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Stories by Jeanne Schinto

Bidders Check Out Copley’s Library

Bidders at the fourth and final auction of the now-defunct James S. Copley Library, held at Sotheby’s in New York City on May 20, did what they had done at the previous three sales. They ...

Historic Papers in the Wind

Bidders at the auction of the now-dissolved James S. Copley Library, held at Sotheby’s in New York City on April 14, drove the price of a 75-word letter signed by one Button Gwinnett to a ...

Dusty Mother

Kate Sessions Walking Tour

“Descriptions of her say her clothes were rarely pressed and always dusty. This was someone who wasn’t into ‘fussy doodles,’ as she called any kind of societal finery. She was a straight shooter, unimpressed with titles."

Students Compete to Make a Mess

Annual Watermelon Drop at UCSD

"The students decided to have a Watermelon Drop.... And so I made it the last page of the final exam. And then in a fit of nonsense I proceeded to write an entire exam on watermelons.”

H is for Hacker

Computer outlaws at downtown San Diego's Bristol Hotel

Like many hackers, David Nakamura Hulton goes by more than one name. His other one, his handle, is h1kari. Some people say you shouldn’t ask a hacker what his handle means. Handles aren’t always meant ...

Coronado Spawns Woggle-Bug

Oz-related events in San Diego - which has so many Oz connections.

La Jolla also impressed Baum, and two of his non-Oz books are set there, The Sea Fairies and Sky Island. A third, The Scarecrow of Oz, is a hybrid. “It begins in La Jolla.

140-Mile Mistake: Railroad Museum's Living-History Presentation

Grown men play with trains in Balboa Park.

Between the place where ground was broken for the line in 1906, near the foot of 28th Street, and the eastern terminus, in El Centro, there was never land more ill-suited for train tracks.

Too Close for Comfort

When aircraft carriers dock in Coronado

"The best thing we can do is to tell people to stay inside. They’re going to be better off there than if they tried to get out of Coronado.” This is especially true if it’s an airborne hazard.

Saddam Might Boost Sales

Antique Row After-Lunch Stroll

Antique Row is well-placed, between two historical destinations, Kensington and Mission Hills, and two others. North Park and South Park, starting to gentrify. “This furniture comes out of those homes and goes right back into them.”

Slave Soldiers

San Diego veterans of World War II's Bataan Death March sue Mitsui, Mitsubishi

"I live a perfect life,” Lester Tenney told me. “I’ve been a very fortunate man.” We were sitting in the sunshine on his patio on Mount Soledad. Betty, his wife of over 40 years, had ...

Cross-Country Paradise

Saturday Hike into McCain Valley

“He was leading a funeral for one of the Indians on the reservation.. He was carrying the cross at the head of the procession, and as he was walking along, he dropped dead.”

He's Sad for Ships

Richard DeRosset was shipwrecked on the 21st of May 1977 while returning from a commercial fishing trip off the banks of San Nicolas Island. There was a stack fire on the Petrel that night. It ...

How Do You Like Our Moonscape?

San Felipe Valley awaits the deluge

As we drove through the San Felipe Valley, Ann and Tom Keenan pointed out a lone house ringed with greenery on the blackened hillside. A small circle, saved. It's one of several hundred homes that ...

Birds Squared

The San Diego Bird Atlas Project

The Keenans prowl V17.

Desperately Seeking Blondie

“It’s humbling to be beaten by Blondie,” says David Fogel, who many times has stayed up late to play checkers with her. I tell him I wouldn’t be humbled if Blondie beat me. I don’t ...

Immigrant secrets

The Ah Quin diary

Ah Quin pawned some jewelry. When he suffered general financial instability toward the end of his life, he also had to sell some of the dozen businesses in San Diego in which he was involved.

Hard-core chess fiends love Saturdays

For people who like to solve problems

The club boasts “virtually all the strongest players in San Diego County,” says Saponara, “including one of the best players in the United States” — 41-year-old Cyrus Lakdawala. “But we have players at every other level..”

Fearless Below Market

East Village walking tour

“Whenever anyone who is doing a dig for a new project, like the ballpark, comes across pottery shards and arrowheads or any interesting piece of trash, it has to be examined."

Perfect Tiki

Shelter Island is ground zero for San Diego's Polynesian pop style

In Clairemont, Bevil spotted a tiki funeral home. “It’s across from the library, which also has a slight tiki feel.” Both the library and the Mission Bay Information Center qualify as “municipal tiki,” says Bevil.

