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Stories by Sue Garson

Spanish civil war vets, harrowing escape from Vietnam, POWs of Japan, Prince of Wales tossed from Hotel Del Coronado

The Forgotten War I do not recall putting my foot on Korean soil for the first time. I only remember the cold rain, and running, and others running with me. By David Burge, June 20, ...

May 24, 2020
Mission Beach – true character

Tiny Island Court has 31 short-timers Bayside Walk listed 121 rentals spread out between 15 blocks, with 50 rentals on just two blocks. Mission Boulevard listed 81 rentals on 17 blocks. It then dropped to ...

Golden Hill – slowly gentrifying

19 townhomes at 32nd and C instead of park The largest undeveloped parcel in Golden Hill, once considered by the Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee as a top choice for a neighborhood park, is now ...

Best Reader stories from 1989

Till death do us part For so long, she wanted so badly to talk about her relationship with Daniel Broderick. Betty Broderick wanted to tell the their divorce and the awful injustice she felt she ...

December 21, 2019
Best Reader stories from 1985

The spirit of Steve Ponchetti It has forever been the custom of the Diegueño Indians to bury their dead twice: once at death, and then once again a year later. And so it was that ...

December 7, 2019
More than one point of view on Thanksgiving

The ideal hipster Thanksgiving As I’ve pointed out before, no holiday lacks the potential for a hipster makeover. Thanksgiving is no exception. Not only is it nestled comfortably between epic Halloween costumes and ugly-Christmas-sweater parties, ...

November 26, 2019
Best Reader stories from 1978

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 ...

November 10, 2019
Sue Garson and the Reader

How Garson came to write for the Reader: When I stumbled into a small piano bar in Bankers Hill called the Caliph, a steady stream of after-hours nocturnal characters drew me to them as they ...

March 30, 2019
Stories hidden inside the San Diego Reader

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 ...

January 26, 2019
Reader writers: the story I wanted to write... but didn't

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.

Brilliant St. Augustine and USD grad kills mother in Pacific Beach

The following audition material won a stand-up comic/philosopher a paid gig at the Green Peak Restaurant and Comedy Club in East Dorset, Vermont, last September: • Revelation! God is androgynous — but chauvinistic! • Here’s ...

March 9, 1989
The vile and violent life of San Diego's street kids

She always sleeps with her clothes on. Today she wakes up in jeans, a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt that covers layers of T-shirts, three finger rings, and six earrings. She doesn’t remember ever having had a ...

July 28, 1988
The Portuguese fishing families of Point Loma

San Diego’s tuna fleet then numbered 200 and accounted for eighty percent of the world’s catch. Nearly half the vessels were owned by Portuguese dynasties that had been living in Point Loma for several generations.

With the courtroom crowd watching the Cara Knott murder case

By the time the defense rested its case on February 8, the mood in the hallway had become more intimate. People exchanged business cards and passed out breath mints, and raffle tickets were sold for the Cara Knott Foundation

February 18, 1988
Welcome to the mentally ill on Elm Street

Last March 16, Marshall could no longer tolerate sharing a dingy nine-by-eleven-foot room with someone who talked nonstop about the CIA and who woke him intermittently during the night searching for bullet holes. “Living with ...

August 6, 1987
The parking lot at Rosecrans, Taylor, and Pacific Highway is perfect for long-haul drivers

Hey, Foxy Jaws, where’s a flop stop? We be makin’ three tracks in the sand an' we gotta get offa the licorice stick.” When a dozen CBers tell Daddy Longlegs where to park, No Show’s ...

July 2, 1987
The Big Kitchen crowd in Golden Hill

Among the famous and the celebrated who have turned up there are Pete Seeger. Quentin Crisp, Holly Near, David Ogden Stiers, and locals Russ T. Nailz and Larry Himmel.

May 8, 1986
Janice Patterson is looking for actors in San Diego

When Janice Patterson cruises San Diego boulevards dressed in her blue fox jacket, she notices faces. If she sees a face she likes, her bejeweled fingers signal the other driver to roll down a window. ...

February 6, 1986
Windansea grommie Seth Johnson passes

This year there have been half a dozen wakes at Windansea, locals say, for guys who bailed before the big four-oh. More than a hundred mourners gathered at the one for Seth Johnson, on a ...

