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Stories by Jangchup Phelgyal

Poignant human drama in San Diego

Never Die They used birth control until Jeffry finished three years of chiropractic school, passed his preceptorship, and established a practice in San Diego. Then, in their mid-30s, with “it’s now or never” nagging them, ...

June 20, 2020
Deep into Alpine, North Park, Normal Heights, Fallbrook – and Sabre Springs

Where the Mountain Meets the Sky “We had grapes, for example. Grapes were hauled from here to the railroad station in Lakeside. We had wheat, olives, citrus fruit, barley. Chickens and turkey ranches. Also, John ...

April 12, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2000

Rancho Peñasquitos boys, charged with hate crime The teenagers shot at Roman from the Subaru with the BB gun during three or four passes. They took turns shooting at him as they drove by, but ...

January 26, 2020
Jangchup Phelgyal and the Reader

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 ...

May 26, 2019
22 Reader writers on school experiences

My first day in school was really my second day — Jangchup Phelygal The Radiators That Ticked Heat into the Room — Laura Rhoton McNeal Rear Rank Rudy — Jim Morris Forget-me-nots — Rosa Colwin ...

September 8, 2005
My first day in school was really my second day

It was September 1950, and that first day of school my brown uniform shirt scratched, the heavy corduroy pants were stiff with newness, my suspenders would not stay up, and my new shoes (bought a ...

September 8, 2005
Leontyne and Me

I met Joseph when I was 25 and he was 52, eight years younger than I am now. I shared my one-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side in New York City with night-crawling cockroaches ...

August 11, 2005
Dear People: Remembering Jonestown

“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
The California Youth Authority may come late in a delinquent's career

These are accounts of ten angry young men with nothing to lose. Mayhem at home, drugs and alcohol, gang warfare, drive-by shootings, armed robbery — even murder — and always stints behind bars with a ...

June 6, 2002
Aunt Jemima, a Sambo, and a tube of “Darkie” toothpaste

When public television’s Antiques Roadshow rolled into the convention center the last weekend in June 2001, local collectors crowed. Suddenly San Diego seemed invested, artifact-wise, with the status of a major metropolitan center like Chicago ...

May 9, 2002
Atrocious Act

Given their numbers, Mahdi said he was surprised when Oprah Winfrey interviewed Muslims for her show, a program called "Islam 101," and did not speak with one African-American.

March 7, 2002
Where are San Diego's black activists now?

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
San Diego black writer: Murr, my father, and my brothers

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, and that was the first time my ...

February 15, 2001
Olive Street residents near 30th can't get much closer, part 2

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 16, 2000
Olive Street residents near 30th can't get much closer, part 1

In 1957 an earth-fill bridge replaced the old wood-and-iron one, which had been the center of controversy for many years. San Diego youths had seen the bridge timbers as a challenge and had often made the climb.

November 9, 2000
You Might Not Think a Cat Could Hog a Whole Bed

Recently Missy had to pry the lizard's mouth open with a butter knife after he clamped down on Ruben's hand. While his teeth are small, the creature was able to break skin and draw blood.

November 9, 2000
Bird Talk

When she walks along Pacific Beach in the warm evenings of summer, Renee Lowe turns heads. The 38-year-old has long brown hair and the good looks that once made her a teen model, but it ...

August 3, 2000
29 Reader writers on their fathers

To commemorate Father's Day, this issue contains a collection of reflections from Reader writers about their fathers: The Last Tag Sale — Jeanne Schinto An Air of Exoticism — Duncan Shepherd Kinder Than I Would ...

June 15, 2000
Sugar Jones

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 in ...

June 15, 2000
Sherley Williams – from Fresno to La Jolla

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.

Honest talk with San Diegans Linda Flores and Kevin Kelly about blindness

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 ...

February 17, 2000
Marriage is Temporary, Dogs are Forever

Terry Wilson has won five Emmys for his television directing, producing, and on-camera hosting; he’s been a national martial arts champion; and his 1998 article on the Marine dogs of World War II won best-short ...

February 3, 2000
Stan and Ollie

Gary Sassaman is elusive. The 43-year-old enjoys his work as a news graphic designer for KUSI-TV; he also has good friends and likes to spend time with them. But like many artists, he seems best ...

January 20, 2000
One-legged professional with Federal Fire Department of San Diego.

He goes by both. Whether “Buddy,” the two-syllable synonym for pal, or the more mature-sounding “Bud,” the single-syllable term for what is young and unfinished, both fit. Bud McElroy, at 39, seems easygoing and uncomplicated. ...

October 7, 1999
African-Americans below the border not happy

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
San Diego author's African-American family surrounds dying brother

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
Otay Mesa prison – built to house 2200, today there are 4636

Otay Mesa is part of a vast sweep of scrub that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border as far as Texas. Donovan State Prison State Prison is located there, a huge complex of buildings 25 miles ...

September 3, 1998
Fat in San Diego: Are you known as a Two-Ton Tillie, Big Daddy, or Big Whopper?

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 — humdrum ...

February 19, 1998
Twenty-seven years of unread letters in a disabled San Diego child's family

Sheri’s brows were knitted, her lips tight. Like a scowling infant, unhappy thoughts appeared to flit over her face. The eyelids fluttered, and then her eyes opened; they were beautiful—large, a brown color flecked with gold.

November 13, 1997
Gizella Sabo: “I survived Auschwitz... for this?"

Gizella Sabo took the news hard. “I survived Auschwitz,” she said, smashing that bitter noun to smithereens. “I came out alive from that place. And for what?” she demanded. “For this?” This had turned out ...

October 30, 1997
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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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