Category Archives: Current Issue


The Battle Of Pelusium

By Alan Graham

The 2nd-century CE writer Polyaenus describes Cambyses II’s approach in his Strategems, which he wrote in the hopes of helping Marcus Aurelius and Verus in their campaigns. Polyaenus recounts how the Egyptians were successfully holding back the Persian advance when Cambyses II suddenly switched tactics. The Persian king, knowing the veneration the Egyptians held for cats, had the image of Bastet painted on his soldiers’ shields and, further, “ranged before his front line dogs, sheep, cats, ibises and whatever other animals the Egyptians hold dear” (Polyaenus VII.9). The Egyptians under Psametik III, seeing their own beloved goddess on the shields of enemies, and fearing to fight lest they injure the animals being driven before the enemy, surrendered their position and took flight in a rout.

Many were massacred on the field, and Herodotus reports seeing their bones still in the sand many years later; he even commented on the difference between the Persian and the Egyptian skulls. Those Egyptians not killed at Pelusium fled to the safety of Memphis with the Persian army in pursuit. Memphis was besieged and fell after a relatively short interval. Psametik III was taken prisoner and was treated fairly well by Cambyses II until he tried to raise a revolt and was executed.

Thus ended the sovereignty of Egypt as it was annexed by Persia and, henceforth, changed hands a number of times before finally ending up as a province of Rome. It is said that Cambyses II, after the battle, hurled cats into the faces of the defeated Egyptians in scorn that they would surrender their country and their freedom fearing for the safety of common animals.








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Une semaine avant d’être retrouvé mort dans sa baignoire à Paris, Jim Morrison nous présentait un Ghost Rock Opera dans lequel le mime mondialement connu Marcel Marseau interprétait un duo avec la célèbre rock star. Les deux icônes étaient vêtues de cuir noir de la tête aux pieds, de chemises blanches de paysans mexicains et de ceintures concho argentées.

La représentation de Ghost a eu lieu à la comédie française de renommée mondiale.
C’était la première et la dernière fois que quelqu’un, n’importe où, entendait la vraie voix de Marceau qui faisait monter les larmes aux yeux des hommes adultes.

La voix de Marcel était si belle et résonnante que son auditoire était envoûté. Il a commencé avec Indian Summer alors que Jim Morrison était assis dans un fauteuil en vevet rouge à regarder.

Quand il a terminé, le public a perdu le contrôle, une quasi-émeute s’est ensuivie et la police a été appelée pour contrôler les clients déments.

Le directeur du théâtre a annoncé qu’à moins que la foule ne diminue, la représentation serait annulée sans remboursement.

Le calme est revenu et le Ghost RocK Opera a continué.

Le duo dynamique a fait exploser les murs et le plafond avec L A Woman, déclenchant à nouveau une autre explosion, mais lorsque la police est intervenue pour réprimer l’émeute, le public a sauté dans les maux et a dansé le macarbre. La police et le gérant se sont joints à la folle mêlée.

La représentation a duré deux heures et s’est terminée par une rediffusion lugubre de The End laissant tout le public en larmes.

Jim Morrison a été retrouvé mort une semaine plus tard et sa mort était suspecte. Aucune autopsie n’a été pratiquée et le sien a été rapidement inhumé au cimetière Per lachaise dans une section appelée Poets Corner.

Entouré de ses contemporains, Jim Morrison attire des millions de fans dévoués du monde entier qui le fréquentent avec loyauté et profond respect.

Marcel Marceau a été invité à faire l’éloge mais a refusé.


Bien sûr, c’est une parodie, mais je me demande combien de Français seraient dupés par une farce de la fin du poisson d’avril.



One week before he was found dead in his bathtub in Paris, Jim Morrison presented us with a Ghost Rock Opera in which the world famous mime Marcel Marseau performed a duo with the famous rock star. Both icons were dressed in head to toe black leather, white Mexican peasant shirts and silver concho belts.

The Ghost performance took place at the world famous Comedy Francaise.
It was the first and last time anyone, anywhere, heard the actual voice of Marceau which brought tears to the eyes of grown men.

Marcel’s voice was so beautiful and resonant that his audience was spellbound. He opened with Indian Summer as Jim Morrison sat in a red vevet armchair watching.

When he finished the audience lost control, a near riot ensued and the police were called in to control the demented patrons.

The theater manager announced that unless the crowd abated the performance would be cancelled without a refund.

Calm was restored and the Ghost RocK Opera continued.

The dynamic duo blasted the walls and ceiling with L A Woman, again igniting another outburst but when the police moved to quell the riot the audience sprang into the ailses and did the dance macarbre. The police and the manager joined the mad mellee.

The performance last for two hours ending with a mournful redition of The End leaving the entire audience weeping.

Jim Morrison was found dead a week later and his death was supicious. No autopsy was performed and his was swiftly interred in Per lachaise Cemetary in a section called Poets Corner.

Surrounded by his contempories Jim Morrison attracts millions of dedicted fans from across the globe who attend him with loyalty and deep respect.

Marcel Marceau was ask to give the eulogy but declined.

Of course this is a spoof, but I wonder how many French people would be fooled by a late April Fools day prank.


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Amazing Power Of Dogs

  1. Your Dog’s Ability To See Ultraviolet Light Let’s Them See What You Can’t

While this supercharged nose can be used to help out humans, dogs also take advantage of this power for less heroic purposes. Have you ever come home from the grocery store with one of your dog’s favorite treats? The second you walk in that door, you are at the mercy of your dog’s nose and no packaging is going to thwart their ability. They can tell the moment their favorite food is nearby and they don’t waste a second looking for it!

2. The Detection Of Illness In Sick Humans

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A dog’s nose may be good for sniffing out a hidden treat, but they also use their super hero sniffing ability to help us humans. Amazingly, dogs, both with and without training, are able to detect illness in their human companions. While some dogs require formal training, like those trained to warn their owner about an oncoming epileptic seizure, other dogs can warn of us changes in our body due to illness, like cancer.

There are countless stories of dogs that have picked up on biological changes in the body resulting in cancer. Knowing that something is off, these dogs often persistently draw attention to a certain body part until their owner can no longer ignore the signs they are sending.

3. The Ability To READ YOUR MIND!!!


Okay, dogs can’t actually read your mind per say, but they are pretty darn good at reading your behaviour and making inferences about your future actions based on it. The reason for this is dogs use eye contact and follow their human’s gaze to determine what their owners are thinking. They’re so good at it that you don’t even have to say a word and your dog will often know what your next move is.

If you ask us, it seems like this ability is heightened when something unpleasant for the dog is about to happen, such as being given a bath. The second they see you look at them, then the bathtub or towel, they’re hightailing it out of there!

4. Prediction Of Natural Disasters

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This is one of your dog’s more spooky super powers, as researchers today are still unsure about exactly how it works. After every natural disaster, stories begin to pop up about people who were warned about the upcoming event by their pet’s unusual behaviour.

Researchers are not yet sure exactly how dogs, and other animals, are able to sense natural disasters before they happen, but there are a few theories. Some believe that they can sense chemical changes in groundwater that occur before earthquakes, while others believe that they can hear very low-frequency rumbles created by natural occurrences, such as earthquakes or volcanoes. These are also numerous researchers who believe that dogs use their strong sense of smell to detect changes in the air before disaster strikes. Either way, if you start to notice your dog acting weird, you might want to check the weather channel.

5. Finding The Way Home Without A Map


For those of you who are chronically lost, even with the help of modern technology, this is one doggie super power you might wish you had. Dogs are often able to find their way home, even from long distances.

The crazy thing about this is that dogs don’t need to have walked the route before to be able to find their way back, so how do they do it? Not surprisingly, a lot of this internal GPS is due to dog’s keen sense of smell. If your dog is in familiar territory, they are able to follow their own trail back home. Don’t worry though; your lost pup will do just as well in an unfamiliar territory by keeping a nose out for familiar scents. Once they identify a familiar scent, they are able to follow it until they find another familiar scent, eventually making their way home

6. And Last, But Not least, The Ability To See Their Own Farts


Source: Dog Shaming

I’m really not quite sure when this super power would ever come in handy, but it certainly would be entertaining. For some reason, researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology were curious to see how dog’s brains reacted when they were exposed to the sight of gases from their owner, a stranger, other dogs, and themselves. From their spot in the MRI machine beside a window, the dogs observed the gases being released in the next room and when their own farts were released, their brain lit up. Interestingly, this didn’t happen when they saw the gases of their owner, a stranger, or another dog!

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So there you have it, six amazing dog super powers that humans would only dream of having. While some may be more entertaining than others, you never know when one of them might come in handy.

Now the real question is, will your dog use these powers for good or for evil? Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

 One Of The World’s Oldest Breeds Might Be At Risk Of Extinction

One Of The World’s Oldest Breeds Might Be At Risk Of Extinction

The kennel’s owner is Myrna Shiboleth, a celebrated breeder of the Canaan dog, and she’s worked hard to ensure the breed’s survival. Ever since moving to Israel from the United States nearly 46 years ago, she’s raised hundreds of Canaan dogs, a significant percentage of the breed’s population.


The Canaan dog is one of the oldest dog breeds known, having existed at least since biblical times, and earned special honor as the national dog of Israel. As Shiboleth points out, the Canaan dog is a natural breed, its DNA and make-up the same as it was before the animal was ever domesticated. Consequently, the Canaan dog is relatively free of the health and genetic problems afflicting newer breeds. Unfortunately, there is pressure on the Canaan dog because of the breed’s small surviving population. That pressure is sure to worsen if Shiboleth can’t find a new home to nurture the breed.


In the 1970s Shiboleth settled west of Jerusalem, on buildings unused since the early 20th century British occupation, to start her kennel. “We were looking for a place that wouldn’t bother anyone, that was isolated,” Shibboleth said. “The place had been abandoned since the British left.” She’s lived on the property ever since, which didn’t even have electricity or running water for her first 17 years on the property.


According to the Israel Land Authority, the property is owned by the state, and was never officially open for settlement. Six years ago, ILA land inspectors asked the residents to leave, but because of their refusal, the ILA chose to take legal action. In 2011, the ILA sued Shibboleth and other residents on the site, demanding that they vacate. Recently, Jerusalem’s Magistrate Court ruled in favor of the ILA, and now Shibboleth, 13 other residents of the site, and the kennel have been evicted. They must leave the property by mid April.


Shiboleth insists, “We never claimed to be the owners; we just wanted to live here.” Despite their best efforts over the years to arrange a rental agreement with the ILA, and a diligent effort to avoid altering the property, they were unable to settle their uncertain living situation. “Nobody asked us for rent; nobody was willing to talk to us at all,” Shiboleth said.


Shibboleth is crowdfunding on in the hopes of paying off her legal fees and relocating her kennel. So far she’s raised over $18,000 of her $25,000 goal. She’s filing an appeal but isn’t optimistic about the outcome. Finding a new home is the priority.

Related: 11 Rare Dog Breeds That Are Totally Underrated


11 Rare Dog Breeds That Are Totally Underrated

Shiboleth says the Canaan dog should be seen as an Israeli natural asset and contends that the government should invest in the preservation of the breed for coming generations, much like it protects other natural resources. As she puts it:

“This is one of the only breeds of dogs that still exists that is completely natural. We feel it’s very important to preserve them, because they are Israeli and because they are the original dog. This is the dog that existed for thousands of years, exactly as he is now.”

Dogs detect breast cancer from bandage: researchers

Mariëtte Le Roux

Assistant cynophilist Patrick Mairet, pictured in October 2016, and his dog Thor are part of the Kdog project, which aims to train dogs to detect breast cancer

View photos
Assistant cynophilist Patrick Mairet, pictured in October 2016, and his dog Thor are part of the Kdog project, which aims to train dogs to detect breast cancer (AFP Photo/PASCAL LACHENAUD)

Paris (AFP) – Dogs can sniff out cancer from a piece of cloth which had touched the breast of a woman with a tumour, researchers said Friday, announcing the results of an unusual, but promising, diagnostic trial.

With just six months of training, a pair of German Shepherds became 100-percent accurate in their new role as breast cancer spotters, the team said.

The technique is simple, non-invasive and cheap, and may revolutionise cancer detection in countries where mammograms are hard to come by.

“In these countries, there are oncologists, there are surgeons, but in rural areas often there is limited access to diagnostics,” Isabelle Fromantin, who leads project Kdog, told journalists in Paris.

This means that “people arrive too late,” to receive life-saving treatment, she added. “If this works, we can roll it out rapidly.”

Working on the assumption that breast cancer cells have a distinguishing smell which sensitive dog noses will pick up, the team collected samples from 31 cancer patients.

These were pieces of bandage that patients had held against their affected breast.

With the help of canine specialist Jacky Experton, the team trained German Shepherds Thor and Nykios to recognise cancerous rags from non-cancerous ones.

