When Josephine Scripps was curator of minerals at the Natural History Museum

Thirty Years Ago

Josephine Scripps, probably the most eccentric living member of the Scripps clan, was coming out of the Natural History Museum one night when she spotted a garbage can of seashells discarded by a museum staff member. Miss Scripps is the museum curator of minerals, and twice a week she works at the museum.

"What are you going to do with the seashells?" I asked this San Diego millionairess, born of one of the most powerful newspaper families in this country's history.

"Why, I'm going to clean 'em up and sell 'em!" she replied. "I'm sure there are people who'd pay 50 cents for a nice pink shell."

Mind you, building up the Natural History Museum's gem collection is only one of Josephine Scripps's interests. She runs a North County dairy farm that produces over 3500 pounds of milk a day, she leads rock-hunting expeditions all over Southern California and Baja, she raises cocker spaniels, and she jumps at the chance to play pinochle into the wee hours.

"JOSIE SCRIPPS," Jeannette De Wyze, August 17, 1978

Twenty-Five Years Ago

As the "county bureaucrat" who approved Jerry Leaf's flagpole ("City Lights," August 11), I think it is appropriate that I be given credit. I would like your paper to nominate me to the Guinness Book of Records in the category of the zoning administrator who approved the world's tallest American flagpole.

-- LETTERS: "CONSIDER IT DONE," Robert E. Asher, zoning administrator, County of San Diego, August 18, 1983

Twenty Years Ago

Rather than think of myself as "out of shape," I had always thought my body type best described as "relaxed." It had a comfortable, homey look -- soft, familiar, nonthreatening. True, it had been a source of scorn in junior and senior high school, but as the years passed, providence stepped in, and I saw many of those self-same mockers and bully-boys about town cast in the roles of retail shoe salesmen or supermarket bagboys. And I might add, there is more than a small measure of vindication to be gained upon reading that a fellow who had once called me a "tub of lard" had been charged with a federal crime.

-- "GUTS AND GLORY, Abe Opincar, August 18, 1988

Fifteen Years Ago

The Dale Akiki case has so far involved three months' testimony from 60 prosecutorial witnesses and 45 criminal charges whose penalties, if served consecutively, would amount to more than a century. There have been allegations that Akiki stabbed babies, giraffes, elephants with a "crocodile knife," and shot chickens in the presence of his preschool-age charges. Testimony has also included several stories involving rabbits that were beheaded or tossed in the air and impaled on knives on descent or "drowned in a baptismal font."

-- "SPEAK, MEMORY," Abe Opincar, August 19, 1993

Ten Years Ago

As the hour drew near for Bill Clinton's Monday-night mea culpa, a snazzily dressed crowd from Governor Pete Wilson's lavish birthday fundraiser made its way to the bar at the downtown Hyatt Regency to watch the historic spectacle on big-screen TV. Among the well-connected Wilson supporters were Tom Shepard, onetime Hedgecock aide now making big money from the pro-baseball stadium campaign; Padres co-owner Larry Lucchino; wealthy port commissioner David Malcolm and wife Annie; Congressman Brian Bilbray and two aides.... As might be expected of Republican partisans, the Wilson crowd booed and yelled at each Clinton utterance.

-- CITY LIGHTS: "PETE'S FRIENDS," Matt Potter, August 20, 1998

Five Years Ago

[H]ow is my family safe from terrorists when California has bare borders and friendly forgery that allows illegal entry? To California's farmers I say: Mexicans aren't the only people to pick your produce. Ask for some of the bored citizens in the prison system to help defray your costs.

-- LETTERS: "ILLEGALS DISGUST," Kim Oakley, August 14, 2003

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