My Boy Duncan

Thirty Years Ago
I miss Duncan Shepherd and I’ll tell you how much. I was thinking about this as I was ironing the other day, and if I ever have a boy I would not hesitate to name him Duncan, but I would never name my boy Jonathan because of how I feel about Jonathan Saville, which is yuck! So, why haven’t we been seeing any Shepherd stories for so long?
LETTERS: “MY BOY DUNCAN,” Kelly Siegerson, August 30, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
With stores due to start opening next spring in downtown’s new Horton Plaza shopping center, the idle days of the local transients are numbered. It is unlikely that people will return to Nordstrom if on their initial visit they have to step over a bum to get through the door. As that possibility approaches, ideas for avoiding it are as numerous as flies in Horton Plaza park.

Twenty Years Ago
Late on a muggy Sunday afternoon, I met Brizzolara in a downtown bar. Like the fictional Hillcrest Club, it was one of those alcohol- and tobacco-fumed dives to which sun never comes. We sat on barstools wedged into a murky corner, our backs against the wall, the long, dim room before us. The Dodgers were playing the Giants. I said to Brizzolara, “Guys in here could have stepped right out of your pages.”

He laughed. “What I called the Hillcrest Club in Wirecutter was in fact the now-defunct 601 Club, an old-timers’ shot-and-beer joint on University — a great bar, one of the only straight bars in Hillcrest.”
“SADNESS AND STRANGE ENDINGS,” Judith Moore, August 31, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
When I was a kid growing up in the late ’50s, there was a push to make pool a family game. I remember ads showing “Mom” — permed blond, high heels, and in a chemise — demonstrating for Junior — red-headed, freckly-faced, about 11 — the correct stance for the break. Dad stood by, usually with Sis, anxious to participate, observing good, clean family fun. But it didn’t work. And you don’t need Freud to tell you why. Pool is not just a game. Pool is a sexy game. And sex is always there, below the surface, when people play.
“YOU AGAINST THE TABLE,” Peter Griffin, August 25, 1994

Ten Years Ago
I ask Crooks how he found this image. In Coronado one day, after lunch with a friend, he went into a CD shop while his friend waited outside on a bench. When Crooks came out, he noticed his friend staring at an apartment house across the street. “Don’t bother me,” the other said, “I’m having a California moment.” Before them was Portico, bathed in a glowing, hyperreal light. Crooks returned at the same hour the next day to photograph it. Perfect, he thought: one door is partially open. Suddenly a man appeared and shut the door. “It had to stay half-open,” Crooks says. He knocked and begged, “Excuse me, mister, but I’m a painter, and I need to photograph your front porch here with your door open, so would you mind?”
“LAST LIGHT,” Thomas Larson, August 26, 1999

Five Years Ago
Three club members, including Envall, have loaned their dolls to an exhibit of some 30 pristine Barbies at the Mission Branch Library on view this month. This weekend the three will be there for a discussion and informal appraisal of Barbies that the public is welcome to bring.

Envall has lent two of her number-three Barbies from 1960. “One is wearing [an outfit called] ‘Plantation Belle’ — that’s a pink, dotted-Swiss full skirt to the knee and a big hat. The other is in ‘Sorority Meeting,’ which is a brown sheath dress with a brown sweater vest and pillbox hat.”
CALENDAR: “DID SHE GET A DIVORCE?” Jeanne Schinto, August 26, 2004

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I've written before to ask why we are not able to access electronic archives for past articles. You guys obviously still have them, and these "Back When" snippets are fun, but make one want to read the whole piece. An electronic archive would make for more knowledgeable newer Reader readers, and certainly give some of the oldtimers a kick!

I miss Duncan Shepherd

LOL...love to hate Duncan.

Ah ha, you did get an archive together. Thanks, Janeb :)

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