Bright Eye

San Diego's MOPA and its indefatigable Arthur Ollman

“I’m a scopophiliac, I guess,” says Arthur Ollman. “I love to look.” What the founding director of the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park loves to look at is photos. He claims his eyes ...

Removal Remembrance

Cupa days celebration

Estimates say the Cupeños never numbered over 1000. Today the Cupeños, combined with the Luiseños, on whose land the Cupeños were relocated, have a combined membership of under 900.

Critic of Inward City

Leaning West by James Hubbell

“San Diego doesn’t have the faith in itself that a place like New York or San Francisco has,” he said. “It’s partly the result of history. San Diego turned in on itself when the railroad went to Los Angeles.”


At the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, bathed in a strange orange light, George Lewis guides a reporter through a gallery of sludge pipes. Later this afternoon, Lewis — the composer, trombonist-improviser, computer musician, and ...

Pio Pico's Disastrous Addiction

The man who sold San Juan Capistrano

While he was governor, from 1845 to 1846, he sold or leased the missions. He needed the money to run things. He sold the mission at San Juan Capistrano to his brother-in-law for $750.

A Freeway Breaks Lemon Groves Heart

Building State Route 125

Many spared structures were damaged, Ofield says. Worse, from her point of view, the greatest upheaval occurred in the oldest and most historic part of tiny Lemon Grove. One house is a Tudor revival from the 1920s.

Come Back Alive

The history of soaring in San Diego

Fogel names San Diegan John J. Montgomery as the first American to fly a glider. “He was the first American to fly, period, here in San Diego, in 1883. But he isn’t famous because he was secretive about it.”

Chess at a Run: Orienteering Orientation

Gookin-aide inventor turns from marathons to following maps

"When I was running, I would say [to running buddies], ‘Oh, look! A wild canary!’” Or he’d urge them to notice flowers in bloom. “And they’d say, ‘Shut up, Gookin, and run.’"

Secrets of the Dome-Dwellers

Learn about the lifestyles of local Native Americans

“They didn’t own parcels of land, but did have one pseudo property right — the acorn tree. Often, a tree would be owned by a family and passed down. Uncommon but not unknown were acorn wars.”

Farewell, Worshipful Objects

The tenor saxophone player is missing. While someone tries to call him on a cell phone, the horn players clear their throats and the other ensemble members make the familiar, cacophonous sounds of musical instruments ...

The Last Tag Sale

I help Dad move out before he remarries.

I notice he has thrown away some color slides — family pictures. The bag breaks and they spill out. I don’t say anything, just pick them up off the driveway and put them in a ...

Pioneer in Oceanside

Oceanside Museum of Art takes over Irving Gill city hall

Pessimists! Like the poor, they’re always with us. When people started to promote the notion of an Oceanside Museum of Art about five years ago, James Pahl, director of that museum today, recalls, “About half ...

What the Ears Love

San Diego high-fidelity fanatics

“I took up car stereo seriously about a year ago. What’s required is good speakers and digital signal processing. I have a big subwoofer in the trunk. Oh, and you have to have a very quiet car.” 

How to Grow Your Own Tiny Forest

San Diego Bonsai Club's annual spring show

“A natural bonsai is a tree that has grown in a very rugged environment and is naturally stunted.” Jackson collected some of his in Jacumba. California junipers; they are 500 or 600 years old.

Radical Whole-Wheat Architecture

David Owen Dryden's shingled bungalows on 28th Street

The greatest number of Dryden houses are in North Park, between 28th Street and Pershing. Covington counts 18 of them in a four-block area. He lives in one on the comer of 28th and Myrtle.

Swiss-Cheese Desert

Our Fill-in-the-Blanks State Park

Lichens that grow in the desert are one of his recent photo subjects. They’re not a life form readily associated with badlands. But Smith has found them “in the shaded areas, often unnoticed.”

Three-D San Diego: The Closest Thing to Time Travel

Our city in depth.

I am sitting in a house overlooking the ocean in Solana Beach. The woman who lives here, video and computer artist Vibeke Sorensen, has just been complaining about the military helicopters that regularly fly into ...

No Clock in the Forest

Timeless San Diego

Joseph Jessop had also considered New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, after studying weather reports.. But some acreage in what is now Scripps Ranch had proved irresistible to him, even sight unseen.

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