From the Archives

Select stories from over 40 years of the Reader.
To search the archives, use the site search or visit the issue archives.

San Diego Union-Tribune — the Copley era

Helen and David Copley, Eileen Jackson, Neil Morgan and Walter Cronkite, Mayor O’Connor’s slumming in Balboa Park

The Last Rewrite That night I spoke to winos and street types who talked about murder, to councilmen and cops who spoke of shooting “to incapacitate,” and to people at the Knickerbocker Hotel who knew ...

Literary life

San Diego poets, Henry Miller, John Steinbeck, Jeff Weinstein, John Brizzolara, Dave Zielinski, Rick DeMarinis, author memorabilia at UCSD

The Debris of What You Really Do When I was in high school, the Summer of Love hit, and grudgingly I became a hippie, tried to pull off laid-back when in my heart of hearts ...

San Diego's other media

San Diego Magazine’s sugar daddy, Scripps magnate in San Diego, the L.A. Times challenges U-T, then leaves, underground press, Padres send catfish to Reader office

Mr. Jello Will See You Now While we have been talking, the sun has been relentless, but Jack remains impervious to my discomfort in my heavy clothing. At one point, I ask whether I can ...

San Diego's public servants

County coroner, cops on guns and behind-scenes talk, Imperial Avenue firemen, game wardens, weathermen, metermen, mailmen

Dead Reckoning The coroner’s longest day on the job was, of course. September 25. 1978, the day of PSA Flight 182. When the airliner crashed at 9:04 that morning. Stark was in his office, finishing ...

San Diego in the '50s and '60s

Polio panic, San Diego bay full of sewage, Arnholt Smith takes Pat Nixon aside, Joe McCarthy vacations in La Jolla, a big shark attack at La Jolla Cove

The Polio Years I began to wonder whether I would just be a cripple the rest of my life or permanently stretched out in an iron lung. While I lay moaning in the back seat ...

San Diegans invite Reader writer Matthew Lickona to their homes

Divorced dad and son in RB, an academic widow, domesticated husband, Rasta family, black-eyed peas, a disabled misanthrope, Encinitas house full of antiques, Santee Amtrak conductor, open house sneak

Survivors “[I said,] ‘You know what I do? You have to get the ickies out, otherwise, it’s going to eat you up inside and make you feel horrible.’ So she and I would be driving ...

San Diego, surfing epicenter

Mike Doyle and the early '60s, Coronado kid gets thrashed in Hawaii, complete surf glossary, surfing guide to Baja, early days of surf movies, Rusty Preisendorfer’s success as shaper and marketer

Shifting Sands The boaters are all for the proposed harbor expansion. Many of them surf themselves, or are ex-surfers who switched to boating in their later years — but they say surfing is a "one-on-one" ...

The mafia in San Diego

Prohibition, WWII, notorious Kensington murder, struggle for power in L.A., close look at violent but proper Frank Bompensiero through his daughter Mary Ann

Dynamite Is What They Mostly Used Although nothing here was organized previous to World War II, “back East and up North” various crime figures began to realize that San Diego would “be a very lucrative ...

Local literary stories

Jim Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Alexander Theroux, Janet Flanner, Max Miller, Amy Gerstler, Ken Kuhlken, Tom Larson, Nathanael West, Emily Dickinson

God’s Country Remembered My wife and I are driving up El Cajon Boulevard. It hasn’t changed much, not really. Businesses come and go (there wasn’t anything remotely like the Hung Vuong Pho restaurant back then), ...

Judith Moore's emotional life

Alone with grammy, death of a classmate, deep love of dog, a desperate writer, Thanksgiving for waifs, direct letter to reader

Unafraid of Virginia Woolf On the morning we met, he lit my cigarette and his, a nonfilter Pall Mall (you could still smoke then, at the library's front desk), with a quivering hand from which ...

San Diego before 1850

Stubborn Californios, exploited and violent Indians, early life on the Presidio, why the name California, Coronado was a wedding gift

The Great Families Who Created This Town Are Still Angry “I’d rather have a monarchy than a republic. The majority of people here cannot rule themselves. We Californios didn’t support the idea of the Mexican ...

San Diego and its SEALs

Navy SEALs in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Coronado, SEAL deaths, fakes exposed

Seals A girl was called (sometimes you can still hear it in Coronado) a toad. As in "Hey, there were a lot of good lookin' toads at Bully's last Thursday" or "Hey, where's my toad; ...

Gringos in Baja

Adventurers, seekers, do-gooders, speculators, linguists

A Quiet Place South of Here The sea urchin is a major object of the villager’s sea harvesting. The wind and sea are calm enough for harvesting sea urchins fewer than half the days of ...

Essays on fatherhood

I was looking forward to trying to raise a saint

I Have Purchased a Grey Cardigan Sweater My wife and I fell in love over wine, bourbon, and cognac. We attended a college with a dry campus, and many evenings were spent sitting in my ...

Autobiographical glimpses

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

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 ...

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