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Thirty Years Ago
[Susan] West won a smooch from Sea World’s celebrated cetacean last spring when she rode in an asthma benefit bikeathon and finished as a runner-up. She says she hoarded the prize for months.

West recalls that she arrived a few minutes late and the visit began to sour immediately. Greeted stiffly, she was informed that the whale was on a tight schedule and had been parceled out five extra fishes.... Following their instructions, she posed and the photographed “kiss” was over in an instant. West and her friends then made ready to enjoy a visit to the park, only to be informed that the slimy smooch didn’t include admission.
CITY LIGHTS, “WHAT SORT OF WHALE DO YOU THINK I AM?” Jeannette De Wyze, September 13, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Dear Matthew Alice:
After viewing a rerun of Helter Skelter on TV one night recently, I was shocked to learn that Manson and his three followers were due for parole in 1978 because of the abolition of the death penalty in California. I would like to know the whereabouts of this psychopath and his three accomplices.
—A terrified La Jollan

I’ve got disturbing news for you, T.L.J. There were four others who were convicted along with Charles Manson. You forgot Tex Watson. Under California law, prisoners have the right to periodic hearings to set parole dates; this is not being “due for parole.” The parole board can set that interval for up to three years. Patricia Kenwinkle, Leslie Van Houten, and Susan Atkins are serving life terms in the California Institute for Women in Frontera; Tex Watson is serving a life sentence in the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo; and Manson is in the men’s prison in Vacaville.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, September 13, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
It’s conceivable that 50 years from now, tourists will wander out of Mission Bay Park and Old Town and find themselves in the Midway-Rosecrans-Sports Arena area of San Diego. So, the city’s planning department wants to establish a “corridor” of restaurants, hotels, and retail stores, making it possible for tourists to eat, sleep, and shop their way to the Cabrillo Monument.
CITY LIGHTS: “CORRIDOR OF HORROR,” Brae Canlen, September 14, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
Bob Dale’s image is so familiar that I will remember him until the day I die. I have seen him for so long that when I think of him, he appears only in black-and-white. There are others like him. There was a fellow named, I believe, Johnny Downs, who hosted an afternoon call-in game show for kids. I remember his crew cut, his cardigans, and his rack of keys that held a magic one that, if chosen by a lucky caller, opened a vault of toys that always contained a neat bike.
AS SEEN ON TV: “HOME SWEET HOME,” Abe Opincar, September 1, 1994

Ten Years Ago
David would have loved this, I think to myself as the 1920s Travel Air Biplane taxis out to the runway at Palomar airport. My late brother David, who was ten years my senior, was a pilot for an aerial-photography company out of Burbank. In June of 1994, while circling a target in Banning Pass near Palm Springs, David’s plane was struck in midair by an airplane being flown by a student pilot. Both planes went down; David, his photographer, and the student pilot died.
“BROTHER WARRIORS TAKE WING,” Ernie Grimm, September 9, 1999

Five Years Ago
The passing of Union-Tribune owner Helen Copley last month inspired none other than San Diego Unified school-board member Katherine Nakamura to mark the occasion in her own way. “[W]e would like to note that Helen Copley and Joan Kroc will always have many daughters unto the hundredth generation.” The letter ran Saturday.
CITY LIGHTS: “SHARING THEIR MOTHERS,” Matt Potter, September 9, 2004

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