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Best Reader stories from 1973

Witches, SEALS, commune, Japanese in San Diego, built on the Tijuana dump, Pump House Gang, Tom Shaw, encounter groups

"The first six people picked up the pies and threw them at the crowd."
"The first six people picked up the pies and threw them at the crowd."
  • Serious witches in San Diego

  • Force claimed he had played a role, witch-wise, in the indictment of San Diego's former Mayor Curran and his staff, in the Yellow Cab Scandal. “A friend of mine, Jodi Bohmert, who worked in the Mayor's office, was fired. She said to me, 'boy, I'd like to see them brought up before the Grand Jury'
  • By Connie Bruck, Nov. 1, 1973
One of the people on Force's list was a woman in La Jolla who “owns half of Ocean Beach,” he said. She was hesitant, didn't want her name used, but said that witchcraft is her religion – she practices by herself.
  • More House commune funded by real estate inflation

  • There was Nate, on his way to hang another set of valances, Nate the valance man in his van bumping along behind me up the dirt roads in the back-hills of Rancho Santa Fe. We pulled into the circular drive of the old Spanish mansion together, me and Nate, and we both took in the Lincoln Continentals, and the butler in black and whites washing down one of the Cadillac convertibles.
  • By Connie Bruck, Sept. 6, 1973
There are about fifty More Houses in the country, divided into classes “A” and “B." Directors, those who have risen in the hierarchy, live in “A-Houses," such as this Spanish mansion in Rancho Santa Fe. “B-houses” are in the city and open to serve the public. “We have a B-house in National City.”
  • Ah Soy!

  • At UCSD, for Ogawa to be a Japanese means his speaking humbly and politely to his Japanese professor while interacting on a first-name basis with his white professors. At home, true to Japanese tradition, there is no babysitter or women's lib, yet Mrs. Ogawa has been hired as tutor of Japanese by UCSD.
  • By Gale Fox, Aug. 30, 1973
  • Too Outrageous for La Jolla

  • Beach People say old surfers never die. They dry up like some sunbaked seaweed and are blown away by the offshore breeze. Before their end, they may move the knotty knees inland to manufacture surfboards or promote surfing films. Or they may even trade the salt air and freedom for classrooms or bureaucratic jobs. But whatever did happen to the La Jolla surfers immortalized by Tom Wolfe in his book, The Pump House Gang?
  • By Jane Weisman, July 19, 1973
The Pump House Gang in 1965. “It sort of began in December when Leonard Anderson came down to the beach and shot his girlfriend Donna because she wouldn’t marry him. We all watched as he shot her and then shot himself.”
  • San Martin used to be the dump for all Tijuana

  • We sit in the outer room of the Clinica San Martin, trading words like amulets. Each one, an additive charm, wards off the silence of estrangement, builds bridges of humor at the difficulty of our situation. Niño, child, carro, car. What grand illusion ever made me think I could enter this small suburb of Tijuana where nearly no one speaks any English and find out what these people are like, what is their life?
  • By Connie Bruck, Aug. 16, 1973
  • A right to sing the blues

  • National City--Z Street is a dead end street. And at the end of it is Tom Shaw’s house. It is a rambling, mismatched two-story structure, white paint peeling off the bottom half, a layer of pink stucco above that, and two elaborate Doric columns framing the formal entrance. A rickety white picket fence surrounds the dusty front yard, a ’55 gold Cadillac with a black dog asleep on its hood is parked on the dirt out front.
  • By Connie Bruck, July 5, 1973
Tom Shaw: “He walked six or seven steps, said, ‘Wolf, you done killed me,’ then he turned, walked three more steps, said ‘Wolf, you done killed me’ and he fell down and bled to death."
  • Touchy feely

  • I first heard about sensitivity groups when i was a junior in college. A friend of mine who had just returned from a weekend of "encounter" came up to me, grabbed men, stared intently into my eyes and blurted, "Frank! I really like you! You know that, don't you?"
  • By Frank Harrison, Feb. 22, 1973
"I'm telling you, everyone in real estate is honest, you have to be, they really watch you. I really help people."
  • Real Seals

  • The war in Vietnam really touched San Diego. It was here in San Diego that the largest number of wives became West Pac widows and POW wives, where the most war-bound ships left from and returned to, and where the largest number of POWs came back to. But it was also here that the going and company of GIs and the eat-drink-and-be-merry, rollicky fatalism from 1964 to 1970 brought to some parts of town the ambience of World War II Mickey Rooney movies.
  • By Carlos Bey, April 12, 1973
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Sanctified and glorified at Encanto Southern Baptist Church

