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Best Reader stories from 1977

Carmelite nuns, wobblies, San Diego Indians, downtown pool room, Pete Wilson, Hedgecock, skywriting

Anti-wobbly demonstrators in front of old police station. "When my brother finally got back some months later, he said that what the police and vigilantes did in San Diego was the worst head busting he’d ever seen."
Anti-wobbly demonstrators in front of old police station. "When my brother finally got back some months later, he said that what the police and vigilantes did in San Diego was the worst head busting he’d ever seen."
  • A separate peace

  • What was I (a Jew — and a nonobservant one at that) doing with such a piece? I’d never spoken to a nun in my life. All I remembered of them from childhood was that my mother always insisted that seeing a lone “sister” was bad luck; and my Catholic friends had learned from their nuns that 1) I was responsible for the killing of Christ, and 2) my soul was lost — which produced in the more zealous of them a faint, nagging itch for my conversion.
  • By Connie Bruck, Feb. 3, 1977
  • How San Diego Took Care of Its Wobblies

  • On March 10, 1912, 5000 people gathered in front of the San Diego city jail at Broadway and Front Street to demand an end to the ban on public speaking and better treatment for the free speech prisoners already locked away. The police called in the fire department to disperse the crowd with 150-pound pressure hoses.
  • By David Helvarg, March 10, 1977
  • Survivors

  • "When these reservations were established, it was on land they thought they would never use," Romero says, "so they gave it to the Indians. Now with the development, with the modern roads and transport, these areas have become prime locations. So they're building around our boundary lines, pressuring from the surrounding areas."
  • By David Helvarg, April 21, 1977
The evacuation from Warner's Ranch to Pala. "We have always been here. We do not care for any other place. It may be good but is not ours. There is no other place for us."
  • They don't play like they used to

  • Mrs. Yamada, herself a good pool player, is not so unorthodox in her style, and moreover is very, very tidy. (She will not keep a cat.) If she has made a mark on her pool hall, it is a small one in the form of her neat desk at the end of the bar. Here she sits to read her National Enquirer or perhaps her copy of Rocky Tanka, the Japanese poetry magazine to which she sometimes contributes.
  • By Robert Paul, June 16, 1977
Ruby Yamada. During the war she was given a week to sell the business before she and her family were shipped on a train to Arizona.
  • Pete Wilson's aides - Otto Bos, Bob White, Larry Thomas, and others

  • The issues Wilson has chosen to push to the forefront of his campaign-tax policies, the role of public employees, California's business climate—have not yet gathered the symbolic power that Governor Jerry Brown has been able to produce almost flippantly. So his staff has presented Wilson, thus far, as solid, sure, dependable, without need for symbolism or flash.
  • By Paul Krueger, Richard Louv, July 14, 1977
Larry Thomas, Otto Bos, Pete Wilson. Thomas is the perfect advance man for Wilson’s clean-cut pugnacity; he even looks like Wilson.
  • The latest Christian worship fad – in National City

  • In one pickup truck, a teenager has his arm stretched across the seat back. The boy's hand is fondling his girlfriend’s hair, but the girl is sitting as far away from him as she can get. There’s a time and a place for everything; this may be the place, but it’s not the time.
  • By Richard Louv, July 28, 1977
"When that usher walks up to the car, everybody puts something in the cup."
To the people who like him least, Hedgecock is a walking media hype.
  • Bombs, babies, and blind spots

  • This morning, he’s running through the Supervisors’ chambers at the County Administration Center handing roses to the women, cigars to the men. He is celebrating the birth of his first child, James Webb Hedgecock. He and his wife, Cindy, named the baby after Hedgecock’s former roommate, James Webb.
  • By Richard Louv and Paul Krueger, Aug. 25, 1977
  • Psychics at the El Cortez

  • “This has never been done before,” he announces proudly. There’ve been psychic fairs before, but we’ve brought in healers . . . holistic healers ... and as many of the New Age groups as we could cram into a nonthreatening environment, so people can come and feel what’s right for them. If you wanted a psychic, where would you go?”
  • By Richard Louv, Dec. 8, 1977
  • Heaven is my billboard

  • Greg’s dad, Andy, was one of skywriting’s founding fathers, and he invented the modern form of “skytyping.” The senior Stinis also was crafty enough to patent the process, so now the family boasts that it’s the only outfit in the world with the right to “type” celestial messages.
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Sept. 1, 1977
“What you did was write the message on a piece of paper, then you’d write down the headings you’d be flying."
  • Japanese railroaded out of San Diego during WWII

