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Thirty Years Ago

Soon I will join the bulk of you in the suburbs. I can hardly wait. In my mind is a vision of provincial bliss, complete with the aroma of back yard barbecues and the melody of an ice cream truck.

In the fall of 1976 I moved into a hotel located on Lower Broadway.… For one thing it isn’t possible in downtown San Diego to live by oneself. One can rent a room, single occupancy; but that does not guarantee said individual will be alone.

“A LULLABY OF BROADWAY,” Merton Gaudette, January 12, 1978

Twenty-Five Years Ago

My four-month-old daughter is beginning to grow her permanent hair. Because it is thin, the way it is growing around her cowlick is apparent—it goes clockwise.… Do children in the Southern Hemisphere have hair that goes counterclockwise?

I will answer, but only when I can research it thoroughly. I’m making arrangements with my travel agent, and I should be in Australia by spring. New Zealand is close by, so I might as well see how hair grows there, too. New Guinea might prove instructive, and there’s Fiji, and Tahiti.…

STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, January 13, 1983

Twenty Years Ago

The Coral Room opened in 1957, the first dance venue among the dairy farms that covered Mission Valley.

As old friends stopped outside the Coral Room entrance to bid Thronburg good-bye, some asked her where they’ll all go now. The Coral Room and La Pavilion at the nearby Town and Country Hotel were the only two swing dance rooms in the valley. The Mississippi Room in North Park’s Lafayette Hotel closed down a couple of years ago, and the big-band music at the La Costa Hotel up the coast was eighty-sixed two weeks ago. Thronburg says La Pavilion is too small, too cold, and the dance floor is sticky. (Dancers rave about the Coral Room’s parquet dance floor but say La Pavilion’s marble floor is bad because floor wax oxidizes on marble and turns gummy.)

CITY LIGHTS: “THE LAST DANCE,” Neal Matthews, January 14, 1988

Fifteen Years Ago

The English translation of Laura Esquivel’s book Como Agua Para Chocolate appeared in San Diego at the same time the film version premiered in Tijuana. The coincidence of the English book and Mexican film presenting at the same time across the border is like the coincidence of book and film appearing at the time of the 500-year commemoration of the opening of the New World by Europeans. That is my private view, but I will try to demonstrate it to you in my own way.

“BLOOD RECIPES,” Ana Maria Corona, January 14, 1993

Ten Years Ago

I could have predicted it: Duncan Shepherd won’t give his imprimatur to Titanic (Movies, December 18) and the sheep start whining, “Duncan hates movies!”

If the sheep would quit listening to the crowd, they would see that Shepherd’s review is accurate. Two Sundays ago, I filed into the Cinema 21 with 2000 other lemmings. The special effects were good, and I appreciated the way Cameron made us relate to the magnitude of the tragedy— but that’s where my appreciation stopped.

LETTERS: “I WISH I COULD BE LIKE YOU!” Robert Kumpel, January 15, 1998

Five Years Ago

The creditors took umbrage at La Bella’s role as Moores’s lawyer during a federal grand jury investigation two years ago into Councilwoman Valerie Stallings and gifts she’d gotten from Moores. Moores has been friend and business partner of Warren Hellman, San Francisco venture capitalist, political donor, and powerful UC alumnus, who happens to be father-in-law of UCSD chancellor Robert Dynes. Atkinson, who ran UCSD before Dynes, is headed back to autumn retirement in La Jolla, with Dynes a prime candidate to succeed him.

CITY LIGHTS: “LA BELLA’S HORDE,” Matt Potter, January 9, 2003

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