“It is all based on game-playing” and reward, he explained.

After six months, the dogs were put to the test over several days in January and February this year.

This time, the researchers used 31 bandages from different cancer patients than those the dogs had been trained on.

One bandage was used per experiment, along with three samples from women with no cancer.

– Saving lives –

Each bandage was placed in a box with a large cone which the dogs could stick their noses into, sniffing at each in turn — four boxes per test.

The exercise was repeated once with each sample, meaning there were 62 individual responses from the dogs in all.

In the first round, the dogs detected 28 out of the 31 cancerous bandages — a 90-percent pass rate, the researchers announced.

On the second try, they scored 100 percent — sitting down in front of the box containing the cancerous sample with their muzzle pressed deep into the cone.

“There is technology that works very well, but sometimes simpler things, more obvious things, can also help,” said Amaury Martin of the Curie Institute, citing the many untested stories of dogs having detected cancer in their owners.

“Our aim was see if we can move from conventional wisdom to… real science, with all the clinical and research validation that this entails.”

This was the proof-of-concept phase of Kdog.

The next step will be a clinical trial with more patients and another two dogs, but the team is still in need of project funding.

The team believes that one day dogs may be replaced by “sniffing” machines, possibly armies of electronic diagnosticians dedicated to analysing samples that people far from clinics would send them by the post.

In the meantime, Experton said there is little danger of the trained dogs using their new-found skills to accost cancer sufferers outside the lab.

“These tests happen within a very specific work environment,” he explained. “In a different context, these dogs are unlikely to simply pounce on random people in the street.”

The team says it is the only one to work with breast cancer detection from skin-touch samples.

Other research projects are testing canines’ ability to smell different types of cancer in samples of the skin itself, blood or urine, even the air people exhale.

In France, the chances of surviving ten years after a breast cancer diagnosis is about 85 percent, compared to around 50 percent in poorer countries.

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“DAMN THE TORPEDOES FULL SPEED AHEAD!” – Admiral David G. Farragut/The Civil War (Posted by L.H.K.)

“DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP!” – Captain James Lawrence/The Naval War of 1812 (Posted by L.H.K.)

“PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMUNITION” – Lieutenant Howell M. Forgy/Pearl Harbor (Posted by L.H.K.)

“WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND THEY ARE OURS…” – Oliver Hazare Perry/The Naval War of 1812 (Posted by K.A.G.)

“I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT!” – Captain John Paul Jones/The Revolutionary War  (Posted by K.A.G.)



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By A. R. Graham

Mount Soledad sits high above the Pacific Ocean with a breathtaking 360-degree view of San Diego. A concrete cross measuring 29-feet tall and 14-foot wide was installed in 1954 as a war memorial.

As I walk around the towering concrete monolith, an air of solemn reverence is present. Five minuets earlier, an army of media had assembled to broadcast a live report about the most recent ruling from the San Francisco Supreme Court; and once again, it has been deemed, “illegal to display a religious symbol on public land.”

In 2001, a non-profit 501c corporation, Mount Soledad Memorial Association, added a memorial wall, where thousands of black granite plaques have been installed in memory of the fallen.

It is now no longer a lone cross since the wall was added. This brought a more human side to the equation. Before it was a memorial of the countless and faceless souls who died in battle. Now, the plaques tell of great heroes who sacrificed their lives for the nation. 
A gentle wind is blowing, and the morning sun illuminates the giant white cross. As if reciprocating in kind, it reflects billions of fragmented sun rays onto the wall below. As I descend the steps with the warm sun at my back, I am almost overcome with a great sadness at such loss. The flag’s giant shadow caresses the wall. The faces on the plaques reflect back at me telling me where, when, and how they all died.

I am sure that there will always be an effort to remove the cross; but at the same time, I feel that it will always be there beaconing high on “Solitude Mountain”.

The original wooden cross on Mount Soledad was erected in 1913 by private citizens living in La Jolla and Pacific Beach, but was stolen in 1923. Later that year, it was affixed back in the ground in Mount Soledad Natural Park only to be burned down by the San Diego chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

The second cross was erected in 1934 by a private group of Protestant Christians from La Jolla and Pacific Beach. This sturdier, stucco-over-wood frame cross was blown down by blustery winds in 1952.

Beginning in 1989, the cross had been involved in a continuous litigation regarding its legal status. According to the interpretation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the “No Preference” clause of the California Constitution by the opponents of the cross, it is illegal to display a religious symbol, such as a Christian cross, on public land, as it demonstrates preference to a specific religion and thus violates the separation of church and state. Judges have sided with plaintiffs on multiple occasions and ruled that the cross is illegal and had to be removed or sold to the highest bidder. Defenders of the cross explored several options for preserving the cross. The land under the cross was eventually transferred to the federal government. Critics of the cross allege that, even if the transfer itself is legal, it does not solve the fundamental problem of the argument that the cross is not legal on any government-owned property.

The American Civil Liberties Union proposed ways to resolve the situation such as the cross may be dismantled or the cross may be sold to a third party and physically transferred off the public land. An Episcopal church, located within a few hundred feet from the present location of the cross, has agreed to place it on its property. Another option is the government may hold an auction and sell the parcel of the land with the cross to the highest bidder.
Defenders of the cross saw all these options as unacceptable and were determined to find a way to leave the cross intact in its present location. A cross has been on the site since 1913. Architect Donald Campbell designed the present Latin cross in recessed concrete with a twelve-foot arm spread in 1954. In 1998, after the sale by the city of the cross and the land it stands on to the nonprofit Mount Soledad Memorial Association, the cross was transformed into being the centerpiece of a newly erected Korean Memorial.

Original Dedication Ceremony on April 18, 1954

Besides all of its controversy, the cross and its site provides a rich part of San Diego history. Having been first used as a Memorial Park in 1914, it went onto be used by the Lindbergh’s for glider flights in the 1920s. It was part of the military’s early-warning defense system in WWII. The 29-foot cross was dedicated on April 29, 1954 to honor Korean War veterans; and has been long used by planes and ships for navigation. It was transferred to the federal government on August 14, 2006 as the National Veterans Memorial.

Mount Soledad also holds the last home lived in by Dr. Seuss. His widow, Audrey Geisel, still resides atop Mount Soledad in a lavish home that includes “The Cat in the Hat” and an observation tower that is referred to as the “Seuss House” by the locals.

There is also an urban legend that in the 1930s, a group of little people who earned money in Hollywood by appearing in movies such as The Wizard of Oz, came to San Diego where they built miniature houses on Mount Soledad. The legend gained support due to the fact that several houses were built on steep slopes overlooking the Pacific and, as you drove or walked by, it was easy to believe, due to optical illusions, created as you looked down at the houses from the road that the doors and other features were smaller than normal. If you actually walked up to the houses, it was easy to see that they were normal sized. Most of the supposed, “Munchkin Houses” have been remodeled and the effect is no longer present. “We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz…”

Current status of the cross: At the beginning of our new year, 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that a veterans’ memorial featuring the 43-foot cross on Mount Soledad is unconstitutional. “The use of such is distinctively Christian symbol to honor all veterans sends a strong message of endorsement and exclusion,” wrote Judge M. Margaret McKeown for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “It suggests that the government is so connected to a particular religion.” The decision that the La Jolla, California memorial violates the Establishment Clause reverses a lower court ruling does not determine what will happen to the cross. “This does not mean that the memorial could not be modified to pass constitutional muster, nor does it mean that no cross can be part of this,” McKeown concluded. This case has wound through the courts for two decades. Its future is still beknownst.

The Memorial Today

The memorial and cross are presided over by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, a nonprofit California 501(c)3 corporation, who purchased the land in 1992. Their mission statement is: To enhance and preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial honoring veterans who have served our country and to educate the general public about service to our country and the sacrifice that veterans make to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. In August 2006, the Memorial was officially transferred to the Department of Defense and is now managed and operated by Commander, Navy Region Southwest located in San Diego, California.

The walls that have been constructed ultimately hold 3,200 black granite plaques which can be purchased by donors and engraved with the names and photos of war veterans. Currently, more than 2,700 are in place. Each plaque tells the story of a veteran’s military service or that of a group’s military service. It includes members of all military services: the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps., Air Force, Coast Guard, and also the Merchant Marines who served during World War II. A large American flag flies over the Memorial. The brick pavers honor veterans and supporters as well. The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is open to the public and docents are available as well as volunteer opportunities exist.

Where Thousands Gather to Honor Our Veterans

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By Suzi Pignataro

He’s been watching me for about forty minutes from behind a creased and dog-eared trade copy of Don Quixote. I guess a hippie chick stirring a pot of wax over an open fire on the beach might be more captivating than a self-deluded Spaniard – especially if you’re a young dude who’s obviously a long way from home and most likely chasing after an impossible dream or two of his own. Midwestern farm boy of German extraction is my guess, judging by the Wrangler jeans, faded flannel shirt, close-cropped blond curls and naturally tanned skin. He’s long and lean with surprisingly delicate hands. Hmm…Maybe not a farm boy after all, maybe just some small-town kid hitch-hiking through California. His Converse sneakers look new, as does the Padres cap: probably threw away his cowboy boots and hat at the border.

I’ve been eyeing him, too, you see.
It’s my last week in Coronado, the town where I was born and have lived my first eighteen years. Next week, I pack up my goods in my ’67 Volvo that I’ve christened Gunnar, and caravan with my parents up Highway 101 to Sonoma County. I’m college bound.
I take orange, red, and yellow crayons out of their box, strip off the paper, and break them into bits that I drop into the melted paraffin. I stir the liquid with a wooden spoon and watch the colors swirl and bleed into each other.
“‘Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and – ’”
I let out a yelp and drop the spoon into the pot, splattering hot wax on my hands.


With the boy trotting next to me – flustered and chanting, “CRAP-crap, CRAP-crap” to the rhythm of his footsteps – I run down to the shore, flapping my blistering hands and crying out, “AhGhee! AhGhee!” like a wounded bird. We squat at the water’s edge where I bury my hands in the cold wet sand.

The boy scrubs his face with his shirt sleeve. “I am so sorry. I should have known I’d startle you.”

He’s not from the Midwest: not with that voice, and not with quoting Shakespeare. The game is still in play in my head. I need him to keep talking.

“No sweat,” I reply. The salt stings my skin; I feel the wax tightening as it cools. “So, why Don Quixote?”

His hands flutter toward the water. Long straight fingers lightly tap the surface. He laughs. It’s almost a girl’s giggle, and one at his expense. When he looks up at me, I see his eyes clearly for the first time. They’re the color of a Greek Island cove flecked with gold coin.

“It’s comforting to find a dreamer crazier than myself, I guess,” he confesses.

Hmm…Educated, articulate, wry humor, and no discernable accent. Grew up in various parts of the country, maybe even the world.

“You’re a Navy brat,” I declare triumphantly.

The boy rocks back on his feet, which, like mine, are soaked. He hugs his knees and frowns at me. “How do you know?”

“And not just any Navy brat,” I continue, ignoring him. “One with a high ranking dad – maybe even some mucky-muck in Europe, hence the Spanish novel and Macbeth – and you’ve had some private school education.”

He eyeballs me, taking in the long expanse of patchwork velvet and lace, the black army boots, the braids framing my face, and beaded earrings dangling from my ears. He wants to be amused, annoyed or curious. He settles for curious. “I take it you are not a Navy brat.”

“Well, I’m definitely a brat,” I reply evasively. I begin to peel off the solid wax from my hands. Underneath, the skin is puckered and red.

The boy furrows his eyebrows. “You need to have that looked at.”

I wave a blotchy hand. “Nah. It’s okay.”

“No,” he persists. “You don’t want it to get septic.”

Hmm…Make that Navy surgeon of high ranking. Possibly head of a Navy hospital in…where would it be…Gibraltar? Marseilles? Where do we have Navy hospitals in Europe? Are we in Europe?

“Your dad a doctor?” I ask.

The boy shakes his head impatiently, but a smile begs to break out on that handsome face. “You lose.”

Two fighter jets roar over our heads, their wheels dropping in preparation for landing at North Island. I look up to watch, but the boy ducks his head. He seems unnerved by the planes and their bone-jarring shriek. He takes me by the elbow. “Let’s go back to your cauldron, witch.”

After tucking Don Quixote into his knapsack, the boy joins me at the fire where I demonstrate how to make sand candles. He gets a little misty-eyed when I tell him they’re a parting gift for my mother: a reminder of her daughter away at school. He confides that he didn’t leave his mother anything to remember him by when he left home.

“And where is home?” I prod, as I pour sunset colors into a mold in the sand.

The boy shrugs into himself as another jet screeches overhead. I wait patiently for its blast to pass, then observe, “You may be Navy, but you’re not naval air.”

The boy chuckles nervously. “How can you live with that?”

