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Stories by Joe Applegate

Best Reader stories from 1990

Hale telescope, hunting Chinese pandas for Roosevelts, Richard Henry Dana, MCRD, famous San Diegans recite poetry, TJ torture, Jorge Hank, running drugs for Uncle Sam, Lamb's Players, Brute Krulak

The Hale blinks Twilight has ebbed to a fringe of lapis on the western horizon, and the stars spin slowly as the dome of the 200-inch Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain blinks awake. Bob Thicksten, ...

Best Reader stories from 1983

San Diego in WWII, bodysurfers, Skip Frye, deep look at San Diego Zoo, Zane Parzen

From San Diego's 41st Street, Japan was a more odious enemy than Germany I may be the youngest San Diegan to remember the Second World War, especially the time immediately following the attack on Pearl ...

Best Reader stories from 1982

Unwanted pregnancy, bad accident in Baja, alcohol and Indians, Sol Price, Fred Schnaubelt, Florence Chadwick, San Diego's version of Tarahumara runner

What on earth am I settling for “Goddamnit,” said Jane one evening about six months ago when I answered the door of our apartment in Golden Hill and found her on the stoop, Jeanne sliding ...

Best Reader stories from 1981

A San Diego bookie, Jacquelyn Littlefield, Fidel's and Prophet restaurants, Jerry Herrera, cystic fibrosis, Gustavo Romero, San Diego's biggest cattleman

Postcards From Western Civilization Some years ago at Christmastime, when I was a teller at a bank downtown, I came to know Wayne Boyer, who was then an apprentice bum. I met him in the ...

Best Reader stories from 1980

Del Mar Man, Guadalupe Island, Pacific Southwest Airlines, Harry Partch

On the path of the old ones It’s now ten years, almost to the day, since an amateur archaeologist discovered what seemed to be extraordinarily old stone tools in a canyon above Mission Valley, and ...

Best Reader stories from 1979

Ace Parking , San Diego Zoo, OMBAC, Burlingame, Carl Rogers, Hare Krishnas, Colorado River at Easter, local pelicans and DDT, Salton Sea, Maureen O'Connor, gringos who play for TJ's Potros

Park there, pay here On the afternoon of the All-Star baseball game in July, Evan Jones was standing on top of one of those pedestrian towers that corkscrew up the side of San Diego Stadium. ...

Best Reader stories from 1978

Camp Pendleton, kelp, Mike Stamm, Morey boogie boards, Michael Copley, Chris O'Rourke, bottom scratchers, Jacumba

From Spanish rancho to hard-core Marines In 1942, the Ninth Marine Division marched in and took over what had been the Santa Margarita y Las Flores Ranch. The Second World War had begun and the ...

University City – UCSD's bedrooms

Trolley, Regents Road Bridge, San Clemente Canyon, Miramar jets, traffic

No trolley in my backyard A group of neighborhood conservationists in University City are hoping to put the brakes on a plan to extend trolley service from downtown San Diego's Santa Fe Depot to a ...

Stories hidden inside the San Diego Reader, part 2

San Diego's explosives man, Baja tragedy, rock art southwest of Jacumba, Chinese in San Diego

Editor: The following feature stories appeared in the interior pages of the Reader in the 1970s and 1980s and have just been converted to digital form. My Triumph, my defeat Five years later I still ...

Stories hidden inside the San Diego Reader

Ventura Place, rock art, Brenda Starr, Vietnamese poets

Editor: The following feature stories appeared in the interior pages of the Reader in the 1970s and 1980s and have just been converted to digital form. Meditations while riding San Diego Transit “Yes, these people ...

When Richard Henry Dana returned to Point Loma

As we round Point Loma .

On the 22nd of August, 1859, the little steamer Senator called at San Diego with passengers from Los Angeles. It rounded the point under the lighthouse and entered the harbor’s narrow channel at about 8:00 ...

The small airports of North San Diego County

Flaps down to Fallbrook

Harry Aberle died in the Pitts Special. He crashed after takeoff while Yvonne watched from in front of the hangar. "The only other witness said he was doing an aerobatic maneuver, but I know he wasn't.”

Books: Sandra Dijkstra, what teachers read, play scripts, baseball, airplane books

I felt like running to him and offering my support, shouting. “Neil! Neil Simon! Compadre!”

I’m Talking Monster Books Amy had a title on this book. She called it Wind and Water. She was using the theme of the I Ching. I looked at these synopses of the stories, and ...

Steinbeck, Bergman, Alan Ayckbourn as script writers

The suspense is gone the second time, but there’s twice as much pleasure.

Plays are short enough to allow for re-reading. The suspense is gone the second time, but there’s twice as much pleasure in interpretation once you know where the characters are going.

