André had always spoken of the possibility of a miracle. Maybe he never stopped believing in one.
Born Hawkins Mitchell in Southeast San Diego and sent to St. Augustine High School, he was a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford. He began writing feature stories for the Reader at the urging of Judith Moore in the mid-1990s. In the late '90s, Mitchell became Jangchup Phelgyal after converting to Buddhism.
Editor's picks of Phelgyal's stories he wrote for the Reader:
By the time I turned onto Olive Street, it was well after ten and the street was quiet.
Photo by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
- Between 1903 and 1909, the trolley expanded into the area east of Balboa Park. Thirtieth Street became the route, and a bridge was built to extend the street across Switzer Canyon, from Laurel to Olive. (November 9 and 16, 2000)
- “A child who had just gotten to Jonestown, writing back to a friend, ended his letter with a request: ‘Please send me gum.’” (July 14, 2005)
- Members of the United Domestic Workers have packed the main chamber and spilled into rooms across the hall and upstairs. When the vote is taken, Fahari Jeffers and Ken Seaton-Msemaji are seated in the paneled main chambers .(January 31, 2002)
- My mother parked the truck on my foot three hours after my father told me that he loved me. It was March 1965, I was 20 years old. (February 15, 2001)
Jangchup Phelgyal (right)
For a whole year — beginning in 1959 — I stole from my father and I never got caught. I was 14 years old, a freshman at Saint Augustine’s High School on Nutmeg Street. (June 15, 2000)
Sherley Anne Williams and son Malcolm, c. 1973. Sherley had showed up for her UCSD interview with Malcolm, then three years old. “Sherley’s willingness to go it alone was a part of her character.”
- Sherley and I were the same age, both of us writers, both of us descendants of slaves. In 1966 we became the first in our respective families to graduate from college. (April 13, 2000)
- They were being murdered by the light. I watched and said nothing. When we began our lunch, the sun was just burnishing the windowsill. It was a hot day and Linda had left the window open. (February 17, 2000)
- The restaurant was a rambling wood affair with families crammed together and happily intent over their plates until that rumba line of black men – a half dozen of them – began to snake between ... (May 13, 1999)
- The medical team in Tijuana had told André that blood transfusions would give him strength. Back at Kaiser, he had two and found they did. I was there when he came home after his third transfusion. (December 23, 1998)
"If I can ever stop one person from picking on a fat kid, I will."
Photo by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
- The ad was a big mistake. It was meant as a call to overweight men and women willing to talk about what it means to be fat. Pot bellies, love handles, slow-spreading thighs. (February 19, 1998)