I return the pot to the fire and throw in more paraffin. “I can’t. Where I’m moving to has no military bases; just rolling hills and redwoods.” I look him in the eye. “So, where are you from?”

The boy watches the wax melt. “I’m taking some time off before I go to Columbia.”


“That’s right.”

The boy didn’t answer my question, did he? Twice now, he’s evaded it. I turn and face him, digging my fists into my waist.

“Are you going to tell me where you’re from, or are you going to continue to drive me crazy?” I demand.

The boy laughs, but there’s respect in his voice when he says, “You’re something else, you know that?” He takes the spoon from me and stirs the wax. “It’s like you said: I’m a Navy brat. I’ve lived in lots of places. And for your information – because you’re dying to know – I don’t like tons of metal and weaponry flying right over my head, and my dad is not a doctor.” He extends his free hand. “I’m Jay*.”

“And I’m Suzi,” I reply. I offer my own hand. He accepts it, carefully avoiding the burns.

“Nice to meet you, Suzi.”

“Likewise, Jay.”

Jay drives a blue and white VW bus, which he insists upon using to transport me and my candle paraphernalia back home. The bus bears Virginia plates. A Navy duffle bag inscribed with the name, “J. R. Hess”, lies on the floor in the back, along with the accoutrement necessary for camping. Some sort of Native American crystal-and-bead mumbo-jumbo hangs from the rear view mirror by a circular webbing of rawhide strips. Questions percolate. This guy’s pay dirt.

“So, where did you live in Virginia?”

Jay turns the engine and signals to leave the curb. “The usual Navy brat places,” he replies absently while checking his side mirror.

“Why the Navy bag with your name on it? Are you full German?”

Jay collects his patience and directs it into his white-knuckled fists. They relax. “It’s my dad’s. We share the same name. And, no, I’m not full German. My mom’s family is Dutch and English.”

“Oh.” I flick my finger at the crystal-and-bead hanging. “And what’s with the Indian whatchamacall–”

Jay slams on his brakes as three sailors dressed in whites run right in front of us. I grunt on impact with the dashboard; my fingers grab the hanging for purchase and wrench it – along with the mirror – from the windshield. Jay yells and gesticulates. The sailors flip us off and call us “dirty hippy freaks” with jaw-dropping originality. Jay and I look at each other, then at the amputated mirror, and laugh.

“I’ve heard worse,” I say, settling back into my seat, the mirror and hanging sitting in my lap as we finally make our way down Ocean Boulevard toward the Del. “They really hassle the local girls. I mean it can get pretty scary.” I point at the Navy ships anchored just past Point Loma, the helicopters practicing maneuvers out over the waves. “This war. It’s not just being waged over in Nam. It’s being carried out here, in my own home town, between the swabbies and us.” I turn to Jay. He’s watching me with an intensity that makes me feel exposed. I look away.

He clears his throat. “Have the sailors hassled you personally?”

I grimace. “I’ll answer you if you answer me.”

“Answer you what?”

“Why do you have your dad’s duffle bag, and what are you doing in Coronado?”

We drive along the beach in silence.

I am but a tiny thread in the timeless spinning of my family’s yarn, and we are but a minor yarn in the ever-expanding fabric of the human race. Yet, without me – and those threads that came before me and will come after me – the fabric would bear a miniscule hole. Too many of those holes and the fabric would fray, unravel and fall apart into a grimy heap of unimportant tissue on a blue planet. The fabric needs my thread, my parent’s thread, my children’s thread.

All my life, I’ve wondered about my family’s contribution to the history of humankind and who I carry in my blood: Germans, but what type: Teutonic? Franconian? Angle? Saxon? Or, like Jay, Hessian? Celts, but what tribe: Strathclyde? Gael? Pict? Were we Welsh farmers always, or did we also mine coal? And when did my Scots ancestors transplant to Northern Ireland? And why?

By the time I meet Jay, my thirst for such knowledge has reached beyond my own kin. I now seek it from everyone. So, I ask questions. Sometimes, people invite me to climb their family’s tree with them, introducing me to each and every limb; other times, they push me out and I land on my ass.

I want to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of this person called “Jay”, and who he carries in his blood.

“Jolly! Your name is Jolly?! That’s what the J stands for? What does the R stand for? Friggin’ Roger?!”

“You’ll have to excuse my daughter. She’s not exactly the queen of tact.”

We’re standing in my kitchen with my mother, who beams at Jay as if Monty Hall’s personally delivered him from behind door number three. Jay looks like he’s just licked a banana slug, and I’m fantasizing about shoving chicken guts down my mother’s polyester pants suit. All in all, it’s a weird moment.

Jay walked through my kitchen door and right into the sticky web that’s my parents’ Everything-Navy world. As soon as I introduced him to my mother – standing at the counter frosting a cake while singing along with Andy Williams on the radio – he was caught and wrapped like a prize fly. Recognition lit up my mother’s blue eyes, as she exclaimed, “Not little Jolly Hess!” Jay blushed and shuffled his feet, and gave up any hope of flight.

“No. I mean, yes. I mean, no and yes,” Jay stammers in reply to my ill-mannered question. “It’s Jerald Roger. I couldn’t — ”

“He couldn’t say his name — ‘Jerry’– as a little boy,” my mother interrupts with gusto, pointing at him with a spoonful of gloppy Ganache. “He called himself Jolly, and it stuck.”

I’m counting the seconds before the Ganache slides off the spoon and onto her fastidiously polished white sneakers.

“And just precisely how do you know this?” I ask; but I’ve already guessed the answer, and it’s pissing me off.

“Because your father and I know Jolly’s parents – Admiral and Mrs. Hess – and met Jolly at their home in Honolulu.” My mother waves the spoon and fails to notice that chocolate goo now decorates her blond head. There is a god after all. “You were eight,” she says to Jay, then turns to me. “And you were seven. Remember that time your father and I went away for a second honeymoon and left you kids with your grandmother?”

Jay doesn’t recollect meeting my parents and he apologetically admits as much to my mother. She forgives him with a laugh and a smile, and invites him not only to dinner but to sleep in my sister’s old bedroom rather than suffer another brisk night in the bus. Jay accepts, but I can see it on his face that he’d rather not be corralled by family friends.

As for me, I’m about to burst an aorta. I’m eighteen years old, and as far as my parents know, I’ve never had a boyfriend or even a date. This is because they warned me that only jocks or Navy officers’ sons – preferably one and the same – would be accepted into their good graces. With my attraction to liberal males with long hair and peace signs, I’ve had to keep my love interests a secret. The only reason my mother is fawning over Jay is because he’s NAVY. I’m pretty sure she’ll be planning our engagement party over dessert.

I abruptly excuse Jay from my mother’s clutches and lead him to the farthest corner of the back yard, where I hide the candles in the firewood bin. I turn to him, wringing my hands.

“I am so sorry about this,” I cry. “I had no idea she knew you. You don’t have to stay.”

Jay stares at our lemon tree as if it’s the Burning Bush; but there are no heavenly words of wisdom coming forth from its yellow fruit. Not even a “Hey, life’s a bitch, pal,” from the ghostly remains of our pets buried beneath its branches.

“If it’s all the same to you,” he replies after a moment, “a home-cooked meal and warm bed sound awfully good right now.”

I bury my face in my hands.

Dinner is a culinary success and a social disaster. My parents hold their own naval court from their respective places at the bow and stern of the table, while Jay squirms in his seat like a foreign dignitary keeping one anxious eye on the gangplank. My dad subjects him to a ruthless interrogation; my mom plays “good cop”. I quietly eat my beans and potatoes, praying for a swift and painless death.

“Columbia,” my dad repeats, making a face. “Why would you want to go there? It’s for bastard Commie intellectuals.”

And he’s off!

Jay coughs behind his fist, stealing a glance in my direction. I shrug back. I can’t help him. Once out the gate, there’s no holding back my father. Jay will just have to deal with it.

“I didn’t know that, sir. I’ll reconsider my options,” he remarks diplomatically. Not a bad liar; he just might survive this.

My dad lays his own fist on the table. Not a good sign. “Why aren’t you attending the Naval Academy like your dad?” he challenges, tight-throated. “If you’ve got the grades to get accepted into that hotbed of Bolshevik potheads, you’re smart enough to be a naval officer and serve your country. Don’t be an idiot.”

“Anyone for cake?” interjects my mother with false cheer. She’s worried my father is ruining her only chance at becoming true Navy aristocracy.

I stand up, grab my plate and silverware and look Jay in the eye.

“Later, Mom. We have a date.”

We sit at the shore admiring the last purple-hued breath of sunset. Everything Navy has disappeared for the time being; Coronado is once again a quiet town of locals and tourists, floating on an emerald lily pad.

We escaped my parents by car. Gunnar choked into life like a grumpy old man and reluctantly carried us to the Del. From there we walked along the water’s edge until our legs gave out, laid down an old quilt I keep stashed in Gunnar’s trunk, and fell wearily on our butts.

I’ve apologized for my father’s rudeness so many times, I’m sick of the words. I move on to a happier subject.

“I want to live on a farm, with lots of animals and a huge veggie garden,” I say. “I can’t think beyond that.”

Jay nods. “I can see it. I hope you get everything you want. I really do.”

“Thanks. And what about you?”

Jay sifts sand through his hands while carefully considering his response. He’s taking so long I grow impatient.

“What’s that impossible dream you think is so crazy?” I prod.

Without looking up, Jay replies, “Suzi, there’s something I need to tell you. I should have told you right off.”

I feel all tingly, and not in a good way. “Sure.”

Jay turns to me. He lays his hands in his lap and composes himself with a deep breath. “The bus belongs to my oldest and best friend who’s ship is coming into North Island from Nam in a couple of days. I drove it out from Virginia Beach for him.”

I laugh from relief. “That’s a good thing, isn’t it? I mean he’s coming home, right? And you got to go on a road trip before going off to college.” Then it dawns on me. “Oh, shit. I’ve been talking trash about sailors, and your best friend is –”

Jay holds up a hand and I shut up.

“He’s shipping in and I’m shipping out.”


The clock on my nightstand says it’s 5 A.M. I stare at it and decide it’s old-fashioned – and not in a cool way. I pick it up and chuck it toward my trashcan. It clears the sides and lands on a pile of papers with a thud.

I’ve been lying awake all night carrying on a battle that leaves me spent but wired. I’ve thrown mental grenades at everyone – my parents, Jay’s parents, Jay – only to wail over their broken bodies. I’m pissed off and sad and scared. I want this fucking war to be over. Despite my pacifist leanings, I want Jay to go to Columbia to study journalism and reach his dream of becoming a war correspondent, just as he’d stated to me on the beach, the night before.

“But why put yourself through this first?” I’d yelled at him. “What’s being a sailor going to do for you that will come to any good?”

“It will give me the perspective of the men at the bottom of the ladder, rather than the one I’ve always lived with: that of the men at the top,” he explained, his voice steady and patient. “And it will help me find out if I can really handle being around war.”

“You’re just doing it for your father!” I accused. “You’re placating him!”

“Not at all,” Jay responded evenly. “If that were the case, I’d be at Annapolis right now.”

But he’s not at Annapolis, or Columbia. He’s down the hall in one of my sister’s twin beds. In a little while he’ll wake up to the travel alarm he set before turning in. He’ll enter my bathroom, use my toilet, sink and shower; dry off with the towels my mother laid out for him. Then he’ll dress in his whites, which are carefully folded in that cursed duffle bag, scrounge up some food, and leave.

“Will you eat breakfast with me and say good-bye?” he’d asked me last night, in the kitchen, as we ate the slices of cake left out for us by my mother.

I wanted to throw my plate at him. Take my fork and stab him in the arm.

“Of course,” I replied with a reassuring smile. I’m not a bad liar, either.

At dawn I give up on sleep and pad out of my room and into the den, where I’m shocked by the image of my father feeding doves in the back yard. The tenderness with which he talks to the birds and their unconditional trust in him leads me to believe I’m witnessing a daily ritual about which I knew nothing. That, and the way my father shivers against the morning cold brings tears to my eyes. Did I ever know this man? Was he ever this gentle and open with me?

I slide back the patio door, and he turns toward me so casually it’s as if he’s been waiting for me. He continues to scatter birdseed as he asks, “Did you get any sleep, honey?”

I’m unnerved by the consideration in his voice. “Um…well…you know…not really.”

He nods his head in understanding, and I hold back more tears and the urge to run to him for comfort. I can’t remember the last time he held me. Then it hits me. “Wait a minute. You know?”

“I called his dad after you two left last night,” answers my father. “I wanted him to know we had Jolly — I mean, Jay — under our care and” — my father chuckles — “to try to knock some sense into Jerry about his son going to that Commie school in New York. I have to say, I was surprised by the boy’s plan.” He looks me in the eye. “I gather so were you.”