Life is important on this side of death, but what really matters is eternity.
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A poem for Independence Day by Francis Scott Key

His poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” became the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner”
"The first six people picked up the pies and threw them at the crowd."
"The first six people picked up the pies and threw them at the crowd."
  • Serious witches in San Diego

  • Force claimed he had played a role, witch-wise, in the indictment of San Diego's former Mayor Curran and his staff, in the Yellow Cab Scandal. “A friend of mine, Jodi Bohmert, who worked in the Mayor's office, was fired. She said to me, 'boy, I'd like to see them brought up before the Grand Jury'
  • By Connie Bruck, Nov. 1, 1973
One of the people on Force's list was a woman in La Jolla who “owns half of Ocean Beach,” he said. She was hesitant, didn't want her name used, but said that witchcraft is her religion – she practices by herself.
  • More House commune funded by real estate inflation

  • There was Nate, on his way to hang another set of valances, Nate the valance man in his van bumping along behind me up the dirt roads in the back-hills of Rancho Santa Fe. We pulled into the circular drive of the old Spanish mansion together, me and Nate, and we both took in the Lincoln Continentals, and the butler in black and whites washing down one of the Cadillac convertibles.
  • By Connie Bruck, Sept. 6, 1973
There are about fifty More Houses in the country, divided into classes “A” and “B." Directors, those who have risen in the hierarchy, live in “A-Houses," such as this Spanish mansion in Rancho Santa Fe. “B-houses” are in the city and open to serve the public. “We have a B-house in National City.”
  • Ah Soy!

  • At UCSD, for Ogawa to be a Japanese means his speaking humbly and politely to his Japanese professor while interacting on a first-name basis with his white professors. At home, true to Japanese tradition, there is no babysitter or women's lib, yet Mrs. Ogawa has been hired as tutor of Japanese by UCSD.
  • By Gale Fox, Aug. 30, 1973
  • Too Outrageous for La Jolla

  • Beach People say old surfers never die. They dry up like some sunbaked seaweed and are blown away by the offshore breeze. Before their end, they may move the knotty knees inland to manufacture surfboards or promote surfing films. Or they may even trade the salt air and freedom for classrooms or bureaucratic jobs. But whatever did happen to the La Jolla surfers immortalized by Tom Wolfe in his book, The Pump House Gang?
  • By Jane Weisman, July 19, 1973
The Pump House Gang in 1965. “It sort of began in December when Leonard Anderson came down to the beach and shot his girlfriend Donna because she wouldn’t marry him. We all watched as he shot her and then shot himself.”
  • San Martin used to be the dump for all Tijuana

  • We sit in the outer room of the Clinica San Martin, trading words like amulets. Each one, an additive charm, wards off the silence of estrangement, builds bridges of humor at the difficulty of our situation. Niño, child, carro, car. What grand illusion ever made me think I could enter this small suburb of Tijuana where nearly no one speaks any English and find out what these people are like, what is their life?
  • By Connie Bruck, Aug. 16, 1973
  • A right to sing the blues

  • National City--Z Street is a dead end street. And at the end of it is Tom Shaw’s house. It is a rambling, mismatched two-story structure, white paint peeling off the bottom half, a layer of pink stucco above that, and two elaborate Doric columns framing the formal entrance. A rickety white picket fence surrounds the dusty front yard, a ’55 gold Cadillac with a black dog asleep on its hood is parked on the dirt out front.
  • By Connie Bruck, July 5, 1973
Tom Shaw: “He walked six or seven steps, said, ‘Wolf, you done killed me,’ then he turned, walked three more steps, said ‘Wolf, you done killed me’ and he fell down and bled to death."
  • Touchy feely

  • I first heard about sensitivity groups when i was a junior in college. A friend of mine who had just returned from a weekend of "encounter" came up to me, grabbed men, stared intently into my eyes and blurted, "Frank! I really like you! You know that, don't you?"
  • By Frank Harrison, Feb. 22, 1973
"I'm telling you, everyone in real estate is honest, you have to be, they really watch you. I really help people."
  • Real Seals

  • The war in Vietnam really touched San Diego. It was here in San Diego that the largest number of wives became West Pac widows and POW wives, where the most war-bound ships left from and returned to, and where the largest number of POWs came back to. But it was also here that the going and company of GIs and the eat-drink-and-be-merry, rollicky fatalism from 1964 to 1970 brought to some parts of town the ambience of World War II Mickey Rooney movies.
  • By Carlos Bey, April 12, 1973
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A poem for Independence Day by Francis Scott Key

His poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” became the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner”
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