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Thirty-Five Years Ago
You’d be surprised at what people consider waste products. According to operators of the Point Loma plant, anything that fits through a manhole will do. Water heaters, bed springs, 2x4s, bus tires, and dogs all have been discovered in the system. Once a baby was found on the grating. A worker ordered to pick the infant off said he would rather be fired than follow such an abhorrent procedure. He was fired.
“CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS. WHAT IS SEWAGE NEXT TO? In SAN DIEGO IT’S NEXT TO POINT LOMA IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN,” Jon Simon, January 15, 1976

Thirty Years Ago
One of the questions people ask me most often is, “What is modern dance?” I don’t know why they ask me, since I am by profession a dentist. But Californians are funny.
“MOVEMENT OF THOUGHT,” Barney Bolvan, D.D.S., January 15, 1981

Twenty-Five Years Ago
There was a time, not so many years ago, when horses were so plentiful in Mission Valley that nobody much cared whom they belonged to — if you needed one, you simply caught it, saddled it, and rode off. Wishes were horses, and in those days not even beggars walked. But now there wasn’t so much as a French donkey between me and the zoo, and if I wanted to put 20 miles on El Camino Real behind me before sunset, I would have to go it on foot.
“FORTY MILES OF BAD ROAD IN SEARCH OF THE AUTHENTIC EL CAMINO REAL,” Steve Sorensen, January 16, 1986

Twenty Years Ago
A dozen years ago, when I first met San Diego jazz pianist Butch Lacy, he would phone me and ask “What’s happening? You wanna go hear some bad shit, some completely out-of-state min’ blowin’ down-on-the-ground straight-to-the-stars plus four directions? Yoweee.” It would take me a minute to cut through the burrs of his Southern accent and to translate.
CITY LIGHTS: “EURO-SUCCESS DROPS IN,” Eleanor Widmer, January 17, 1991

Fifteen Years Ago
Down Memory Lane, past the carpet store, past Spring Valley Sheet Metal, past the clatter of breaking glass at the recycling plant, to home. The home of Hubert Howe Bancroft, historian of the West. A modern-day Thucydides, he sought to document the birth of Western civilization from Alaska to Central America. “For years he collected data; that’s all he did,” says caretaker/tour guide/chief cook and bottle washer Jim Van Meter. “He’d go [to a person of note], take his bag lunch, one suit, and stay up all night with the person, drive them crazy, and try to get whatever they had, the logs, the birthdates, the history of a certain area.”
CALENDAR: “HISTORY DRIPS FROM THE GIANT PALMS AND OOZES UP FROM THE SPRING,” Matt Lickona, January 11, 1996

Ten Years Ago
Last year I went to a lot of Padres games. I noticed that I was the only person who yelled “Put a little pepper on it!” every time the pitcher wound up to throw the ball. Frankly, after two or three months, I started to feel a little uncomfortable.

DON’T YOU WORRY! See those other 21,879 people attending a Padres game? They’re the ones who are out of step, not you. Every other Major League Baseball stadium in the land is filled with fans hollering “PUT A LITTLE PEPPER ON IT!” This mighty chant is shouted throughout the game for any old reason, not merely to pitchers, but to peanut vendors and restroom attendants as well. I don’t know what it is with Padres fans.
SPORTING BOX: “DEAR SPORTS,” Patrick Daugherty, January 11, 2001

Five Years Ago
Local pastor and Grammy-nominated gospel artist Tonex says his newest CD, Oak Park: 92105, is the first Christian-artist album to carry a parental advisory sticker. Released on iTunes.com, the 24 tracks document his life on the streets of San Diego; he’s now assistant pastor at the Truth Apostolic Community Church in Spring Valley.

“Some of the subject matter might be a little too deep for children,” he says.
BLURT: “KEEPIN’ IT REAL...DIRTY?” Jay Allen Sanford, January 12, 2006

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