We move back into the house and to the warmth of the den. How often do I sit with my father and talk to him in any real sort of way? Never. We’re like two porcupines unwilling to sacrifice personal comfort for a hug.

“Daddy,” I begin, shy and unsure, “is he going to be okay?”

“Honey, no one can answer that. I’ve been through two wars and was lucky never to be in harm’s way. I was in command of a destroyer in Korea. They’re big and well armed.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be an aircraft carrier. I don’t like tons of metal and weaponry flying right over my head.

“He’ll be a hell of a lot safer than most, I can tell you that,” my father concludes.

“I think he’s crazy,” I gripe.

“Well, you shouldn’t, Suzi. He’s brave, and he’s right. He does need to know how it feels to be in a war, if he’s going to write about it. I wish all these left-wing journalists had half as much courage and forthrightness as Jay has.”

I leave my father to his morning coffee. As I approach the back of the house, expletives explode from inside my bathroom. I knock on the door.

“Oh — sorry,” comes Jay’s sheepish reply. “I didn’t know anyone could hear me.”

“Hey, it’s me.”

Jay opens the door. He’s in white boxers and a T-shirt. He’s cut his thumb while changing razor blades; his blood — and the blood of every ancestor that’s come before him — runs down his raised arm.

“What?” he asks. From the way he says that one word I know he’s been up all night, too. His fear is like a wild animal frantically clawing its way out from inside his skin, desperate to escape his madness.

“I want you to tell me your family history.” I eye the razor on the counter; the open wound. “And I want us to be blood brother and sister.”

Jay takes my hand.

~ ~ ~

* All identifying information regarding “Jay” and his family has been changed.


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By Kimberley Graham

Several years ago, when our children were very young, there was an adorable, friendly couple who lived a few doors down from us:  Mandy ‘n’ Randy.  Mandy was a civil engineer and Randy in flight command with the Navy.  We lived happily near each other for years.  They had a precious Pomeranian and an apartment full of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia.  Randy used to frequently come out and watch the kids play engaging them with their toys and childhood innocence.  They were the only ones we ever trusted to watch our kids in an emergency.

Randy went onto begin training with the UDT teams.  One momentous 4th of July, unbeknownst to any of us, Randy began drinking very early in the morning as do most of us who live on Orange on the Fourth.  Also unbeknownst to us was that he had been thrown out of the UDT due to mental issues receiving no psychiatric care or follow-up.  As we all sat outside enjoying the parade, his ex-team members came by on a float jeering and teasing him on.  Right over the edge, Randy went (and had done so, we later found out with his wife, on many occasions).

He began marching around in the median with an American flag he had commandeered while shouting and acting a huge-bit nuts.  Then he went home and smashed out all his windows while throwing a Bouie knife into the wall.  It turns out Randy had been sleeping with an arsenal under his pillow and bed for years becoming increasingly paranoid at the same time.

Mandy ran down to get my husband’s help who approached our distraught friend very slowly.  He found Randy passed out on the floor.  After a long talk, Randy agreed to drink coffee, sober up, and quit terrorizing his Mandy and doggie.  Well, when he got down to Central Liquor with his wife to get that coffee, he changed his mind and wanted to get some more booze.  The store refused to sell him any more liquor.  Another hysterical march down the median with his American flag and deflated patriotism ensued.

Once again, Mandy ran hysterically down to find my husband, Al.  This time, Randy had gotten into his storage in the communal courtyard and was unpacking a chest of weapons and ammunition.  After this discovery, Al stealthily returned home to secure the kids, Mandy, the neighbors, and to call 911.  I was at work while all this was occurring.  The Coronado police battalion arrived to find him sitting in an armchair in front of the back door aiming a gun to any passers-by.  SWAT team was called in and the area was cordoned off.  The stolen American flag was poised next to our friend, who we always thought was “dear sweet harmless Randy”.  While my kids hugged and tried to comfort their beloved “Mandy” friend, a single shot was fired and Randy took his life.  All the neighbors were hiding and it took a long time for the exorcism of this event to occur.  Broken out windows, yellow police tape everywhere, and a devastated widow, doggie, all the neighbors, my kids, and us were left behind in the human’s ashes of a very disturbed young soldier.

When Randy was discharged abruptly from the UDT training program due to questionable mental disabilities and psychological disorders, he never received any counseling from the Navy or follow-up even though his superiors knew he was a very unstable and dangerous young man to himself and to others.  We hope this sort of treatment has been corrected for similar service people who are clearly “at risk” putting the community at large in peril.

May Randy rest in peace?

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OLD IRONSIDES — Little Known Tidbit of Naval History

Submitted by Ray Fletcher

“Good Ole Days”

The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men.  This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea.  She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers).

However, let it be noted that according to her ship’s log, “On July 27, 1798, the USS Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder, and 79,400 gallons of rum. Her mission:  “To destroy and harass English shipping.”

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum.  Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wineOn 18 November, she set sail for England.  In the ensuing days, she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each. By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted.  Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland.  Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn.  Then she headed home. The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799 with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water. GO NAVY!

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By Nina Odele

I’m proud to be a Coronado resident.  I love my Crown City and have been fortunate enough to live here most of my life.  When I was a young girl in the 1960s, Coronado was all about the Navy.  As it should be! Many of my childhood friends’ dads were Navy.  Our family had lots of Navy friends. Orange Avenue was always full of men in uniform.  Of course, back then, I wasn’t aware of exactly what the Navy actually does. We were civilian.

I have great memories of going to the pool and the movies on Base with my Navy kid pals.  It was a simple time then and even civilians could get on Base fairly easily.  My best friend worked in the commissary.  I loved going there as a teen. Great deals on the mascara I loved but wasn’t (technically) allowed to wear yet!

During the Viet Nam War, every TV news show was chocked full of war footage:  Pure carnage — Every day — Crazy stuff — Guys half blown up — Grief stricken young widows back home in the States — Children suddenly fatherless.  Sadly, I simply took it in stride as “normal.”  I had no real concept of who was getting blown up by whom or why.  I was too young.  That was grown up stuff and I was busy being a kid.

When I was in high school (GO ISLANDERS!)  The young enlisted men used to hoot and holler at us local gals everywhere we went.  Sometimes we’d get them to buy us beer with promises of meeting them down at the beach to party.  This practice was called “tapping”.  Of course, we’d get the beer, put it in our back packs, then haul on our bikes over to a friend’s house whose parents were out of town, and laugh our butts off at what suckers those Navy guys were to believe us!  Alright, I’m not proud of it, but it was what it was.

When I learned details about Viet Nam and the horrible injustices our Navy personnel endured when they came home to the States, I was incredibly shocked and humbled.  The fact that our great Country treated these brave people who had fought for our freedom abroad like monsters upon their return was beyond all reason.  Those Veterans got the shaft from the very place they were protecting.  It was ugly.  I still remember those news shows and how horrible the carnage was.  It haunts me to this day.

I cannot fathom how the men who saw it all first hand could cope once they were back home.  A great many couldn’t cope. They went crazy or committed suicide.  There was also a huge divorce rate among Navy families after the war.  Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was epidemic due to the fact that even our own Government turned their backs on the Veterans who were so desperately in need of monetary and psychological help.

After every other war, our returning veterans were treated like kings.  I remember feeling so heartbroken for the Viet Nam era guys.  And ashamed at the powers that be for allowing such blatant neglect.  Where was “Big Brother” during all this injustice?  I had already gained a great deal of respect for the Navy by that time.  This Twilight Zone type homecoming amplified that respect ten-fold.

Last week, I read something in the local newspaper that instantly made me quite ill.  It was an article about how several Coronado residents were complaining about the “noise” from the Navy base.  Not jets, not ‘copters — the FLAG raising and lowering ceremonies!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Each morning at 0750, two separate locations on Base play “Reveille” with bugles.  At 0800, they raise the American Flag(s) and play the Star Spangled Banner.  Each evening at dusk, the same locations lower our Flag(s) and play “Taps.”  These ceremonies have always brought out the Patriot in me.  They also make me feel well protected and extremely thankful for my freedom.  We live somewhere in the middle of the two locations described above.  The bugles sound at the same time every day.  You can set your watch by them!  I love standing outside hearing them in “stereo.”  The fact that “several Coronado residents” are bothered enough by the bugles to complain is one thing.  These residents are most likely transplants with no respect for Navy tradition or their own freedom for that matter!

The Flag ceremonies are not a new addition to Coronado.  They are tradition and have been exactly the same as long as I’ve lived here (50 years).  The thing that bothers me the most is that our esteemed Mayor actually took these complaints seriously enough to bring the subject up at City Hall.  Shame on you Mr. Mayor.  Are you really going to tell the Navy to “keep it down” due to a few rich idiots who have nothing better to do than complain?  I think not.  In a perfect world, these whiners would be told to move (preferably out of the USA) if they don’t like it.  Sadly, this world is far from perfect.  I suggest these “citizens” take a crash course in Naval history (emphasis on the Viet Nam era “homecoming”).  Another suggestion would be for these sour few to be taken on Base and be forced to clean all the latrines with their personal toothbrushes!

The good news is that 99.9 percent of Coronado residents do have a very healthy respect for the Navy.  Even though our “Big Admirals”, who used to be everywhere are now giving way to a new generation, we honor ALL Navy personnel — past or present, living or dead.  Those who choose not to honor them should not be Coronado residents.  We don’t want them here anyway! Ironically, the Navy fights for our freedom.  And people can live anywhere they please.  It’s because of the Navy (and all branches of Military) that whiners are free to whine.  Like I said before, it’s not a perfect world.

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By Al Graham

I have not heard a word from my friend Silent since he was deployed in August.  He is in a hostile land defending his country, and in particular, the lives of those in combat.  He has fought many a fray; he fought and he won.  He is called when our troops are plagued by enemy sniper fire.  He is the antidote and/or the cure.

It is hot as hell in a dusty, Afghan village.  An enemy “Super Sniper” proudly wears a gruesome merit badge signifying “Top Dog” status awarded for dissembling the lives of young Americans by the score.  Today another young Marine will be felled from far off by a remorseless assassin.

Silent has been tasked to “terminate with extreme prejudice”, and he will do just that.  The hunt is on; and if past record is lived out, Silent will bring down his quarry in bulk.  Silent is also “Top Dog” in his field.  Even now after eight deployments and many close calls, he excels.  Not long ago, he lost his left hand in a training accident; and to all, it looked like the end of his career.  Silent had other ideas.  Even before he had fully healed, he was back with a determined vengeance. 

It takes two hands to do Silent’s highly specialized job.  He does it with one hand and one hook — a device he fashioned for himself from leather and steel.  At nine a.m., Silent is half buried in the ground.  He has been there for two days waiting and watching.  He tells of an unseen and foreboding presence – a just before presence of every encounter.  Hairs on the back of his neck bristle and all becomes deathly silent.  In that awesome stillness lies a tension that could smash steel, but it is encased in serene assuredness; and Silent is about to drop the curtain bringing an end to this deathly minuet.

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By Kimberley (Dill) Graham

On November 18, 1955, I was delivered into the arms of a stellar beauty queen and a dashing young medical student in the fair city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During the day, my mother and I performed typical 1950s housewife chores and primped, in eager anticipation of our knight in shining armor’s return. We were a beautiful young family, full of promise and hope.

Jan and Don Dill had been teenage sweethearts and were now youthful adults setting out on their quest for the All-American Dream.  Deeply in love and blessed with enormous passion, the “perfect ones” were an idyllic couple.  They quickly completed our family with the addition of my two fine-looking brothers.

My parents grew up together in Ohio.  They came from similar backgrounds; their parents were restaurateurs of German and French descent.  It was a wholesome beginning, with my father a star football player and my mother a cheerleader, homecoming prom queen and beauty pageant winner.  Janet Reller and Donald Dill were the envy of their small hometown, and were the most likely to succeed in life and in the fulfillment of The Dream.

After graduating at the top of his class at Jefferson Memorial Medical School, my father interned at the hospital of the same name.  My mother was his stunningly gorgeous stay-at-home wife and mother of his three adorable children.  My parents managed on very little money, driven by the assurance of a brighter future.

In order to further his career as well as fulfill his duty to God and Country, my father joined the Navy in an officer program where he served as a Lieutenant Flight Surgeon. We were whisked away to Pensacola, Florida, where my father received his military training.  After completing a tour of duty in South America, he was commissioned to the Naval Air Station on North Island, across the bay from San Diego, California. We arrived in 1960, settling into the officers’ quarters directly across from the airstrip. It was a good life, with the guarantee of it only getting better.

North Island shared a rock-bed peninsula with the bright and sunny beach town of Coronado – the “The Crown City” or, “Emerald Isle”.  It got its name from when it was separated from the town by a channel of water dubbed “The Spanish Bight”.  When the Navy took over the island, it filled in the channel, turning North Island and Coronado into one land mass.

