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Stories by Jennifer Ball

She Hated Adverbs

And she didn't suffer fools gladly.

I knew Judith Moore only through her voice: a baritone with a slight Southern accent. And I knew her writing. The first time I spoke to Judith -- in early 1997 -- she called me ...

When the Loud Bell Rang

22 Reader writers on school

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 ...

Second Day of 7th Grade

My parents let me cut home ec.

The second day of seventh grade, the students of my new junior high were having a sit-in in the library over open campus. There were about 40 of them on the floor between the stacks, ...

My Junior High High

James Taylor was the soundtrack for my adolescence. I would sit in the living room and play his records over and over on our big console while I tried to imagine what anyone would ever ...


The woman we never forget.

"Careful, Ma; don't spill your soup," I warned. "First time you spill, that's it — you're going to the home.” Mom's reply was immediate. "I know. I've picked out what I want to take with me."

Rage to Kill

I haven't spoken to her in eight years, ever since she threw a scene at Taco Auctioneer in Cardiff.

I think I got my perfect pitch from my mother's side of the family. I got my anger from her side too. I call it the curse of perfect pitch. Or the chip-on-the-shoulder gene. My ...

A La Costa gibbon saves a marriage

When I think of La Costa, I remember the wildlife — the skunk that lived under our house, for instance, a beautiful creature whose size would double when it puffed up its fur after it ...

Jefferson Jay

Jefferson Jay is getting a master's degree in history from San Diego State (he says his thesis will be on "mass media interpretations of Haight-Ashbury during 1967"), but he'll be singing songs and playing the ...

Solana Beach

I discovered Solana Beach because of a pig — well, two pigs, actually — Sporky and Frances Bacon. Frances (name variation because she was female) lived on the middle Barbara in Solana Beach. Before I ...

You Don’t Have to Like Him

"You’re right. I’m just no good. I’m such a bastard.”

This Father’s Day I won’t send my father a card. I won’t see him, I won’t call him. I probably won’t think much about him. I’m being paid to think about him now. It’s not ...

No one compares me to other famous French horn rock and rollers

The life of our band, Free-range Chickens

My husband and I are in a rock band. It keeps us married. Well, that and the psychiatrist we see monthly. We used to see her weekly, but after ten years, we’re on the maintenance ...

People related to you by jury-rigged means

Community Cousins tries to build bridges

I’m white. I admit that because it’s not something white people have had to think about. (Okay, it’s a stereotype, but one I can get away with, being white.) We haven’t had to think about ...

If I Had a Sledgehammer for a Nose, What Havoc Would I Wreak?

Sporky, the porcine pest

My pig discovered glass today. He understood there was some insurmountable clear space he didn't understand, nor could he get through. Nothing more complicated than a sliding glass door to you and me, but to ...

What’s Ben and Jerry’s newest flavor?

What did these Deadheads give back to my community? Mess. Noise.Traffic. Bad LSD.

I’d heard the news by 9:00 a.m. Jerry Garcia had been found dead of natural causes at a rehab center in Marin. A former roommate who currently lives in L.A. had called me to gloat ...

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