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Autobiographical glimpses

Eavesdropping, San Diego house search, personal beauty and its lack, Logan Heights and La Jolla memories

“The best job I ever had was in Leucadia. We worked about an hour and a half for this guy, drank beer for the rest of the day, and got paid for eight.”
“The best job I ever had was in Leucadia. We worked about an hour and a half for this guy, drank beer for the rest of the day, and got paid for eight.”

So I’ve Heard

When I was having my appendix taken out a few years ago, the anesthesiologist put the mask over my face, asked me to count backwards from a hundred, and then, assuming I was unconscious, said to the nurse next to him, “If we can finish this in a hurry, I still might get home in time to watch The Love Boat.” When I regained consciousness, the first thing I asked for was my notebook.

By Steve Sorensen, May 14, 1987 | Read full article

Talmadge, El Cerrito, Oak Park, Rolando, La Mesa, Allied Gardens, Clairemont, and Bay Park absorbed much of the post-World-War II building boom; the houses in them are newer and larger, and they have attached garages.

Our House

Now we know that “patio home” is a euphemism for a cheap condominium; “Cute Spanish charmer” is a generic description for file-box-sized houses with red tile roofs. “Needs TLC” means the house has numerous building-code violations that need to be corrected by a pricey contractor, while “Space for RV parking” denotes a house located in a rundown area where the neighbors repair motorcycles in their front yards and play heavy-metal music until sunrise.

By Gordon Smith, Sept. 24, 1987 | Read full article

I was effortlessly the center of attention. It was in keeping with all of the fairy tales I read.

Let it Be Me

“One time when I was walking through Las Colinas park, on my way to school, a man jumped out of the bushes and grabbed me, to rape me, I assume. I fought him off and ran away. I was doing nothing to provoke him. Adults, when trying to explain the event to me, said things like, ‘Well, he saw this pretty girl walking by.... It had nothing to do with you as a person.’”

By Abe Opincar, July 7, 1988 | Read full article

I was given a role in a San Diego Junior Theater production of, Lord help us, a musical version of Little Women, a role identified in the script and program as “Fat Boy.”

Sunlight Offers No Favors to Fat Boys

The turn right at Belmont Park, onto Mission Boulevard, precedes the longest stretch,The street names crawling past in the same order committed themselves to memory in sequence. Ventura, Island, Isthmus, Jamaica. Santa Barbara, Jersey, Kennebeck, Kingston. San Luis Obispo, Lido, Liverpool, Manhattan, El Carmel, Monterey, Nahant, Nantasket, San Juan, Niantic, Ormond, Ostend, Portsmouth, Pismo. Queenstown, Redondo, Rockaway, San Jose, Salem, Sunset, Tangiers, Toulon, Vanitie, San Rafael, Venice, Verona, Whiting, Windemere, Yarmouth, York, Zanzibar.

By Abe Opincar, July 2, 1992 | Read full article

When I moved to Clairemont in the fifth grade, I was suddenly being called the following: Beaner, Taco Bender, Pepper-Belly, Spic. My father had warned me about Greaser and Wetback. But these new words were spectacular and vivid.

Homeboy on the Range

After school, 1965: Spring. Wearing my idiotic St. Jude’s Academy uniform. My bright red sweater calling vatos and homeboys from miles around to come kick my ass. I had a crew cut because I thought it made me sound like James Bond in the barber shop. “What’ll it be, kid,” the old fart would say. “Crew cut,” I’d say, imagining I was puffing on a cigarette. All the stinky men in there would laugh.

By Luis Urrea, Sept. 24, 1992 | Read full article

He stood outside my bedroom window and asked me to go to the beach with him. I climbed out the window, and we drove down to Mission Bay.

Where the Surf Was Roughest

We turned onto Bonair Street. Theirs was a plain stucco house. The lawn grass bare in places and littered with toys. The planting beds were a jungle of banana trees and birds of paradise. Jane and the kids greeted us at the door. She was holding Andre, the youngest boy. His hair and eyes were light brown. The girls and Val were very blonde and blue-eyed. All were tan. Jane still looked youthful, full-breasted, and pretty.

