Sheila Pell 2:30 p.m., Oct. 22
Stories by Ken Kuhlken
She was willing to bawl me out.
Judith came out of nowhere. She called one evening and asked if I'd like to write something for the Reader. I'd read the Reader enough to feel flattered, since the writers I'd encountered in it ...
Mary Jackson founded a ministry in Barrio Logan. She helps women learn job skills. Mary drives a new Honda Element. “Do you want to hear how I got such a nice car?” she asks. I ...
"Like a Rolling Stone," the most famous song on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, portrays somebody who thought she was on top contending with her fall to the bottom. It's a fun song but not ...
Michael Emerson, the optician at Hart Optical, rides a big Suzuki. He tells me, “It’s a Cavalcade 1400 cc. Suzuki gave up on them in ’88 and built the last generation in ’89 from parts ...
A hunt for the elusive fotonovela.
Reading Sandra Cisneros's recent novel Caramelo, set in Mexico City during the late 1950s, I wondered about the fotonovelas that are mentioned again and again over the course of the book: "The Awful Grandmother" locks ...
Paul Koch spent six years as road manager for the San Diego Chicken. Now that he’s in real estate, you might see his Cadillac around town. “I drive a big car with a big name,” ...
SDSU classes get bigger and easier
Many students take 18 or more units and really do well. If you pin them down, you find that what is demanded of a student at San Diego State is not much.
The doctor says, “You’re a few pounds overweight, your cholesterol’s a bit scary, and your blood pressure…” “Yeah, okay,” I grumble. “So what’s your prescription?” “You could change your diet.” “Not for the better, I ...
Ginny Silva arrested for drugs at Rosarito Beach Hotel, converted by Mother Teresa's priests.
When Ginny Silva began her singing career, Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución was infamous, a raunchy place of strip clubs, where hookers and drug pushers worked in the open and where we young fellows went if we ...
Consider people who rant on issues about which they believe themselves experts. Everybody holds an opinion on everything -- like a fellow on the radio contending that the National Endowment for the Arts should be ...
San Diego Country Club - a little history, and some personal stories.
My smugness was arrested when a man appeared out of nowhere, wearing an apologetic frown. He said, “Sir, um, jeans aren’t allowed.” The pro shop charged $35 for a pair of shorts.
La Mesa Boulevard began as a wagon trail
The stretch of the Boulevard people call “the Village” runs from Spring Street up past Fourth. The Village hasn’t changed much since my boyhood, when I could overlook it from my bedroom window.
My kids are considering San Diego State, and I'm interested to see if this fall's Daily Aztec newspaper staff carries on last year's most notable last year's most notable traditions: careless prose and a dependence ...
Shell-shocked letters from Vietnam.
Prompted by a second glass of wine, Clifford’s dad said, “The way I treated my son, pushed Cliff into that war, I wouldn’t blame him if he accused me of intentionally wrecking his life.”
Rebellion, madness, and the last of a misspent youth.
A half dozen Indians stood pointing hoses from which I could see no water escaping — they looked like a mime troupe parodying a fire brigade. One man threw down his hose and began stomping a circle around himself.
Santa didn’t give them dope
Now, anybody don’t trust me, he ought to say so. He ought to come clean.”“What happens do he say so?” Pill queried. Donald leaned closer to me, “Boy come clean, he go back to the hall. That’s what.”
I took a job substitute teaching for the Grossmont high school district and tried writing a novel. My desk was in the dining room, but most of my roommates had day jobs, so the afternoons were quiet enough.
Newlyweds visit a haven for angst-ridden white people
The first night I lay awake listening to jungle noises—night birds, a laughing burro, strange swishes that made me picture Tarzan riding a vine from tree to tree, and the cackles of stoned people.
Spiritual disillusionment in Balboa Park.
Downtown looked like a fashion show for uniforms. Bob suggested we forget the crusade and follow the swabbies to the Hollywood Burlesque. Cliff asked, “Why bother with the Hollywood when in TJ they show it all off?”
Disillusionment on wheels
Over lunch, Tony’s family debated the benefits of Chicago and San Diego. Mrs. Russo, Tony, and his sister preferred Chicago. Mr. Russo claimed he would have stayed out West except for the family’s nagging.
A very San Diego story involving Kerouac and Dostoyevsky
“Look what’s changed in the last two months. Eric died. We barely escaped a nuclear war. By June, Kennedy might attack Cuba, and the Russians could retaliate by invading Hollywood. Bonanza could be in Russian.”
Utopia and bloodshed in Tijuana
A few decades ago, during the era when my friend Henry and I devoted many hours to exploring Tijuana, we found a saloon that I later learned was around the corner and up a block ...
San Diego State part-time teacher explains how it works
Between preparation, class time, grading, and office hours, only a magician or malingerer could teach and manage a three-unit class in less than 10 hours each week, so four classes each semester easily requires 40 hours.
The principal principle
Middle school and I go way back. My mother taught eighth-grade English and social studies. I attended PTA meetings before entering kindergarten. On Friday nights, the principal would show up at our house and play ...
Mourning the replacement preseason
Ted Leitner made a crack about feeling disgraced to involve himself with these nonmajor leaguers. His yawning insinuated: “Don’t bother to pay attention. These guys aren’t going to be here. Anyway, they’re scabs.”
Sojourn of a novelist in the 1940s
In 1944, at age 37, Thompson became a Marine. He lasted 12 weeks, plus a few in the infirmary, with rheumatic fever. His family got by on the salary Alberta made as switchboard operator at Solar.
Replacement players on an authentic vision of the Pads
I asked how they felt about the union. Pete jumped on that one. “Well, they’re calling us scabs. They’re trying to intimidate people into not playing. They’re trying to enhance their position. And we’re trying to enhance our position.”
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A hasty kiss in Pacific Beach.
We later drove up Mount Helix and paced around the cross in the mountaintop park, staring all around, and every few minutes one of us would offer a reason why Eric couldn’t possibly die.
San Diego's early painter - from Laguna mountains to 9th and E, downtown San Diego
I learned to write by watching my grandma at her easel. First she’d sketch, then stroke on the base colors, then dab until details began to appear. Around that time she’d step back, gaze, meditate, ...
Our strange East County friends
A bushy-haired kid was hitchhiking on Sweetwater Road. I picked him up at the crest of the hill, just past the light at Kenwood. He mumbled something, hung his head crookedly so he could watch ...
See Stephanie Steal. Watch Wyatt Smoke Dope. Hear Amber Cuss. See Vanessa Stab Her Sister. Watch Mom Call Toughlove.
See Mom Call Toughlove: When the fruit of your loins turns into a raging demon from the pits of hell, don't despair.
Chester phoned and asked what I knew about Toughlove. I told him I’d look over a book somebody’d loaned me, call the person I got it from. Find out all I could, and get back ...
Unlike 1984, when Ronald Reagan made it a point to finish his campaign at a giant rally in the parking lot of Fashion Valley, George Bush came to see the All-Star game and was booed by the locals.