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Thirty Years Ago THANK YOU, Ricky, for being yourself in a world lacking spontaneous, natural love. Please never lose my number, or my love. Earl.

ROGER BOWMAN, the Renee Richards of the water polo world: You should expect your house to be gift-wrapped soon. Northern or Charmin? Joe Stereo.

MEET CARLA GRAY, the only person in South La Mesa who can swallow her own tongue(!) Suzy Creamcheese (alias Snoo) and S. Toe(s) sez high! LANCE, THAT was some party! How much do you really think he paid for the band? As one gentle people to another, you're groovy! Kelly. -- CLASSIFIEDS, September 2, 1976

Twenty-Five Years Ago San Ysidro's Jack-in-the-Box sells more fast food than any other Jack-in-the-Box in California. Its Big Bear market alone sells more eggs than the other 28 county Big Bears combined. The local Safeway does the highest gross per square foot of any store in its national chain. -- "WELCOME TO SAN YSIDRO," Neal Matthews, September 3, 1981

Twenty Years Ago Sometime last winter, some disrespectful little surf rat scribbled on the fence railing at the Beacon's parking lot in Leucadia: "Longboarders are a bunch of old fat kooks!" Every longboarder waddling down the steps to the beach, with his nine-foot log tucked between his armpit and his love handle, had to pause at that piece of graffiti and wonder, "So, is this what it's like to be on the other side of the generation gap?" -- "ANTIQUES HANG TEN," Steve Sorensen, September 4, 1986

Fifteen Years Ago Papa Zappa, an immigrant from Sicily, was a metallurgist and meteorologist (and amateur guitarist). (Mama Zappa was a librarian.) Dad taught history briefly at Loyola University, but when little Frankie was born in 1940, Pop was a civilian employee at the Army Chemical Center at the Edgewood (Maryland) Arsenal studying the effects of weather on explosives and poison gasses. Some of Frank's first toys were gas masks and other tools of Dad's trade. In the mid-'50s, the Zap Dad worked here as a metallurgist for Convair. The family lived at 749 El Monte Road in El Cajon (1955) and 4823 Iroquois Street in Clairemont (1956), and Frank attended Grossmont and Mission Bay high schools before graduating in Lancaster, north of L.A. While Frank was here, he had a band called the Ramblers (he was the drummer), and they played for dances at the Linda Vista armory across from Mesa College and at Uptown Hall at 30th and Meade in Normal Heights. He also hung out a lot at Arcade Records downtown. -- "STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP," Matthew Alice, September 5, 1991

Ten Years Ago "You want to know what happened here?" Cooper swivels around in his chair to look out onto an Imperial Avenue that is all but deserted. Pedestrians can be counted on one hand, passing cars on the other. He says what we see out there is the same thing that happened on 47th Street in Chicago, on Auburn Street in Atlanta, on Greenwood in Tulsa, and Central in Los Angeles. "Integration did us in," he says, shaking his head. -- "WHITES FEEL THAT THIS COUNTRY BELONGS TO THEM..." Hawkins Mitchell, August 29, 1996

Five Years Ago My two latex-gloved fingers extended as far into Greta's vagina as they could through the tight rubbery os of her cervix, grazing the firm, smooth, slippery surface of her baby's lowest part, but I could not feel the narrow gaps between the bones in the baby's head. The "sutures" of the infant skull are what we use to confirm that the hard structure meeting the examiner's fingertips is the baby's head. I couldn't be sure. "We'll need to do an ultrasound to make sure the baby's head is down," I told Greta as I extracted my fingers and snapped off the glove. -- "I'M NOT GOD," Jim Eichel, August 30, 2001

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