Lamb's Players Theatre – like a commune but...

Everybody onstage for the forgiveness and reconciliation number

One thing Robert Smyth likes about his used Merkur is that it's a turbocharged car with no sign on it saying "turbocharged." Power without show: that's Smyth (he pronounces it "Smith"). At 40, he is ...

Camp Barrett parolees comb Mt. Palomar for hunter

The unlikely rescue

For an hour and a half, 80-year-old Tony Carrasco had been waiting for a deer to pass within range of his old bolt-action Remington, but now he was getting bored. It was a splendid morning ...

Ropers prep for Brawley cattle call

You don't have long to get it done right

If he wanted to get ahead in rodeo he'd have to make the commitment to travel. He'd been told as much m a roping class he'd taken in Brawley "Get out of the valley,” said Taylor, summarizing the instruction.

Reader writers: the story I wanted to write... but didn't

“Maybe an animal story”

Sandy and a girlfriend had gone into a liquor store, robbed the clerk, They locked the clerk in a walk-in cooler. Sandy started feeling bad about the guy. She went back and let him out.

Down the lane with Jacob Dekema

The man they named the 805 after gives a San Diego freeway tour

He takes it for granted that suburbs are great. “We built these freeways, and they’re not generating less trips, they’re generating more. More freedom. People want to live out away from the city and drive in to work.

Our twin daughters get audition call from Hollywood

Maybe this would start the kids on a glamorous, lucrative career in modeling.

Since I'm the cook of the house, if the phone should ring around dinner time my wife Jane answers it — unless there's a Padres game on TV and we've broken for a commercial message. ...

University City is booming. But will it explode?

The growl of bulldozers Is the sound of money

Just about everything this city knows about suburban living (comparable to what Milwaukee knows about beer) has gone into the making of the southern end of University city, ten miles south of downtown and a ...

Gospel music at St. Stephen's and Calvary Baptist

A seven-minute stretch of repeating the phrase “I just can’t stop”

“Those of you who don’t go to church, don’t think we’re funny when we clap and shout,” said Ann Murray to us who had come to hear an afternoon of gospel music. “’Cause when we ...

The last days of Encinitas' Danny Dean Wilson

Requiem for a rebel

In relationships of all kinds, Danny liked to stir things up. “You’d be sitting there listening to the radio and he’d pick it up and throw it past your head,” said someone who knew him only slightly. ‘

Skip Frye Is Still Stoked

A legendary local surfer rides the middle-aged waves

If a surfer wants a medium short board of six to seven feet, or an old fashioned board of eight feet or longer, and he wants Skip Frye to shape it for him, Frye will ...

Augustinian priests take over San Ysidro's low-income Villa Nueva

“It’s East Berlin, man.”

He was eighteen, maybe nineteen years old, with cola eyes and whiskerless brown skin, and his hair, which was swept back in an impeccable bubble, was black with a brown sheen. With calm disdain he ...

Chauncy Jerabek, the San Diego tree man

Beneath the bunya-bunya

He was charged with planting and maintaining the parkland trees. Most of the trees in Balboa Park, and many of those in other public places — Old Town, for one — were planted by Jerabek.

Chinese refugees swarm Chung Hwa School

Chinatown distorts the type of people we are.

One bright Saturday morning this winter near the Black Frog restaurant in Southeast San Diego, a Volkswagen pulled off Forty-seventh Street and entered the parking lot of a modest and unadorned church. From the car ...

Golden Hill apartment too small for kids

So we didn't knock around Europe this year. Had some kids. Got a loan. Bought a home.

‘‘And you know you’ll have to borrow twice as much from your parents to buy the Cedar Street house?” ‘‘Sure.” ‘‘And you’re going to ask them?” ‘‘God,” I said, “it’s an investment. What are parents for?”

San Diego bungalows: Tudor, Dutch, French, Moorish, Egyptian, Spanish, and Mission.

Life on the courts

Ron Wigginton, a young landscape designer who leads a well-ordered life, was out roaming the streets of Hillcrest one day four years ago, suddenly on the lookout for a place to live. His rent on ...

The ABC Club - thorn in Gaslamp development

Eight ball in the corner pocket

To promote the development of the Gaslamp Quarter he once asked Mrs. Yamada if she were interested in selling. She replied with a quiet word about wanting to keep going for a year or two.

Before there was Comic-con, there was Pacific Comics

Two boys and their comic books

In June of 1974, when Steve Schanes was twenty years old and Bill, his brother, was fifteen, they opened their first store, on Cass Street in Pacific Beach, to sell old and new comic books ...

