contents. Much was scattered by the wind; the heavier particles fell below into the tidepools and surf.
CITY LIGHTS: “REMAINS TO BE SEEN?” Coleman Warner, April 12, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
You see me coming up your walk. I’m wearing a jumpsuit or a shirt with a bright logo above the left pocket. Behind me at the curb is a truck, a huge and battered machine.

Your thoughts: The movers are here. I hope they don’t break anything.

Still deeper thoughts: Ah, these hulks, these Neanderthals. How do I deal with them?

I have seen into your lives. I’ve been in your Serra Mesa homes, your University City condos, your Pacific Beach apartments. I’ve been in your bathrooms, I’ve opened your dresser drawers and seen what you hide.
“MOVING IN, MOVING OUT,” Graeme Donne, April 12, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
This is it! I have had it with the clever words of your movie reviewers. Consider the following review of Dangerous Liaisons in your March 16 issue.

…Glenn Close is least persuasive of all as a sufficiently charming and tantalizing prize for which the aforesaid roué will endure an amorous challenge of the dimensions of a Labor of Hercules: bullying and intimidating, sure; charming and tantalizing, never.

Such nonsense in writing would be dismissed with a swift “F” in Composition 101.
LETTERS: “SUCH NONSENSE,” Craig D. Wandke, Chula Vista, April 13, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
Doug Manchester’s crusade to build a commercial airport at Miramar Naval Air Station is on a roll. He’s lined up support from 66 prominent San Diegans, created a nonprofit organization called the San Diego International Airport Foundation, and collected contributions from big names, including car dealer Bob Baker and San Diego Union-Tribune publisher Helen Copley.
CITY LIGHTS: “BIG MONEY AND BIG MEDIA TAKE ON THE LITTLE GUYS OVER MIRAMAR,” Melinda Powelson, April 7, 1994

Ten Years Ago
USA Today got it going, together with “daily news updates” and an every-Friday column, at the beginning of last week: 50 days to the premiere of the first Star Wars prequel on May 19. Counting on my own fingers, toes, fingernails, toenails, thumbs, thumbnails, arms, legs, knees, elbows, and ears, that only took me up to the day before the launch. Either way, there would by now be less than 6 weeks (let’s see…40 divided by 7…yes, less than 6 weeks) until blast-off. Not too soon, in other words, for the print journalist to start to ponder what to call the damn thing.
“CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITIES,” Duncan Shepherd, April 8, 1999

Five Years Ago
Last week’s surprise departure of Neil Morgan from the Union-Tribune after 54 years as a Copley scribe was shrouded in about as much confusion as many of the columns he authored. A six-page statement written in the third person was handed around Morgan’s lawyer’s office during a late-afternoon news conference on Wednesday, March 31. It portrayed the columnist as a journalistic gigolo, cast off after decades of service to a mistress whom he had helped raise from poverty to the pinnacle of the city’s most powerful institution.
CITY LIGHTS: “MYSTERIOUS END OF AN ERA,” Matt Potter, April 8, 2004

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