Thirty Years Ago
The lobby of the downtown library, normally not the scene of high drama, was the arena for some cops-and-robbers-style action last Wednesday at lunch time. When a young man (carrying a hidden copy of Jessica Midford’s A Fine Old Conflict in his knapsack) triggered the alarm system at the exit and bolted through the front doors out to E Street, library personnel near the front desks rushed after him, caught him, and called four policemen to cart the miscreant off to the county jail.
— CITY LIGHTS: “BOOK HIM,” Jeannette De Wyze, October 5, 1978
Twenty-Five Years Ago
They massed in the parking lot of the Lockheed building on Harbor Island one Saturday in mid-September, Vietnamese refugees wearing the brown shirt and tan slacks that constitute their uniform. There were about 40 of them, and each one picked up a placard or a small Vietnamese flag and stepped into the two-column marching formation. The flag-bearer explained that the yellow fabric represented the color of his skin, and that the three narrow stripes of red running across the flag represented the blood he was willing to shed for his country.
— “THE WAR BACK HOME,” Neal Matthews, October 6, 1983
Twenty Years Ago
We moved. We live in the South. My mother sends me to the beauty shop. The “beauty operator,” Selma, grasps my pigtails at the nape of my neck. Snips. Laughing, she holds the pigtails aloft, wakes women dozing in chairs under silver hair dryers. “I got these off, at the root.”
Are those women, dazed and pink, legs slightly apart, who I will become?
— “THERE ARE NO SECRETS,” Judith Moore, October 6, 1988
Fifteen Years Ago
The bow of the To Ching No. 212 looks like the nose of a fighter who should have quit sooner. An almost catastrophic dent distorts the port stern. Above it, some 20 feet of deck rail caved in. Now, pinned between a 60-meter patrullero and the Ensenada Naval Pier, she’s no longer a danger. Mexico officially seized the ship, its crew, and 254 undocumented Chinese passengers.
That was at 3:15 this morning. About two hours later the government did the same to the Long Sen, which lies with its navy escort at the far end of the pier. From a distance, the Long Sen looks as though it offered its 169 would-be immigrants a sounder passage.
— “THE IMPOSSIBLE SHORE,” Larry Siems, October 7, 1993
Ten Years Ago
Vice President Al Gore’s political action committee has handed out more than $500,000 to aspiring Democratic congressional candidates, including $5000 to Christine Kehoe…. Remark by President Bill Clinton during a fundraiser at the Rancho Santa Fe estate of lawyer Bill Lerach: “This is the first place I’ve ever been where the fish are worth more than I make in a year.”
— CITY LIGHTS: “IRON CLAD,” Matt Potter, October 8, 1998
Five Years Ago
It’s been nearly a century since Freud asked his question about the nature of female desire, and very few men that I know are any closer to an answer than Freud was. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, shortly after going through my own divorce, I belonged to a men’s group that met weekly, and I was regularly hearing the stories of men troubled that they had been unable to make relationships work and by their inability to understand what makes women tick. Although it’s believed that men’s infidelity, drinking, insensitivity, and all-around emotional numbness are primary reasons relationships dissolve, I was getting the other side of the story. My group included a man whose wife had left him after 22 years for a woman. She took off with her half of their “community” property and spousal support payments, although their three teenage children continued to live with him.
— “WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?” Fred Moramarco, October 2, 2003