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Stories by Joe Applegate

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 ...

San Diego marriage licenses between1973 and 1977 dropped 12 percent

Why knot?

“We’re both in the Navy, and our pay is supposed to go up when we’re married. The housing allowance is higher for married couples. Then there’s insurance, which is bound to go down. "

A bump on the head could kill Chris O'Rourke

But so could a life without waves.

Here at Windansea Beach in La Jolla, surfers prefer the Vespa motor scooter for solo transportation. This is a low, fat motorcycle that you'd be crazy to take for a long fast ride. Your Vespa ...

Jails: TJ vs. San Diego

Locked up and let loose

Neddy Massaro’s jail is the best in San Diego. She lives on the tenth floor of the sleek Metropolitan Correctional Center, the federal highrise at F and Union streets in downtown San Diego. There are ...

Now that Yellow Cab no longer dominates

Did somebody call a cab?

The city requires its 71 cab companies to provide fair and speedy service, but the cabbies in this divided industry do not — or cannot — make a living by following the city's rules.

Dungeons and Dragons: the weirdest and most popular game in years

Meet the the Triton Wargaming Society of UCSD

“You have dyed-in-the-wool historical wargamers; you have fantasy freaks who have read all the Tolkien books; you have people we’ve never seen in here and will never see again."

Hillcrest – writing contest winner

An after-dinner walk, cottages, a taxi ride

The Chicken Pie Shop and the Mayfair are big hits, even with jaded L.A. people, who think they’ve seen all the world's freaks. Other high spots are the side-by-side bookstores down the street.