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Thirty Years Ago
This is the way Ted Uhler commutes from his Spring Valley home to his job downtown: Uhler sets his alarm for 5:30 a.m. and hustles to get out his door by no later than six. Then he trots down Bancroft Drive over to Sweetwater Avenue, which he follows south to Jamacha Road. He runs west on Jamacha, which becomes Lisbon Street and eventually branches into Imperial Avenue. Finally, he jogs west on Imperial to Market, which he takes on the final leg west to the city administration building (he works in the city clerk’s office). The 13-mile jaunt requires about an hour and 40 minutes.
CITY LIGHTS: “SO LONG HONEY, I GOTTA RUN,” Jeannette De Wyze, September 27, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger is taking his white supremacist views to television. When Cox Cable began its public access Channel 24 a year ago last May, Metzger, a Fallbrook television repairman who now heads his own 10,000-member nationwide group, the White American Political Association, sent some of his lieutenants to gather some information about the public access program and the various how-to workshops sponsored by Cox.
CITY LIGHTS: “RACE TO BE TELEVISED,” T.K. Arnold, September 27, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
Early this summer, I visited a coastal town in Washington state where houses in good repair on corner lots were selling for $11,000 and jobs in the cranberry bogs paid four an hour. Over breakfast in a steamy café, we listened to a sheriff’s deputy kid the waitress, fresh out of high school, about some boyfriend she’d had who’d gotten a new girl. Insulted when we praised his county as “real peaceful and quiet,” the deputy tucked his chin in tight to his khaki chest. “We got crime,” he said.
“MEMORIES OF MAIN STREET,” Judith Moore, September 28, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
I can most certainly do without the gender politics. I am sick and tired of the implication that women are morally superior to men. … And what heterosexual man in our culture has not felt objectified by some women as a wallet or as a success object?

Ms. DiLucchio, I suggest to you that if you are burned out as a nurse that you might try being a garbageperson (I use that politically correct term deliberately), a coal miner, a hazardous waste disposer, or an exterminator.
LETTERS: “TRY BEING A GARBAGEPERSON,” September 22, 1994

Ten Years Ago
In the mid-1950s a high school kid from El Cajon named Frank Zappa read an article in Look magazine that said Sam Goody was so good at selling records, he could unload a copy of Edgar Varèse’s Ionisations. This piqued the curiosity of the restless, inventive young rocker, so he set about trying to find this extreme and unplayable piece of music. It took him a year. (Apparently there wasn’t a big call for Edgar Varèse records in San Diego in the 1950s.) When he did find a copy, Zappa was informed the record cost $5.98. The young Zappa gave the store clerk $2 for it. The store was no doubt glad to get the record off the shelf, where it probably had sat for years.

Varèse is arguably the greatest American composer of the century. It is Zappa-esque that the composer of our most innovative orchestral music is a Frenchman, though the composer, born in Paris in 1883, emigrated to the U.S. in 1915 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1926. The year Varèse died, Frank Zappa joined a rhythm-and-blues band called the Soul Giants and appended to it the logo “The Mothers of Invention.”
“DIRTY ZAPPA’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET,” August Kleinzahler, September 23, 1999

Five Years Ago
It seemed like true love in February 2003 when megabucks Rancho Santa Fe investment tycoon Ralph Whitworth paid ex-Beatle Paul McCartney a cool $1 million to sing at a surprise 50th birthday party for his wife Wendy at Delicias restaurant. Wendy was then busy producing the Larry King show from a remote studio in the Whitworths’ sprawling mansion, and party guests included King and Wendy’s close chum, NBC Today star Katie Couric.
CITY LIGHTS: “NOWHERE MAN,” Matt Potter, September 23, 2004

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