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Best Reader stories from 1974

Monument Road, Phil Gross, Colleen O'Connor, YMCA, county jail, dredging at Mission Beach, the Body Shop, Dr. Bronner

What do the Y.M.C.A. and the U.S.O. dangle to get them away from the Blue Door Massage Parlor?
  • What do the Y.M.C.A. and the U.S.O. dangle to get them away from the Blue Door Massage Parlor?
  • Image by Bob Eckert
  • Monument Road

  • The peaceful atmosphere along Monument Road is astonishing. Only 15 or 20 minutes from downtown, a ride along southernmost San Diego's Monument Road is like flipping through a book of Dorothea Lange photographs. A rundown ramshackle wreck of a stucco house with an abandoned stove on the front porch. A 50-year-old wooden farmhouse with two acacia shade trees in the front yard and a scarecrow in the adjacent field of lettuce and string beans.
  • By Jean Navarro, Dec. 5, 1974
  • Conversations with a local folkie

  • The Alley closed down in 1972. A case of an Escondido club, almost too far a drive for anyone. I think they were open for about four years, ‘68 - ‘72. That was the ideal folk club. They had big name talent. They hired almost exclusively local talent to play with their big name talent. It was a good place to get a start, have people listen to you. For the big name talent, it was like a dry run for the Troubadour in L.A.
  • Oct. 31, 1974

Phil Gross: "Alice Cooper or David Bowie...I personally don’t even listen to these people."

Phil Gross: "Alice Cooper or David Bowie...I personally don’t even listen to these people."

  • A good Irish kid goes political

  • Colleen had been brought up as a thorough-going Catholic — elementary school at St. Vincent’s (right around the corner from her present campaign headquarters in Mission Hills), Rosary High School (“I was student body president there”).
  • By John Martin, Sept. 26, 1974

Colleen O'Connor: "In 1964 my sisters and I were Goldwater fanatics."

Colleen O'Connor: "In 1964 my sisters and I were Goldwater fanatics."

  • A nice clean place for a lonely sailor

  • There are the “nice” girls. At the U.S.O., they are the Junior Volunteers; at the “Y”, it’s the Girls Service Organization. In both groups, these are San Diego girls between the ages of 17 and 25 who undergo a “thorough screening”; they have to fill out an application and list three references. “And we check ’em.”
  • By John Martin, Sept. 12, 1974

Mugshot of a San Diego County Jail inmate

Mugshot of a San Diego County Jail inmate

  • New fish in the tank

  • The County Jail facility squats like a sad green hulk between “C" and "B" streets in San Diego. It is surrounded by the offices of the San Diego County Sheriffs Department: a parking lot full of green and white cars is across the street on Front. At this corner, one can hear a constant conglomeration of sounds through the six floors of maximum security windows.
  • By Merton Gaudette, Aug. 15, 1974
  • End of the cool life in South Mission

  • The mudflats sometimes stank at low tide; it wasn’t really a bad smell, but a grassy, muddy smell that could be pleasant if you associated it with the kinds of things you did on the mudflats. When tourists or even people who lived in other parts of San Diego saw them , they usually called them sand bars, but nobody in South Mission Beach ever said anything but mudflats.
  • By Keith Robinson, July 11, 1974

In the later forties the dredges came, and all that had been sand dollars, crabs, seagulls, mud, and grass was moved, removed, built up, or otherwise altered into what we now call Gleason Point, Ventura Point. I loved watching the dark gray spume burst out of the end of the pipe a mile or so from the dredge, and the sound of billions of shells rattling through the pipes, sometimes all night long, was pleasant and romantic.

In the later forties the dredges came, and all that had been sand dollars, crabs, seagulls, mud, and grass was moved, removed, built up, or otherwise altered into what we now call Gleason Point, Ventura Point. I loved watching the dark gray spume burst out of the end of the pipe a mile or so from the dredge, and the sound of billions of shells rattling through the pipes, sometimes all night long, was pleasant and romantic.

"There are nights when the air is so thick with the men's frustration that we can hardly stand it, and that's when the heavy drinking starts."

"There are nights when the air is so thick with the men's frustration that we can hardly stand it, and that's when the heavy drinking starts."

  • Body Shop

  • At the far end of the bar, a young woman untied her halter top, stepped quickly out of bikini pants, and tossed both garments next to a popcorn machine. She turned, facing her audience, and began undulating slowly forward, lovely to the opening bars of the theme from The Exorcist.
  • By Connie Bruck, May 30, 1974
  • Clean Body Clean Mind

  • About two million bottles of the pungent stuff are sold each year throughout the country, mostly from the shelves of health food stores. But the name on the white-on-blue label, “Dr. Bronner's Peppermint 18-in-1 Pure Castile Soap,“ is practically lost, crammed between the words of Dr. Bronner's eclectic, mind-numbing treatise.
  • By R.M. Hallinan & Christina Eksted, Feb. 28, 1974

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