As kids, my brothers and I lived in a fantasyland of constant adventure as we explored every nook and cranny of North Island.  We ran wild with no cares.  We played in the “enchanted forest” behind our home (a small grove of eucalyptus trees that separated us from the rest of the world).  We climbed trees and fences.  We swam in the Officers’ Club pool every day and frequented the base’s private beach, where we built sand castles and wiggled our little toes in the warm comforting sand while eating hot greasy French Fries smothered in ketchup.  Each morning we awoke to the rumbling engines of jet fighters readying for military maneuvers.  It was a child’s paradise, rivaling any created by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson or Daniel Defoe.

On Sundays, we went to church where my mother assisted in the Sunday school.  We always dressed to the nines, with my mother adorned in harmonizing hats or bonnets decorated with an array of flowers, bows and ribbons matching her superb coiffure.  As with all of the talented housewives of her generation, Janet found immense pleasure in creating her own hats, dresses and suits.  She took great pride in dressing us in matching outfits for all to admire, her handsome Lieutenant husband/Prince Valiant gracing her side.

After our obligatory morning at church, we attended the double feature at the base’s theater.  Every movie show began with a black and white news communiqué warning us of the Communists who, we were informed, were coming to get us.  We lived in fright of this threat.  It was very real to us, and I remember being terrified that my father would be called away to war.  That fear is still vivid in my memory.

Another crystal-clear memory of living on North Island is of President Dwight D. Eisenhower passing by our home, waving to us from inside a convertible absent of Secret Servicemen.  Life was easy then.  People were not afraid for their president’s safety.  John F. Kennedy and the tragedy of losing our president was still years away.

In 196o, after three years of base living, the Dill family continued its pursuit of the All-American Dream. Having successfully served his naval commission, my father was once more a civilian.  Dr. James Mushovic asked him to join his small family practice in Coronado.  The office was located in a very small building on the corner of Eighth Street and Orange Avenue, and was the type of practice where doctors delivered babies and made house calls.  My father readily agreed to join medical forces with “Doctor Jim”.

As there was no medical insurance in those days, people paid what they could; yet, my father never had to worry about affording repairs or paying for groceries. Dr. Mushovic and Dr. Dill knew all of their patients on a first-name basis, and knew the names of all their family members, having delivered most of them.

My parents soon began their search for our first home.  They found it in a lovely Spanish style abode at 1132 Glorietta Boulevard.  It was a two-story house  – a mansion by our standards – with a large back yard, a lanai, and a maid’s quarters over the garage.  Directly across from the home lay the Coronado Municipal Golf Course, beyond which one enjoyed breathtaking views of the exquisite Glorietta Bay and Pacific Ocean.  There were no Coronado Shores then; you really did see the ocean from our top floor, the only obstacle being the “Castle” standing guard over the town’s pristine beaches.  The Castle, of course, was the magically enchanting Hotel Del Coronado.  In that year, my parents purchased this sprawling property for the hefty sum of $13,500.

With our time on North Island come to an end, we moved into our spacious home on Glorietta Boulevard – the best street in town, in many of the locals’ opinion – and onto a new fantasy life for the Dill family, with the promise of bigger dreams coming true.  The adventures were about to begin – and surely they did.  As a young child and remembering back, this is the way I saw my life.

In progress…

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In loving memory of my father, Max LeVine, a Pearl Harbor Survivor.

These Pearl Harbor photos were taken from a sailor who was on the USS Quapaw ATF-110.  They were found in an old Brownie camera in a foot locker and just recently taken to be developed.  What quality from 1941!

Isn’t it amazing how a film could last so long in a camera without disintegrating!  Taken over 68 years, these photos are fantastic!  Some of you would have to go to a museum to see what a Brownie camera looked like.  Here is a simple picture of what we are talking about:  

Pearl Harbor

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii .  By planning this attack on a Sunday, the Japanese commander, Admiral Nagumo, hoped to catch the entire fleet in port.  As luck would have it, the aircraft carriers and one of the battleships were not in port.  The USS Enterprise was returning from Wake Island, where it had just delivered some aircraft.  The USS Lexington was ferrying aircraft to Midway, and the USS Saratoga and the USS Colorado were undergoing repairs in the United States.

In spite of the latest intelligence reports about the missing aircraft carriers his most important targets, Admiral Nagumo decided to continue the attack with his force of six carriers and 423 aircraft.  At a range of 230 miles north of Oahu, he launched the first wave of a two-wave attack.  Beginning at 0600 hours his first wave consisted of 183 fighters and torpedo bombers which struck at the fleet in Pearl Harbor and the air fields in Hickam, Kaneohe and Ewa.  The second strike, launched at 0715 hours, consisted of 167 aircraft, which again struck at the same targets.

At 0753 hours, the first wave consisting of 40 Nakajima B5N2 ‘Kate’ torpedo bombers, 51 Aichi D3A1 ‘Val’ dive bombers, 50 high altitude bombers and 43 Zeros struck airfields and Pearl Harbor.  Within the next hour, the second wave arrived and continued the attack.  When it was over, the U.S. losses were:

Casualties – 2,403 KIA; 1, 178 WIA; Battleships Total Loss — USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma; USS Utah; 3 others were sunk, raised, & repaired; 3 suffered light damage; Cruisers – 1, heavily damaged; 4 lightly damaged – all repaired; Minelayer, Seaplane Tender, Repair Ship, Harbor Tug – 2 sunk, raised, & repaired; 2 severely damaged, repaired; Aircraft – 188 destroyed.


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Nina Odele

Women have had a continuous and growing presence in the U.S. Navy throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Women worked as nurses for the Navy as early as the American Civil War. The United States Navy Nurse Corps was officially established in 1908. Whenever international or domestic events dictated the need, the Navy expanded its opportunities for women to serve.

The first large-scale employment of women as naval personnel took place to meet the severe clerical shortages of the World War I era. The Naval Reserve Act of 1916 had conspicuously omitted mention of gender as a condition for service, leading to formal permission to begin enlisting women in mid-March 1917, shortly before the United States entered the “Great War.” Nearly six hundred Yeomen (Females) were on duty by the end of April 1917, a number that had grown to over eleven thousand in December 1918, shortly after the Armistice.

The Yeomen (F), or “Yeomanettes” as they were popularly known, primarily served in secretarial and clerical positions, though some were translators, draftsmen, fingerprint experts, ship camouflage designers, and recruiting agents. The great majority were assigned duties at naval installations in the continental United States, frequently near their homes, processing the great volume of paperwork generated by the war effort.

Yeomen (F), all of whom held enlisted ranks, continued in service during the first months of the post-war naval reductions. Their numbers declined steadily, reaching just under four thousand by the end of July 1919, when they were all released from active duty. Yeomen (F) were continued on inactive reserve status, receiving modest retainer pay, until the end of their four-year enlistments, at which point all women except Navy nurses disappeared from the uniformed Navy until 1942.

Many honorably discharged Yeomen (F) were appointed to civil service positions in the same Navy yards and stations where they had served in wartime. Entitled to veterans’ preference for government employment, they provided a strong female presence in the Navy’s civilian staff through the decades after World War I.

We could begin anywhere with the history of women in the military forces, and especially in the naval forces.  So, let’s just start with the WAVES: The U.S. Navy created a division which consisted entirely of women in the World War II era. WAVES is an acronym for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service”. With the word “emergency” included, it implied that women were only accepted to this all-men league in unusual circumstances of war and that at the end of such war, the women would not be allowed to continue in naval careers.

After a twenty-three year absence, women returned to general Navy service in August 1942, when Milfred McAfee was sworn in as a Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander, the first female commissioned officer in U.S. naval history. Lt. Commander McAfee was also the first Director of the WAVES. This legendary female was also President of Wellesley College. This occurred two months after the WAAC (Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps) was established and Eleanor Roosevelt convinced Congress to authorize a women’s component of the Navy – the WAVES.

Lt. Commander McAfee

In the decades since the last of the Yeomen left active duty, only a relatively small corps of Navy nurses represented their gender in the naval service and they had never had formal officer status. Now, the Navy was preparing to accept not just a large number of enlisted women, as it had done during World War I, but female Commissioned Officers to supervise them. It was a development of lasting significance.

An important distinction between WAAC and the WAVES was the fact that the WAAC was an “auxiliary” organization serving with the Army, not in it. From the very beginning, the WAVES were an official part of the Navy, and its members held the same rank and ratings as male personnel. They also received the same pay and were subject to military discipline. The WAAC became the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in July, 1943, giving its members military status to that of the WAVES.

WAVES could not serve aboard combat ships or aircraft. Initially, these women were restricted to duty in the continental United States. Late in WWII, WAVES were authorized to serve in certain overseas U.S. possessions, and a number were sent to Hawaii. The war ended before any could be sent to other locations.

Within their first years, the WAVES were 27,000 strong – mostly assuming clerical work. The WAVES did not accept any African-American women until late 1944, at which point they trained one black woman for every 36 white women enlisted. In 1948, with the passage of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, women gained permanent status in the armed services. Although, the WAVES officially ceased to exist at this point, the acronym continued to exist until well into the 1970s.

The first six enlisted women to be sworn into the regular Navy on July 7, 1948 were Kay Langdon, Wilma Marchal, Edna Young, Frances Devaney, Doris Robertson, and Ruth Flora. On October 15, 1948, the first eight women to be commissioned in the regular Navy were Joy Bright Hancock, Winifred Quick Collins, Ann King, Frances Willoughby, Ellen Ford, Doris Cranmore, Doris Defenderfer, and Betty Rae Tennant. They took their oath as officers.

The WAVES kept the homefront affairs of the U.S. Navy going while the men were assigned to ships serving around the globe. While the official song of the U.S. Navy men was “Anchors Aweigh”, the WAVES’ official song was sung in counterpoint to the men:

WAVES of the Navy,
There’s a ship sailing down the bay.
And she won’t slip into port again
Until that Victory Day.
Carry on for that gallant ship
And for every hero brave
Who will find ashore, his man-sized chore
Was done by a Navy WAVE…


Women in the Naval Reserve were recalled along with their male counterparts for duty during the Korean War. Nurses served aboard the hospital ship, USS Sanctuary in the Vietnam War era. Only nine non-nurse women were authorized to serve in country during this period; however, no enlisted Navy women were authorized.

Major changes occurred for Navy women in the 1970s. The first female naval officer was appointed to flag rank in 1972, Captain Alene B. Duerk. She was followed in 1976 by RADM Fran McKee as the first female unrestricted line officer appointed to this rank. During this time, women began to enter the surface warfare and aviation fields. They also gained access to officer accession programs previously only open to men. Women started to screen for command opportunities ashore.

In 1973, the Secretary of the Navy announced the authorization of naval aviation training for women. The next year, the Navy became the first service to graduate a woman pilot, Lt. Barbara Allen Rainey. In 1976, the United States Naval Academy along with other military academies first accepted women and commissioned its first female graduates in 1980. That same year, women also began attending Aviation Officer Candidate School. In 1979, the Surface Warfare Community opened to women with the first female obtaining her SWO qualification. We also saw the Naval Flight Officer program opened to women this year & Lt. Lynn Spruill became the first woman naval aviator to obtain carrier qualifications.

Three decades into the future, the Department of the Navy authorized a policy change allowing women to begin serving onboard Navy submarines. The new policy and plan is set in motion with the integration of female officers to begin early in 2012.

Today, there are over 52,000 women serving on active duty in an array of traditional and non-traditional ratings or careers in the U.S. Navy. Like their male counterparts, female enlisted sailors are expected to adhere to regulations, specific to appearance: grooming, health and physical fitness. However, some differences exist in relation to pregnancy and parenting provisions.

In the Navy, women are eligible to serve in all ratings except as a SEAL or Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen. The current policy set by Congress and the Secretary of Defense excludes women from direct combat billets in the military.


Nursing, in the sense of bedside attendance of the sick and injured, has existed in the Navy from the first. Performed by enlisted crew members, the function was increasingly formalized during the 19th Century as part of the duties of the emerging hospital corpsman rates.

Even in the early 1800s, there was a recommendation that women be employed as Navy nurses. Nothing much came of this until the American Civil War, when Catholic Sisters of the Holy Cross served in Navy facilities and on board the pioneer hospital ship USS Red Rover. This was part of a great endeavor by women during the conflict, an undertaking which led to the post-war establishment of nursing as a real profession requiring formal training – a profession both open to and dominated by women. The U.S. Navy officially established the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908.

In 1862, Sisters of the Holy Cross served aboard USS Red Rover, the Navy’s first hospital ship, joining a crew of 12 officers, 35 enlisted, and others supporting medical care. Red Rover remained the only hospital ship in the Navy until the Spanish-American War.

Loretta Perfectus Walsh (1896-1925), became the first American active-duty Navy woman and the first woman to serve in any of the United States armed forces other than as a nurse. Walsh enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on March 17, 1917. She subsequently became the first woman Navy petty officer when she was sworn in as Chief Yeoman on March 21, 1917.

