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Bill’s Memory Machine

“My mother and father,” Mike said, “were very frugal. They were very cost-conscious, so my mother didn’t have money for carpeting, obviously, or even rugs, so she’d take old pieces of clothing and cut them up.” Then she crocheted the strips of cloth into rugs that sat beneath and beside the handmade furniture. “My father built all the furniture in the house,” Mike said, “or a lot of it. Couches and chairs, dressers, cabinets.”

By Laura McNeal, Oct. 30, 1997 | Read full article

A soul alone after midnight.

A soul alone after midnight.

Peter Hannan

Small Hours

I ventured out one day during my friend’s stay to return some overdue library books. I am forever accosted by eager minds needing to know something. That day was no exception. The old man tapped me on my shoulder. “Do you believe in God?” he inquired at the corner of Eighth and E streets. If I had used the after-hours drop box, the question would have never been posed. “Yes, well, yes I do.”

By Abe Opincar, June 16, 1988 | Read full article

Illustration of the author and his brother

Illustration of the author and his brother

Tamir Shefer

Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

Mom’s taste lay to Wordsworth and Henry James, and the Joycean-flavored wordplay grated on her nerves. That disconcerting beginning of paragraphs in the present tense, then dissolving into stream of consciousness, and the low-class, drunken adventures that went on and on without letup, and nothing uplifting about any of it. This book was a scandal! But banning it from the house was closing the barn door too late. He started smoking like a chimney — Gaulloises, for God’s sake.

By Robert Houghton, March 11, 1993 | Read full article

Ken Matchett

Ken Matchett

Visions from the Chair

One of Ken’s aunts mailed him a list of San Diego churches. He called a few, and one morning a towering man in his late 20s stood at Ken’s front door and introduced himself as Tim Jollett. He took Ken to the church he attended, which met at Clairemont High School. Ken’s wheelchair wouldn’t fit in Tim’s car, so he strapped Ken into the front seat. Later he carried Ken into the auditorium.

By Mark Stephen Clifton, March 9, 1995 | Read full article

Author's mother (left) and her brothers

Author's mother (left) and her brothers

A Fairy Godmother’s Art

I can recall the way a certain blouse, puffy-sleeved and lace-collared, tugged at the pits of my arms the year I fell in love with Matt Denhalter. The same mistakes I made in the changing rooms of department stores were made again in the sewing room, where the clothes that looked so perfect on the front of the pattern puckered at the wrists, ballooned at the chest, and hovered well above the ankles.

By Laura McNeal, Jan. 2, 1997 | Read full article

Billye Giesecke (far right) with her family at Friendship Manor

Billye Giesecke (far right) with her family at Friendship Manor

I Wonder What You Can See as You Trouble My Silence

Your birthday is always such an emotionally difficult time for me. I remember the day you were born and how excited all of us were. I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything. That day was one of the most precious of my life. I’m so thankful God allowed me to have that moment unmarred by sorrow. You seemed so perfect, the fulfillment of my most cherished dream. But the dream was just that, a dream.

By Jangchup Phelgyal, Nov. 13, 1997 | Read full article

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