By Mary Kathryn Vernon, Sept. 16, 1993 | Read full article

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“The best job I ever had was in Leucadia. We worked about an hour and a half for this guy, drank beer for the rest of the day, and got paid for eight.”
“The best job I ever had was in Leucadia. We worked about an hour and a half for this guy, drank beer for the rest of the day, and got paid for eight.”

So I’ve Heard

When I was having my appendix taken out a few years ago, the anesthesiologist put the mask over my face, asked me to count backwards from a hundred, and then, assuming I was unconscious, said to the nurse next to him, “If we can finish this in a hurry, I still might get home in time to watch The Love Boat.” When I regained consciousness, the first thing I asked for was my notebook.

By Steve Sorensen, May 14, 1987 | Read full article

Talmadge, El Cerrito, Oak Park, Rolando, La Mesa, Allied Gardens, Clairemont, and Bay Park absorbed much of the post-World-War II building boom; the houses in them are newer and larger, and they have attached garages.

Our House

Now we know that “patio home” is a euphemism for a cheap condominium; “Cute Spanish charmer” is a generic description for file-box-sized houses with red tile roofs. “Needs TLC” means the house has numerous building-code violations that need to be corrected by a pricey contractor, while “Space for RV parking” denotes a house located in a rundown area where the neighbors repair motorcycles in their front yards and play heavy-metal music until sunrise.

By Gordon Smith, Sept. 24, 1987 | Read full article

I was effortlessly the center of attention. It was in keeping with all of the fairy tales I read.

Let it Be Me

“One time when I was walking through Las Colinas park, on my way to school, a man jumped out of the bushes and grabbed me, to rape me, I assume. I fought him off and ran away. I was doing nothing to provoke him. Adults, when trying to explain the event to me, said things like, ‘Well, he saw this pretty girl walking by.... It had nothing to do with you as a person.’”

By Abe Opincar, July 7, 1988 | Read full article

I was given a role in a San Diego Junior Theater production of, Lord help us, a musical version of Little Women, a role identified in the script and program as “Fat Boy.”

Sunlight Offers No Favors to Fat Boys

The turn right at Belmont Park, onto Mission Boulevard, precedes the longest stretch,The street names crawling past in the same order committed themselves to memory in sequence. Ventura, Island, Isthmus, Jamaica. Santa Barbara, Jersey, Kennebeck, Kingston. San Luis Obispo, Lido, Liverpool, Manhattan, El Carmel, Monterey, Nahant, Nantasket, San Juan, Niantic, Ormond, Ostend, Portsmouth, Pismo. Queenstown, Redondo, Rockaway, San Jose, Salem, Sunset, Tangiers, Toulon, Vanitie, San Rafael, Venice, Verona, Whiting, Windemere, Yarmouth, York, Zanzibar.

By Abe Opincar, July 2, 1992 | Read full article

When I moved to Clairemont in the fifth grade, I was suddenly being called the following: Beaner, Taco Bender, Pepper-Belly, Spic. My father had warned me about Greaser and Wetback. But these new words were spectacular and vivid.

Homeboy on the Range

After school, 1965: Spring. Wearing my idiotic St. Jude’s Academy uniform. My bright red sweater calling vatos and homeboys from miles around to come kick my ass. I had a crew cut because I thought it made me sound like James Bond in the barber shop. “What’ll it be, kid,” the old fart would say. “Crew cut,” I’d say, imagining I was puffing on a cigarette. All the stinky men in there would laugh.

By Luis Urrea, Sept. 24, 1992 | Read full article

He stood outside my bedroom window and asked me to go to the beach with him. I climbed out the window, and we drove down to Mission Bay.

Where the Surf Was Roughest

We turned onto Bonair Street. Theirs was a plain stucco house. The lawn grass bare in places and littered with toys. The planting beds were a jungle of banana trees and birds of paradise. Jane and the kids greeted us at the door. She was holding Andre, the youngest boy. His hair and eyes were light brown. The girls and Val were very blonde and blue-eyed. All were tan. Jane still looked youthful, full-breasted, and pretty.

By Mary Kathryn Vernon, Sept. 16, 1993 | Read full article

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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