Captain Ruth Alice Erickson was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1962-1966. As a lieutenant in the corps, she witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. She served as chief nurse at three major naval hospitals before becoming director.

Retired Rear Admiral Frances Teresa Shea-Buckley was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from1979-1983. Shea joined the corps in 1951 and stayed in the Reserves when she left active duty in 1954. She earned a masters degree in nursing service administration. After returning to active duty in 1960 with a stint in Vietnam, she became the director in 1979 and became the commanding officer of Naval Health Sciences Education and Training Command as well as deputy commander of Personnel Management, Naval Medical Command.

Retired Rear Admiral Mary Joan Nielubowicz was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1983-1987. She was promoted to Commodore, in which this rank was changed to Rear Admiral in 1985. The following year the members of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States established the Mary J. Nielubowicz Essay Award in recognition of her outstanding support and encouragement of active and reserve nurses. Retired Rear Admiral Mary Fields Hall was the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1987 to 1991. She was the first military U.S. military nurse to command a hospital. She became the commanding officer at Naval Hospital, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1983, and later, commanded Naval Hospital, Long Beach, California.

Rear Admiral Joan Marie Engel held the position as the 18th Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from 1994-1998. She concurrently served as deputy commander of personnel management in the Health Sciences, Education and Training Command, and later as assistant chief for Education, Training and Personnel. Engel earned the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commandant Medal, and the National Defense Medal with bronze star in her distinguished naval career.


1990, Rear Admiral Marsha J. Evans, USN was the first woman to command a Naval Station. She assumed command of Naval Station, Treasure Island San Francisco.

In the same year, Lieutenant Commander Darlene Iskra, USN was the first Navy woman to command a ship, the USS Opportune.

In 1993, Congress repealed the Combat Exclusion Law allowing women to serve on combatant ships.

In 1996, Carol Mutter became the first female three-star officer in the military. Patricia Tracey became the second a few months later.

In 1998, Lillian Fishburne became the first black female promoted to flag rank.

Also in 1998, Commander Maureen A. Farren became the first woman to command a combatant ship when she took command of USS Mount Vernon, an amphibious dock landing ship.

In 2001, Captain Vernice Armour, USMC earned her wings. The Department of Defense acknowledged her as the first female African American combat pilot in the military during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She completed two tours in the Persian Gulf. After leaving the Marine Corps, she became an international motivation speaker.

In 2006, Angela Salina was the first Hispanic woman Brigadier General in the Marine Corps.

Zenaida Colon, a native of Puerto Rico and the Navy’s only female Master Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician joined the USS Bataan crew also in 2008.

On January 9, 2009, Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus announced that women would be assigned to Ohio Class submarines. The first women are expected to report to subs this year.


Rear Admiral Cynthia A. Coogan

Rear Admiral Cynthia Coogan is currently assigned as the Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Criminal Investigations. It is her responsibility to direct, coordinate, and oversee intelligence operations and activities that support all Coast Guard mission objectives, the National Strategy for Homeland Security, and National Security objectives. Throughout her career, she has received the following awards: two Legion of Merits, the Meritorious Service Medal with the Operational Distinguishing Device (five awards), 9/11 Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal (two awards), and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal (five awards).

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USN

“A Legend in Her Own Time”, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper dedicated her life to the Navy. As a pioneer computer programmer and co-inventor of COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), she was known as the “Grand Lady of Software”, “Amazing Grace”, and “Grandma COBOL”. Grace’s life consisted of one success after another including significant contributions to the computer age and the Navy.

After graduating from Vassar in 1928 with a BA in Mathematics at the age of 22, she went on to Yale University where she earned a MA in Mathematics as well as Physics; only to continue her education by earning her PhD in 1934 from the same edified university. Hopper began teaching mathematics at Vassar in 1931 where her first year’s salary was $800.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor bringing on World War II, Grace wanted to serve her country by joining the military. The obstacles would have deterred a lesser person. She was 34, which was considered too old for enlistment, and the government had declared her occupation as a mathematics professor as crucial. Navy officials told her she could best serve the war effort by remaining a civilian. Undaunted, she managed to get special permission and a leave of absence from her teaching position at Vassar. She also wrangled a waiver on the weight requirement. Weighing in at 105, she was sixteen pounds underweight for her height of five feet six inches. Grace persevered and was sworn into the U.S. Navy Reserve in December 1943. For 43 years, she proudly served the Navy she loved so dearly.

Upon being sworn in, Hopper was commissioned a LTJG and ordered to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University. There she became the first programmer on the Navy’s Mark I computer, the mechanical miracle of its day. Hopper’s love of gadgets caused her to immediately fall for the biggest gadget she’d ever seen, the fifty-one foot long, 8 foot high, 8 foot wide, glass-encased mound of bulky relays, switches and vacuum tubes called the Mark I. This miracle of modern science could store 72 words and perform three additions every second.

In 1946, Hopper was released from active duty and joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where her work continued on the Mark II and Mark III computers for the Navy. In 1949, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in Philadelphia, later called Sperry Rand, where she designed the first commercial large-scale electronic computer called the UNIVAC I. Grace’s love affair with the Mark I ended when the UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer) won her affections. This computer system operated a thousand times faster than Mark I did.

She changed the lives of everyone in the computer industry by developing the Bomarc system, later called COBOL. COBOL made it possible for computers to respond to words rather than numbers. Hopper often jokingly explained, “It really came about because I couldn’t balance my checkbook.” She’s also credited with coining the term “bug” when she traced an error in the Mark II to a moth trapped in a relay. The bug was carefully removed and taped to a daily log book. Since then, whenever a computer has a problem, it’s referred to as a bug.

Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander at the end of 1966. She was recalled to active duty in August of 1967 for what was supposed to be a six-month assignment at the request of Norman Ream, then Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy for Automatic Data Processing. After the six months were up, her orders were changed to say her services would be needed indefinitely. She was promoted to Captain in 1973 by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations. And in 1977, she was appointed special advisor to Commander, Naval Data Automation Command (NAVDAC), where she stayed until she retired.

In 1983, a bill was introduced by Rep. Philip Crane (D-Ill.) who said, “It is time the Navy recognized the outstanding contributions made by this officer recalled from retirement over a decade and a half ago and promote her to the rank of Commodore.” Rep. Crane became interested in Hopper after seeing her March 1983 “60 Minutes” interview. He’d never met Hopper, but after speaking with several people, was convinced she was due the added status of being a flag officer. The bill was approved by the House, and at the age of 76, she was promoted to Commodore by special Presidential appointment. Her rank was elevated to rear admiral in November 1985, making her one of few women admirals in the history of the United States Navy. She retired at the age of 80. It was at her retirement that she was presented the highest award given by the Department of Defense – the Defense Distinguished Service Medal – one of innumerable awards she received from both the Navy and industry.

Other awards include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the National Medal of Technology, awarded last September by President George Bush. She also received the first computer sciences “man of the year” award from the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA) in 1969. Other achievements include retiring from the Navy as a Rear Admiral and the oldest serving officer at that time, and being the first woman to be awarded a PhD in Mathematics from Yale University.

Retirement didn’t slow Grace Hopper down. Shortly thereafter, she became a Senior Consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation where she was active until about 18 months before her death. She functioned in much the same capacity she did when she was in the Navy, traveling on lecture tours around the country, speaking at engineering forums, colleges, universities and computer seminars passing on the message that managers shouldn’t be afraid of change. She always placed very high importance on America’s youth. Hopper often said, “working with the youth is the most important job I’ve done. It’s also the most rewarding.” This seems perfectly natural since she spent all her adult life teaching others.

One dream Hopper didn’t fulfill was living to the age of 94. She wanted to be here December 31, 1999 for the New Year’s Eve to end all New Year’s Eve parties. She also wanted to be able to look back at the early days of the computer and say to all the doubters, “See? We told you the computer could do all that!”

Her insight into the future will stay with us even though she’s gone. Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery in the first month of 1992.

Rear Admiral Nora W. Tyson

Tennessee is where Rear Admiral Tyson graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She then went on to attend Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., receiving her commission in the U.S. Navy in December of that same year. Tyson reported for flight training in Pensacola, Florida where she earned her flight wings as a naval flight officer in 1983.

Amongst her duties was command of the amphibious assault ship USS BATAAN leading the Navy’s contributions to disaster relief on the U.S. Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rear Admiral Tyson was also deployed twice to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 
Tyson earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Affairs from the U.S. Naval War College in 1995.

Ashore, she served as Airborne Communications Officer Course instructor and officer in charge at Naval Air Maintenance Training Detachment 1079, NAS Patuxent River, Md. She has also completed tours on the Joint Staff as a political-military planner in the Asia-Pacific Division of the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate; as executive assistant for the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; as director of staff for commander, Naval Forces Europe/commander 6th Fleet, and as executive assistant for the chief of naval operations. Her most recent assignment was as commander, Logistics Group, Western Pacific/commander, Task Force 73.

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By A. R. Graham

The wealthy guests of John D. Spreckels’ once went riding across North Island hunting jackrabbits.  The land was then separated from Coronado by the ‘Spanish Bight’, a shallow channel that ran from the Pacific Ocean to the bay.  Used in the late 19th century for horseback riding and hunting by guests of the Hotel del Coronado, it was nothing more than an uninhabited sand flat.  Many famous figures have left their prints on this tiny piece of land and sand.

A division of the U.S. Cavalry once exercised their horses along its golden shores.  An English prince ran off with the wife of the base’s first commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Earl W. Spencer, Jr.  His wife was Wallis Warfield, a prominent socialite who was to remarry twice, and finally, become Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson Windsor, better known as the Duchess of Windsor, for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne in 1936.

The list of American military pilots trained at North Island reads like the Who’s Who of aviation.  However, America was not the only country interested in aviation early in the twentieth century.  Six years before, the Naval Air Station was commissioned, Glenn Curtiss trained the first group of Japanese aviators at his flying school on North Island.  Among them was a Lieutenant Yamada, later the head of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Naval Aviation arm in World War II.  North Island was commissioned as the Naval Air Station in 1917 and called Naval Air Station San Diego until 1955.  On August 15, 1963, the station was granted official recognition as the “Birthplace of Naval Aviation” by resolution of the House Armed Services Committee.

The Navy’s first aviator, Lieutenant Theodore Ellyson, and many of his colleagues were trained at North Island starting as early as 1911.  This was just eight years after Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the first manned aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In 1886, North Coronado Island and South Coronado were purchased by a developer to become a residential resort.  South Coronado, which is not an island but the terminus of a peninsula known as the Silver Strand, became the city of Coronado. Fortunately for the Navy, North Coronado was never developed.  Instead, Glenn Curtiss opened a flying school and held a lease to the property until the beginning of World War I.  In 1917, Congress appropriated the land and two airfields were commissioned on its sandy flats.  The Navy started with a tent city known as “Camp Trouble”.  As its name suggests, things did not always go well in the early days.  The Navy shared North Island with the Army Signal Corps’ Rockwell Field until 1937, when the Army left, and the Navy expanded its operations to cover the whole of North Island.  In 1914, then-unknown aircraft builder, Glenn Martin, took off and demonstrated his pusher aircraft over the island with a flight that included the first parachute jump in the San Diego area.  The jump was made by a ninety-pound civilian woman named Tiny Broadwick. Other aviation milestones originating at North Island included the first seaplane flight in 1911, the first mid-air refueling, and the first non-stop transcontinental flight, both in 1923.

One of history’s most famous aviation feats was the flight of Charles A. Lindbergh from New York to Paris in May 1927.  That flight originated at Rockwell Field on North Island on May 10, 1927, when Lindbergh began the first leg of his journey.

Forefathers of today’s “Blue Angels”, the three-plane “Sea Hawks” from VF-6B, the “Felix the Cat” squadron, were thrilling audiences with flight demonstrations as early as 1928.  They demonstrated the training skills of Navy fighter and bomber pilots, and on many occasions, flew their aircraft in formation with the wings tethered together.

During World War II, North Island was the major continental U.S. base supporting the operating forces in the Pacific.  Those forces included over a dozen aircraft carriers, the Coast Guard, Army, Marines, and Seabees.  The city of Coronado became home to most of the aircraft factory workers and dependents of the mammoth base which was operating around the clock. Major USO entertainment shows and bond drives were held weekly at the Ships Service Auditorium, which was later replaced by the 2,100-seat Lowry Theater.

Famous people stationed here or on ships home ported here during the war years included Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Guy Madison, future television cowboy star of the 1950s and 1960s as Wild Bill Hickok, who was at that time, Seaman Bob Mosely, a lifeguard at the NAS crews pool.  Stars like the Marx Brothers and Bob Hope appeared regularly at USO shows at the auditorium.  Two films of a bygone era were also filmed here including Hell Divers with Clark Gable in 1931 and Hellcats of the Navy with Ronald and Nancy Reagan in 1957.