August 15, 1985
Former San Diego councilman Mike Schaefer – and others – get something for nothing

How San Diegans get TVs, stereos, cameras, trips, and loads of other junk for practically nothing.

May 23, 1985
Dogpatch, U.S.A. – only about an hour's drive from downtown San Diego

“It became Dogpatch in 1956 or 1957. The owner at that time had about 400 poodles out in the back. It looked like a patch of dogs, so she changed the name from Canyon City Cafe to Dogpatch.”

April 11, 1985
The 200% Americanization of Aleksandr Gibalevich

It is September on an airless Sunday morning with the mercury registering a dripping ninety-eight degrees at eleven o’clock. Adams Avenue is virtually empty except for the few hundred patrons outside the Ken Cinema. The ...

October 18, 1984
Why San Diegans have so much plastic surgery

Last May a former El Cajon elementary school teacher placed an ad In the Personals section of the San Diego Union that read: “Lipolysis. If you have had this done, please call me,” and she ...

August 16, 1984
Sycuan Indians invite you for bingo to Harbison Canyon

There’s a tension in the bus as it draws nearer to California Gold. Linda takes the bus microphone and further stimulates the crowd. “Is everyone feelin’ lucky tonight?” she yells. “Yes!” they yell back.

June 7, 1984
Tales from the San Diego Zen Center

One of the early and sure signs of the Southern California transformation of Zen was that Joko and Yuin were no longer bald. Yuin was first to let her hair grow to the two-finger length ...

March 22, 1984
The liveliest street in San Diego

People say that once you discover Ventura Place, you keep coming back. Some say it's because this street across from Belmont Park in Mission Beach has the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Others think ...

December 22, 1983
How San Diego streets got their (crazy) names

There are streets in Bay Park named for American cities and another cluster of American city streets in La Mesa. University City has Canadian city streets and Scripps Ranch bears streets with Australian place names.

October 20, 1983
Scofflaw haunts Oakwood apartments

The Oakwood Garden apartment complex in Pacific Beach hosted a series of Sunday afternoon champagne gatherings in 1971. Newspaper advertisements announced that the general public was invited to attend. Crown Point resident Don Determan was ...

September 1, 1983
Paul Robert Pitts tortures, kills his two-year-old son

Last October 3, inside the San Diego County jail visitors’ section at four in the afternoon, a bevy of nubile females, tottering on skinny four-inch heels, lined up at window number two and blew kisses ...

January 20, 1983
The falsity of a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

During my early childhood and through the onset of my teens, after which I covertly rebelled by feigning asthma attacks, Thanksgiving meant an hour and a half trek on the Belt Parkway to the outer ...

November 19, 1981
The good life at Oakwood apartments

"Married men who were approaching middle age wished they were single again so they could move into Oakwood and start swinging, and many of them did. They were the envy of their friends,”

Jews like San Diego has never seen

Five hundred eyes focus on the foreskin of the infant son of Rabbi Yonah Fradkin. A drop of wine is applied to the infant’s lips while a dozen rabbis pray in a fervent, swaying motion. ...

March 5, 1981
The shady auto wholesaler on El Cajon Boulevard

Last February, when 1 answered a ringing phone and was greeted by a satin-smooth voice that oozed charm and a disquieting sort of familiarity, glad tidings arrived from five seasons past. The voice identified itself ...

December 4, 1980
San Diego veterans of the Spanish Civil War

“Hemingway was full of crap!” Chriss snaps. “He preened around like a Hollywood celebrity. I saw him every day for months at Brigade headquarters. His descriptions weren’t authentic. He romanticized everything and it wasn’t romantic.”

July 17, 1980
San Diego's ultimate freeloader

I first met Brandon in a phone booth. I stood outside glaring incredulously at a tanned, classically sybaritic face buried in chicken wings, barbecued hot dog slivers, cheese cubes, and assorted other hors d’oeuvres. His ...

September 14, 1978
Where to get the best, cheapest haircut in San Diego

Hair expresses culture. Before the Greek victories against the Persians, both men and women wore their hair long. Later, long hair was considered suitable only for boys and women. At puberty, a boy cut off ...

September 8, 1977
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