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Thirty Years Ago "What's the matter, darling, you don't like New York? Listen, you came to the best, the very best, and after the sandwich, after the pickle, you know how you'll feel? 100 percent better. Not 99, not 99-1/2, but 100 percent better." -- "RETURN OF THE NATIVE," Eleanor Widmer, July 29, 1976

Twenty-Five Years Ago On behalf of myself and thousands of other Japanese-Americans, I would like to thank and praise Andrew Piotrowski for the excellent article published about World War II in the Reader ("War!" July 16). -- LETTERS: "THAT'S INTERNMENT, PART II," Judith Nakano, San Diego, July 30, 1981

The year is 1941 and I am living in my grandmother's cottage in Arcadia, California. I save "war stamps," see tanks and half-tracks roll by, and play with my "California blackout kit!" We even have a spotter's guide to locate Zeros if they shoot overhead.Yes, there are blackouts. We have accepted the idea that Japs succeeded in lobbing shells into Goleta. -- LETTERS: "ZEROS," Galen Hall, Golden Hill, July 30, 1981

Twenty Years Ago When the hottest news story in San Diego's gay community surfaced, it wasn't published first in the city's gay newspapers. Reports that the director of the San Diego AIDS Project was under investigation appeared instead in the San Diego Union. Editors at both the Gayzette and Update chose not to print the story, in part, because they feared it might harm the AIDS Project. -- "THE INSIDE STORY," Paul Krueger, July 31, 1986

Fifteen Years Ago Gang name: P.B. Vurmin

Estimated number of members: 100-plus

Ages: 19 to 27

Territory: Pacific Beach, from Pacific Beach Drive in the south to Turquoise Street in the north.

Who they are: Most have lived their whole lives in Pacific Beach; many of them left home at the age of 15 or 16. A few still live with their parents, who typically work 9-to-5 jobs.

Hangouts: The Hump (the grassy mound on Crown Point, off Ski Beach); the boardwalk in front of the Surfer Motor Lodge, at the foot of Pacific Beach Drive; underneath the Ingraham Street Bridge. -- CITY LIGHTS: "SURF 'N TURF," Thomas K. Arnold, August 1, 1991

Ten Years Ago "Nine times out of ten it's American sailors and they say 'La Bamba.' Or 'Cielito Lindo' ("Pretty Sky" -- "Aye-yi-yi-yi!"), or 'Rancho Grande.'" "People [Mexicans] get sentimental for the songs from their childhood, some of the most difficult ones [to play] like 'De Lydia' and 'La Gloria Es Tu.' It is a Mexican thing." -- "SONGS FOR THE UPROOTED," Bill Manson, July 25, 1996

Five Years Ago I'm standing in front of the frozen vegetables in my local Vons, staring at the peas and corn and wondering what it is I need. My right foot is looped into the bottom rack of the shopping cart and I'm cold. This supermarket is kept at a temperature cool enough to preserve corpses. My sister Maya, my son BB, and I are on our weekly shopping excursion. BB calls this effort "the big shop," and it's become a routine we cannot stray from. Every Sunday at four we buy cereal and granola bars, bottled water and corn chips, apples and frozen pizza. We buy large quantities of the four foods that BB will consent to eat at any given time and sometimes, throwing caution to the wind, I try to sneak in a cucumber, rice cakes, a banana. I'm in the middle of an internal debate over whether or not to greet one of the mothers I recognize from BB's school when BB runs over to me from the Wolfgang Puck display and says, "Mom, I want to pretend I'm being born again." -- "A MOM FIGHTS FOR HER SON," Debra Ginsberg, July 26, 2001

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