  • On April 7, 1942, 1,150 residents of San Diego—men, women, and children—were placed on board a pair of 16-car railroad trains under armed military guard for evacuation to inland concentration camps. “We got on the train and they drew the curtains down. They had soldiers with bayonets guarding us. We couldn’t leave the train or even peek out behind the curtains.
  • By David Helvarg, Oct. 20, 1977
San Diego internees, Poston, Arizona, mostly old people and children.
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Anti-wobbly demonstrators in front of old police station. "When my brother finally got back some months later, he said that what the police and vigilantes did in San Diego was the worst head busting he’d ever seen."
Anti-wobbly demonstrators in front of old police station. "When my brother finally got back some months later, he said that what the police and vigilantes did in San Diego was the worst head busting he’d ever seen."
  • A separate peace

  • What was I (a Jew — and a nonobservant one at that) doing with such a piece? I’d never spoken to a nun in my life. All I remembered of them from childhood was that my mother always insisted that seeing a lone “sister” was bad luck; and my Catholic friends had learned from their nuns that 1) I was responsible for the killing of Christ, and 2) my soul was lost — which produced in the more zealous of them a faint, nagging itch for my conversion.
  • By Connie Bruck, Feb. 3, 1977
  • How San Diego Took Care of Its Wobblies

  • On March 10, 1912, 5000 people gathered in front of the San Diego city jail at Broadway and Front Street to demand an end to the ban on public speaking and better treatment for the free speech prisoners already locked away. The police called in the fire department to disperse the crowd with 150-pound pressure hoses.
  • By David Helvarg, March 10, 1977
  • Survivors

  • "When these reservations were established, it was on land they thought they would never use," Romero says, "so they gave it to the Indians. Now with the development, with the modern roads and transport, these areas have become prime locations. So they're building around our boundary lines, pressuring from the surrounding areas."
  • By David Helvarg, April 21, 1977
The evacuation from Warner's Ranch to Pala. "We have always been here. We do not care for any other place. It may be good but is not ours. There is no other place for us."
  • They don't play like they used to

  • Mrs. Yamada, herself a good pool player, is not so unorthodox in her style, and moreover is very, very tidy. (She will not keep a cat.) If she has made a mark on her pool hall, it is a small one in the form of her neat desk at the end of the bar. Here she sits to read her National Enquirer or perhaps her copy of Rocky Tanka, the Japanese poetry magazine to which she sometimes contributes.
  • By Robert Paul, June 16, 1977
Ruby Yamada. During the war she was given a week to sell the business before she and her family were shipped on a train to Arizona.
  • Pete Wilson's aides - Otto Bos, Bob White, Larry Thomas, and others

  • The issues Wilson has chosen to push to the forefront of his campaign-tax policies, the role of public employees, California's business climate—have not yet gathered the symbolic power that Governor Jerry Brown has been able to produce almost flippantly. So his staff has presented Wilson, thus far, as solid, sure, dependable, without need for symbolism or flash.
  • By Paul Krueger, Richard Louv, July 14, 1977
Larry Thomas, Otto Bos, Pete Wilson. Thomas is the perfect advance man for Wilson’s clean-cut pugnacity; he even looks like Wilson.
  • The latest Christian worship fad – in National City

  • In one pickup truck, a teenager has his arm stretched across the seat back. The boy's hand is fondling his girlfriend’s hair, but the girl is sitting as far away from him as she can get. There’s a time and a place for everything; this may be the place, but it’s not the time.
  • By Richard Louv, July 28, 1977
"When that usher walks up to the car, everybody puts something in the cup."
To the people who like him least, Hedgecock is a walking media hype.
  • Bombs, babies, and blind spots

  • This morning, he’s running through the Supervisors’ chambers at the County Administration Center handing roses to the women, cigars to the men. He is celebrating the birth of his first child, James Webb Hedgecock. He and his wife, Cindy, named the baby after Hedgecock’s former roommate, James Webb.
  • By Richard Louv and Paul Krueger, Aug. 25, 1977
  • Psychics at the El Cortez

  • “This has never been done before,” he announces proudly. There’ve been psychic fairs before, but we’ve brought in healers . . . holistic healers ... and as many of the New Age groups as we could cram into a nonthreatening environment, so people can come and feel what’s right for them. If you wanted a psychic, where would you go?”
  • By Richard Louv, Dec. 8, 1977
  • Heaven is my billboard

  • Greg’s dad, Andy, was one of skywriting’s founding fathers, and he invented the modern form of “skytyping.” The senior Stinis also was crafty enough to patent the process, so now the family boasts that it’s the only outfit in the world with the right to “type” celestial messages.
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Sept. 1, 1977
“What you did was write the message on a piece of paper, then you’d write down the headings you’d be flying."
  • Japanese railroaded out of San Diego during WWII

  • On April 7, 1942, 1,150 residents of San Diego—men, women, and children—were placed on board a pair of 16-car railroad trains under armed military guard for evacuation to inland concentration camps. “We got on the train and they drew the curtains down. They had soldiers with bayonets guarding us. We couldn’t leave the train or even peek out behind the curtains.
  • By David Helvarg, Oct. 20, 1977
San Diego internees, Poston, Arizona, mostly old people and children.
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