In 1944, the Army Corps of Engineers filled in the Spanish Bight to allow for more construction.  North Island today is an island in name only.

Today, the Naval Air Station at North Island is part of the largest aerospace-industrial complex in the Navy.  It includes Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Outlying Field Imperial Beach, and Naval Air Landing Facility, San Clemente Island. The complex totals 5,000 acres stretching from the entrance to San Diego Bay to the Mexican border.  North Island itself is host to 23 squadrons and 75 additional tenant commands and activities, one of which, the Naval Aviation Depot, is the largest aerospace employer in San Diego.

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Admiral George Stephen Morrison

George Stephen Morrison was a Rear Admiral and naval aviator in the United States Navy.  Morrison was commander of the U. S. naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August 1964.  He was the father of Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the legendary rock band, The Doors.

Morrison was born in Rome, Georgia to Caroline and Paul Morrison.  He was raised in Leesburg, Florida.  Morrison entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1938.  He graduated in 1941, was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy, and was sent to Hawaii.  Assigned to the minelayer Pruitt (DM-22) at Pearl Harbor, he witnessed the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

In 1943, he studied flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, graduating in spring 1944.  Morrison flew missions in the Pacific Theater for the duration of World War II.

After the war, he was an instructor for secret nuclear-weapons projects in Albuquerque.  During the Korean War, he was assigned to the joint operations center in Seoul, earning a Bronze Star for his part in combat operations against North Korea and Chinese forces.

In 1963, Morrison took command of the Essex-class aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), flagship of a 3rd Fleet Carrier Division (today’s Carrier Strike Group) in the Pacific and based at Naval Air Station, Alameda, California.  Morrison was in command of the Carrier Division during the controversial Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which resulted in a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam War.  In 1966, he was promoted to Rear Admiral; at age 46.  In 1972, he was appointed Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in the Marianas.  As such, he was in charge of relief efforts for Vietnamese refugees sent to Guam after the 1975 fall of Saigon.

Admiral Morrison was the keynote speaker at the decommissioning ceremony for Bon Homme Richard, his first ship as an admiral, on July 3, 1971 in Washington, D.C., the same day his son, Jim Morrison, died in Paris, France at age 27.

Morrison retired in 1975.

Morrison met and married Clara Clarke in Hawaii in 1942.  Their son, James Douglas, was born in 1943 in Melbourne, Florida.  A daughter, Anne Robin, was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a son, Andrew Lee Morrison, was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California.

In retirement, the Morrison’s lived in Coronado and Chula Vista, California.  Clara Clarke Morrison, 89, died after a long illness in Coronado on December 29, 2005.  Rear Admiral Morrison died in Coronado on November 17, 2008.  His private memorial service was held on November 24 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.  His ashes were scattered at sea near the same spot off Point Loma, where his wife’s ashes had been scattered nearly three years earlier.  Admiral George Stephen Morrison left behind the legacy of an outstanding military career as well as his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Excerpts from “I Remember” by A. R. Graham

A Silver Medallion

Admiral Morrison was Commander-in-Chief of Carrier Division 9 stationed at Sasebo, Japan.  He had a fleet of carriers and was doing some serious ass-kicking during the Vietnam War.  One of the carriers used was the mighty battleship, the New Jersey, which had 16-inch guns and once unleashed a salvo which sank half of a small island.  The Admiral received a glowing citation which was written on fine parchment accompanied by a silver medallion as big as your face.  He read it to us out loud at a family gathering.  His countenance radiated deep pride and pleasure.

The Athlete

Admiral George Stephen Morrison was so small as a child that he was given shots to spur his growth to little or no success.  He stands 5’8” and his sisters and parents were also petite.  Anne is 5’7”, Andy is about 5’11”, and Jim was 5’10”.  Jim appeared taller because he wore boots that elevated his height by several inches.  Jim was not big-chested and neither was his father, who was perfectly toned, but never large nor muscular.

The Admiral used to tell us stories of his years as a cadet at the U. S. Naval Academy.  He always inserted the Morrison touch of humor into all.  This was one of his favorites:

Because of his stature, he had difficulty keeping up with his long-legged shipmates, who ran him ragged.  Running was the order of the day.  The cadets ran everywhere.

When the dinner bell rang, Steve, as part of a fire crew that consisted of a cart, ladder, and fire bell propelled by six galloping cadets, took up the rear.  By the time they reached the dinner table, the fire crew was lobster-hot in addition to the sauna-like Maryland heat.  “Wow!  My feet never touched the ground a lot of the time!”  When the Admiral told this story, he did it with so much animation that it left us in stitches with his theatrics.

The Admiral is, among other things, a superb athlete.  We played doubles table tennis regularly.  The Admiral was laser precise, NASCAR-quick, and impossible to beat.

He was also one of the rare ones that excelled on the rings.  He can be seen in action from photographs in the 1943 graduation book of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.  Steve has remained in perfect shape all of his life.  So much so that over fifty years later, he could easily wear the uniform he graduated in to naval academy reunions – and it fit him perfectly.

In the early 1970’s, the Admiral came to visit Anne and I.  While we were in the backyard playing with the kids on a set of regulation parallel bars, he gave us a few pointers.  He walked languidly to the bars, grabbed them, and went into a perfect kip – a stunning piece of aerial choreography.  It was like watching Nureyev as he landed like a leaf.  For a split second, he maintained perfect posture as if he was in a competition and the judges were watching.

The Admiral and the UFO

Back in the day, we were sitting around talking about UFOs, Area 51, and all the other lunatic alien legends.  We were laughing about the accounts of people claiming they had been abducted by aliens who then proceeded to fiddle or tamper with them.  The Admiral suddenly pronounced, “I chased a UFO once.”  We sat in rapt silence waiting for the punch line.  His story went like this:

Steve and his fighter squadron were patrolling the skies during the Korean conflict when they saw a silver object at three o’clock moving at a high rate of speed.  Steve radioed for permission to pursue the unidentified flying object.  He and a few other members gave chase for ten minutes.  When they finally got near enough to see more clearly, the object started shimmering in the bright morning sunlight.  It appeared to be picking up speed while simultaneously sending an urgent transmission.

The young aviators were fixing to blow this sucker out of the shy, when Lt. Commander Morrison, who had arrived on the scene first, discovered that the UFO was an escaped shiny metallic weather balloon.

The Admiral Wore Desert Boots

When Captain Morrison became Admiral Morrison, he received orders for duty at the Navy building in London, England.  Clara leased a huge apartment on Bayswater Road just a few miles from the American Embassy.  Anne was attending an extension of the University of Gainesville on an Air Force base outside of the city and Andy attended an extension of the American high school system.

The Admiral would take a brisk morning walk to work every day.  In 1966, England’s fashion scene was wild.  The mini-skirt was barely a skirt at all and most young people looked like peacocks with colors so dazzling one needed furnace goggles just to walk down the street.

The Morrison’s dressed conservatively, indeed.  Americans were so shocked and amused to see a nation of popinjays with funny accents that it was a laugh-riot to them.

One day, Andy challenged his father to be more with it and dress in some modern clothes.  That evening, when the Admiral came home from work, he told Andy that he had a surprise for him.  He left the room and returned ten minutes later wearing Andy’s buttoned down, collegiate-striped shirt, bell-bottomed Levi’s, and a pair of tan desert boots.  This was the standard dress for most American high school kids at that time.  The clothes fit the Admiral perfectly.

The Admiral always looked young for his age.  Even then, at the age of fifty, he sometimes looked like a young man.  He wore the clothes the rest of the night.  When friends came over to visit, nobody said a word, neither the Morrison’s nor the guests.  Clara almost burst her lungs trying not to laugh.

The Admiral Goes Back to School

When the Admiral retired from the Navy, he was only in his fifties.  So, he considered a second career as a university mathematics instructor.  He began taking refresher courses at San Diego State University.

There is a fine distinction in the Navy when it comes to rank.  When a commander retires from the service, he is awarded a final promotion in the form of the rank of admiral.  As you can imagine, there are a great number of admirals who are so in name only.  Admiral George Stephen Morrison was not one of those.  Instead, he rose through the ranks at lightning speed due to hard work and dedication.  He was also one of the youngest admirals in the entire history of the United States Navy.

The Admiral’s math professor was a retired naval commander himself and a strict no-nonsense teacher.  However, using the previous equation, that would in actuality, make the math professor a lieutenant commander, the lesser rank.  The professor, who applied this military manner in his dealings with all the students, was unaware that he had a retired bona fide admiral in his class.

“Class begins at 0800 hours and I require strict punctuality.”  The stern officer/teacher had issued this edict to the entire class on the very first day.  It had been made the order of the day.

Not too long after that, the Admiral forgot his reading glasses.  So, he went home to retrieve them, making him late for class.  This, in turn, caused the professor to sneer, “Well, Mr. Morrison, what did they say to you when you arrived late for work at your job?”

The Admiral responded with superb biting humor, never missing a beat, “They used to say, ‘Good morning, Admiral.’”

The silence was deafening and it prevailed for what seemed like an hour as the professor’s face underwent many contorted shapes.  The Admiral sat in his chair with all the confidence of a trial lawyer who had just dealt a smug prosecutor a lethal and unexpected legal ass whipping.

The professor/lieutenant commander was blinking faster than “I Dream of Jeannie” as he tried to snap himself back to some semblance of the control he believed he once had.  The Admiral sat in bemused silence and so did the rest of the class.

The chastened professor/officer saluted the Admiral every morning after that, especially when he was late.

Electronic Warfare

The Admiral was a specialist in electronic warfare.  One of his projects was to put the first ever Navy spy satellite into orbit around the earth.  He kept a replica of the hand-sized metal sphere which had five “My Favorite Martian” antennae protruding from its center.  “Back then, that’s all we could throw up there”, the Admiral would say, “and there are still things about the project I am not allowed to discuss.”  He was true blue when it came to the rules.  “Suffer the consequences if you violate the rules.”  He was not a lenient man nor was he harsh in his application of discipline with his children and the men under his command.

Yet there was another side to him.  While the family was driving across the country on one of their many trips connected to tours of duty, the Admiral said, “The rules were made to be broken intelligently.”  I believe there is a part of him that understood that many people cannot function in a gray society or strict environment.  In that belief system, you must challenge the boundaries, but not head on.  In other words, “You must do what you want without appearing to have broken the rules.”  In essence, “Don’t get caught.  If you do get caught, you should not receive special treatment and must be punished under the full penalty of the law.”

Celebration of the Piano

The Morrison kids grew up singing around the piano.  Over the years, Clara Morrison recorded get-togethers and kept them “in a well by the side of the road”.

Oftentimes, when we gathered at the ivories, Captain McDairmott, the Morrison’s longtime friend and the Admiral’s shipmate, would record our sessions.  Some went back to the days when the Morrison kids were quite young.  I have a recording of Jim singing, “You Get a Line and I’ll Get a Pole”, when he was ten years old.

During one of our songfests, the Captain asked the Admiral to say something into the microphone for a test.  He deferred to me.  I, in turn, asked him to repeat something he had said earlier in his lecture about nuclear energy.

“E to the high of pi (or high pi) plus one equals zero”, which he explained was the entire basis of mathematics.  In mathematical language, this means, God.

The Admiral Arrested

Admiral Morrison loved to go to Las Vegas to play cards.  Two or three times a year, he and Clara would check into one of the big resort hotels for a week of relaxation and gambling.  Clara had terrorized every slot machine in Vegas for many years and invariably won.

The Admiral had a formula that he unflinchingly adhered to.  It was a mathematical equation known only to him.  This method never failed in the big picture — for even though he lost a few hands, he always came away from the table a winner.  The only flaw in the Admiral’s near-flawless enterprise was the amount of money he wagered.  It was always the same, no matter what.  The Admiral was a measured man, who would never indulge in excess to any degree, and so it was with gambling.  His bet never exceeded two dollars, ever.

On one of the Morrison’s gambling junkets, the Admiral was having a good old time as he won every round.  Each time the dealer issued him a winning hand, all eyes focused in his direction as he placed a new bet – the very same sum of two dollars – over and over again.  To degenerate gamblers, this cautiously guarded playing style is a shameful practice and they are appalled by such a punk wager. He might just as well have been playing Monopoly or Parcheesi because to a real gambler, “This guy is a jinx.”  His normally steady and sober gaming method elsewhere would be a virtue.  However, here in this gamblers’ den of iniquity, it was decidedly unethical, or at the very least, in poor taste.

The word gamble conjures up many reckless synonyms such as action, bet, chance, punt, raffle, risk, spec, stab, toss up, uncertainty, venture, and wager.  To the Admiral, it was simply the original derivative of the word gamble which is game.  That is what he was doing – playing a game whilst everyone else around him was gambling.  His game never changed and he always walked away from the tables either winning or not losing.