Tales of the Black Frog nightclub

Ambition and tragedy in Southeast San Diego

The Frog booked jazz: the clientele found it closer to home than Chuck's Steakhouse in La Jolla, and the neighborhood seemed safer than the Crossroads’ on Market Street, downtown.

John Theobald – friend of Frost and Alan Watts – ends up at San Diego State

What greater curse than life without verse

“He was truly one of the better teachers at San Diego State,” said Daniel McLeod, chairman of the department of English and comparative literature, who attended classes at the college and heard Theobald lecture in 1949.

My wife has twins at Kaiser by c-section

Thoughts on the meaning of new lives and new loves and near death

What was curious about the nurse as she moved expertly about the room, preparing my wife for surgery, was that her forearm was in a fresh cast. I noticed that it didn't hinder her in ...

San Diego girl's joke marriage to foreigner

You may now kiss off the bride

Darlene for many years has lived alone in a flight-path apartment. She’s as independent as one can be these days: she upholsters her own furniture, takes long solo vacations in her van. She is in ...

On patrol with SDPD's Sergeant Anderson

You can give someone a fatal wound and that person can still go ahead and empty his gun into you

I guess the first thing I try to tell people when I stop them is what I thought they were doing wrong. They see the flashing lights in their rearview mirror and a lot of ...

Reader writer has twins, buys Plymouth Signet

Good-bye to the 1965 Rambler

I have ridden in a Deux Chevaux and so I know a little of what James Bond and the G-girl were going through. The gear shift is weird; it comes straight out of the dash.

Writer takes in guy he meets at Jack in the box on Broadway

Postcards From Western Civilization

I invited him for dinner and bought two quarts of Miller, some frozen dinners, and a bottle of catsup. We ate on the living room floor by the heater, Wayne first drinking his beer.

Indians kill Father Luis Jaume in Mission Valley

Faith, fire, and blood

I am Father Luis Jaume, but to spare you the difficulty of pronouncing my last name, please think of me as Father Luis. On the morning of November 5, 1775, at thirty-five years of age ...

Imperial Valley arson and a boy named Angel

The haystack fires in Holtville

The arson suspect was nineteen years old and had short black hair, brown-yellow eyes, and a wide, plump face. He was sitting in the corner stall of the visiting room of the Imperial County jail ...

22nd and Market gets crosswalk, 24th and Market doesn't

Our Lady of Angels elders say they will do the traffic count themselves

It is an intersection that only God could love. Market and Twenty-fourth streets: its sidewalks are stuck about with telephone poles, shadeless palms, and a few eugenias trimmed into skinny trees; its corners are occupied ...

The young Southeast San Diego parolee

A young man, a troubled life

One cloudy morning in July of 1978, I drove Mrs. Beatrice Walker See and her family to visit the reformatory in Whittier where Mrs. See's son was an inmate. His name (not his real one, ...

Imagine you are Wallace Stevens in North Park

A step closer to suburbia

The house sits up from Juniper Street in North Park on a square of lawn girdled by pink cinderblock. The gables above the front door and window make the house look slightly exotic — English or Bavarian.

UCSD art history student chants during rape

In the heat of a summer night last year, a crime was committed

No dwelling escapes coincidence. There's a thick-walled apartment building in Hillcrest, one with just enough character in its tiles to make the rest of it look better for being rundown, where I lived for a ...

In Baja I learned the secrets of fording streams, digging clams, growing pot

Fisherman's knot

Beyond this was a tall, guano-covered rock, where a few dozen black cormorants were sitting in even rows on a slope like keys on an adding machine — if that isn’t too farfetched.

The rise of Ace Parking's Jones family

Park there, pay here

On the afternoon of the All-Star baseball game in July, Evan Jones was standing on top of one of those pedestrian towers that corkscrew up the side of San Diego Stadium. Jones is the owner ...

Bad neighbors and quick burglars in City Heights

Anything else missing?

“Hurry up and get your work done, so I can clean up this mess,” said Anne, a nineteen-year-old journalist in East San Diego. “Well excuse me!” replied the policeman who had just walked into her ...

Some People in This Town Don't Like Herman Baca

The National City godfather of San Diego Chicanos

Baca says that Mexican-Americans have been “colonized,” severed from their culture, and dominated by a class that profits from them. Yet Baca himself doesn’t seem much damaged by this colonization, not outwardly at least.

Got to know Dad in La Paz and Cabo San Lucas

A cheap vacation

I might have forced the money on him, but the day was too young to be ruined, and we had a four-hour bus ride ahead of us. Dad always wins because it’s not only easier to give in, it’s cheaper.

KGB Radio's Jim Morris filed every story but his own

Final report

When he died four months ago. James Edward Morris. Jr., had his fingers on top of the wall that successful people stand on. He was climbing, then he fell. Thirty-one years old, he had just ...

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