One night, the Admiral was up to his usual – that is to say – most unusual display of devil-may-care attitude toward the sacred rules of gambling.  He had won nine hands in a row, but kept laying down the same paltry sum of two dollars.  The dealer was becoming irritated while the rest of the table wished silently that he would make a larger bet, but he did not.

Finally, a very muscular and very drunk, hardcore gambler at the far side of the table started to laugh out loud every time the high roller won a hand or placed a new bet.  In the end, the whole table joined in.  Even though they were merely laughing at the drunk’s laughter, which was something between a cackle and a gagging sound, it was getting to the Admiral.  Now his smile was beginning to fade.  Each time he put down his two-dollar bet, the drunk would loudly sing, Hey, Big Spender, followed by that hideous cackle.

As the dealer laid down the next winning card and before the drunk could issue his next ridiculing remark, the Admiral flew off his chair faster than a light being switched on or off and was in the drunk’s face, “Do you want to do something about it or are you all talk?”

The drunk was flabbergasted and speechless.  The Admiral returned to his chair and continued where he left off.  He bet the very same two dollars and, by God, he won again.  The table was silent and so was the drunk.

Clara related this incident to the rest of the family amid howls of laughter at the prospect of Jim Morrison’s straight-laced father in a near brawl with a drunk in Las Vegas and what a sensational headline that would have made:


Andy questioned his father, “What the hell were you thinking, old man, picking a fight with a guy who could crush your head with one hand?”  The Admiral answered with pronounced confidence, “I think I could have taken him.”

In his day as a young aviator, he had flown through certain death on many occasions and wreaked serious carnage on the enemy during three separate wars. Yet in civilian life and as a family man, he was the epitome of nonviolence.  He never physically disciplined his children or uttered an angry word in their presence.  So, it was quite out of character for him to deploy this primitive aspect of his inner self in public.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Stardust Memories

It has been two weeks of visiting relatives, sons, daughter, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandchildren, and to top it off, Andy Morrison came by for a visit.  He told the following story:

“Dad and I were driving to San Diego to pick up some supplies.  I had just bought a new Willie Nelson CD and he was anxious to play it.  But I didn’t know if Dad would like the music.  On this album, Willie is doing the oldies from the Forties and one of the tracks is ‘Stardust’.  Well, Dad listened to it intently and when the song was over, he popped the CD out of the deck and put it in his pocket.  After a several seconds, he pulled it out of his pocket and asked, ‘Where’s the case?’  When we found it, he put the CD back in the case and returned it to his pocket.  I said, ‘Dad, what are you doing?’   He replied, “I’m gonna take it home for your mother to listen to.’”

Father and son both laughed loud and long (the Morrison Anthem) at the Admiral’s sentimentality towards Nelson’s rendition of the ballad.  Andy dropped his dad off and rode off to the beach to watch the setting sun.

“Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night
dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
And now my constellation
Is in the stardust of a song…”

–Hoagy Carmichael / Mitchell Parish


NOTE:  The Morrison’s retirement home located at 135 “H” Avenue will be featured in the Coronado Historical Association’s Wings of Gold salute to the naval aviators dubbed the “Home Front” Project beginning in February.  Each home of these noted naval aviators will have a sign with a number corresponding to a brochure with a map and a brief bio of each aviator placed in the front yard.  Brochures and maps are available through the Coronado Historical Association:  (619) 435-7242,

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By:Nina Odel   AKA Lynne Harpst

In the middle of the 300 block of Eighth Street stands a classical Spanish villa. Typical of many of the beautiful homes built in this style in Coronado in the 1930s, the residence is a treasure of our island.  It not only captures our town’s past and present but also secures our future.

Stepping through a bold purple door – the current owner’s favorite color – the foyer affords entry into three main sections of the house: a large and inviting living room with a wood-burning fireplace, a formal dining room, and the second floor via a central sweeping staircase. Whether you choose to ascend the stairs or ride the built-in elevator, what awaits you is a master wing, complete with a spacious master bedroom suite and a large viewing deck.  An adjacent wing comprises a large bedroom, sun porch, and office.  The red tile roof, mature landscaping, with lush foliage and vibrant flowers, and tiled walkways enhance the beauty of this property.  For seventy-five years, the owners of 330 Eighth Street have entertained prominent Coronado guests in the large patio.  A generous-size cottage, complete with its own kitchen, provides accommodations for longer-term company.  It is certainly a home in which to relax and enjoy the best of Island life.

330 Eighth Street was constructed in 1936 for Admiral Jonas H. Ingram.  Born in 1888 in Jefferson Clark County, Indiana, Admiral Ingram was an officer in the United States Navy during both World War I and World War II.

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Ingram was the head football coach from 1914 to 1917, going on to become the Director of Athletics from 1926 to 1930.  During the Mexican Revolution, he received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the 1914 Battle of Veracruz.  Upon graduation from Annapolis, he served aboard the battleship New York, which operated with the British Grand Fleet during World War I.  During World War II, he was Commander-in-Chief of the United States Atlantic Fleet, and was personally responsible for the safety of the convoy of American troops to Europe.  In his highly illustrious naval career, he also earned the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Service Medals and the Purple Heart.

After being detached from duty as Commander-in-Chief in 1946, Admiral Ingram retired to his home at 330 Eighth Street.  Ending forty years of military service, it was now time for him to enjoy retirement, and what better place to do so than the Emerald Isle!  But the Admiral was not an idle retiree.  He immediately accepted the position of Commissioner of the All-America Football Conference.  Upon his resignation in 1949, he went on to serve as vice president for the Reynolds Metal Company as well as the superintendent of summer schools for Culver Academies.  In 1952, he suffered a series of heart attacks, passing away on September 10, 1952.

Admiral Jonas H. Ingram was interred in Section 30 of the Arlington National Cemetery.  His wife, Jean Fletcher Ingram, who passed two years later, was buried with him.

This was not the end of housing prestigious officers for 330 Eighth Street. Sometime after the passing of Admiral and Mrs. Ingram, Admiral “Jimmy” Thach purchased the residence; and with many a fine social gathering of his peers, he continued the grand home’s naval legacy.

John Smith Thach was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on April 19, 1905.  Like Admiral Ingram, he also graduated from the United States Naval Academy.  He spent two years serving on battleships before training as a naval aviator in 1929Earning his wings in 1930, Thach quickly built a reputation as one of the most skilled aviators in the Navy.  As a member of Fighting One – known as the “High Hats” for the tuxedo-style hat they adopted as their logo – Thach and his squadron performed stunt work for Clark Gable’s 1931 movie, “Hell Divers”. During this period, Thach also set endurance records with experimental aircraft. For the next ten years, he served as a test pilot and instructor, establishing a reputation as an expert in aerial gunnery.

In the early 1940s, Lieutenant Commander Thach took command of Fighting Squadron Three, also known as “Felix the Cat”.  It was while serving this unit that he and wingman Edward J. “Butch” O’Hare developed the “Thach Weave”, a combat flight formation that could counter enemy fighters of superior performance.

The maneuver had its first disciplined test at the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942. Using the “Weave”, Thach’s VF-3 downed nineteen out of the twenty Japanese fighters attacking the carrier Lexington.  The widespread employment of the maneuver at the Battle of Midway, by planes flying from the Yorktown, showed similar positive results for the U.S. Navy, establishing the legend of the “Thach Weave”.

With his tactical skill deemed too valuable to risk at sea, Thach was transferred to Jacksonville, Florida to teach combat tactics and create training films that became the standard for a generation of naval aviators.  It was then that he developed the “big blue blanket” system to provide an adequate defense against Kamikaze suicide attacks.

At the close of World War II, Commander Thach returned to the Pacific as the operations officer to Vice Admiral John McCain’s carrier task force, and was present at the formal Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

Thach was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1955.  He was placed in command of an antisubmarine development unit, “Task Group Alpha”, with the Valley Forge serving as his flagship.  He subsequently appeared on the cover of  “Time” magazine for his contributions to anti-submarine warfare, a primary focus in the ongoing Cold War.  In recognition of his outstanding performance and achievements, the Navy created the Admiral Thach Award, given to the best antisubmarine warfare squadron.

Thach was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1960 and served as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air in the Pentagon, where he presided over the development of the A-7 Corsair II among other naval aviation programs.  During his stint as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, he received his fourth star.  He was now a full Admiral.  Among Admiral Thach’s notable awards were the Navy Cross with Gold Star and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star.  Also of note is that he and his brother James were among only a handful of naval officers to serve as full admirals while on active duty.

Retiring from the Navy in May 1967, Admiral Thach settled in for some much needed and well-deserved “R ‘n’ R” at his family home.  John Smith Thach died in Coronado on April 15, 1981, a few days shy of his 76th birthday.  He was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. The guided missile frigate USS Thach was commissioned in his honor in 1984.

John and Madalynn Thach had four children.  The family lived in the Eighth Street home for over thirty years.  Heirs of Admiral Thach passed ownership of the residence to civilians in 1988.  The Elliott family resided there for 14 years.  In March of 2010, retired music producer George Koen and famed heiress Lynne Harpst Koen purchased the prestigious property.  “Funk Palace”, as the Koen’s have fondly nicknamed it, hosts Beatles banners, Rock ‘n’ Roll trivia and the memorabilia of Ms. Harpst Koen’s incomparable family – a founding family of Coronado whose benefaction to the town is immeasurable.

On February 4, 2011, the Coronado Historical Association will open an exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of U.S. naval aviation.  Entitled “Wings of Gold:  Coronado and Naval Aviation”, it will emphasize the role of Coronado in that remarkable history:  Coronado is often referred to as the birthplace of naval aviation.  The exhibit will be housed in the Coronado Museum of History and Art, with a special members’ preview on February 3.  “Wings of Gold” will include photographs, documents and objects from the museum’s archives.

There will also be a self-guided “Salute to Naval Aviators” tour beginning February 4.  The home of Admirals Ingram and Thach, located at 330 Eighth Street, will be one of the featured spots on the “Home of a Naval Aviator” tour, as well as the homes of Admiral Morrison and many other notable naval officers.

Maps and brochures are available from the Coronado Museum of History and Art located at 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California.  Hours:  Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., 10-5 p.m.  For more information, call (619) 435-7242 or log onto

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General Mess Manual and Cookbook, U.S. Navy. [First US Navy cookbook issued in 1902.]

Traditional Navy Recipes

Do you miss some of the traditional fare from the mess decks aboard ship? Here are recipes for a number of Navy dishes from 1958. Now, invite a lot of old shipmates or get out your scratchpad and calculator — these recipes are geared toward 100 portions.

Baking Powder Biscuits
Creamed Sliced Dried Beef
Navy Bean Soup

Baking Powder Biscuits

YIELD: 300 Biscuits or 100 Portions, each portion 3 biscuits (1 ounce each)
Flour, sifted
Baking powder
15 lbs.
15 oz.
3 oz.
15 qt.
2 1/2 cups
6 tbsp.
1. Sift dry ingredients into bowl of mixing machine.
Shortening 3 3/4 lb. 7 1/2 cups 2. Add shortening to flour mixture and blend until consistency of cornmeal (low speed, approximately 3 minutes).
Milk   5 or 6 qt. 3. Add milk and mix until dough is formed (low speed, approximately 1 minute).
4. Place portion of dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until dough is smooth.
5. Shape into a ball and roll to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch.


  1. BUTTERSCOTCH BISCUITS: Roll dough into a rectangular sheet 1/3 inch thick. Spread with melted butter and brown sugar. Roll dough as for jelly roll. Cut into slices 3/4-inch thick.
  2. CHEESE BISCUITS: Add 2 lbs. (2 qt.) of dry grated cheese to dough. Brush biscuits with milk and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  3. CINNAMON BISCUITS: Proceed as for butterscotch biscuits. Spread with melted butter, granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  4. COBBLER: Place prepared fruit in pan. Cover with biscuit dough 3/8-inch thick; dock, and brush with melted shortening.
  5. ORANGE BISCUITS: Make a small indentation and place 1/2 teaspoon orange marmalade on each biscuit.
  6. WHOLE WHEAT BISCUIT: Substitute 7 lbs. of whole wheat flour for 7 lbs. of white flour.

Creamed Sliced Dried Beef

YIELD: 6 1/4 Gallons or 100 portions, each portion: 1 cup
Butter or shortening
Flour, sifted
2 lb.
2 1/2 lb.
1 qt.
2 1/2 qt.
1 tbsp.
1. Melt shortening add flour, and blend. Add pepper. Cook 5 minutes.
Milk, hot   4 3/4 gal. 2. Add hot milk slowly, stirring to prevent lumping.
Beef, dried, sliced
7 lbs.
1 lb.
1 3/4 gal.
1 pt.
3. Separate beef into slices. Cook in hot shortening until edges curl.
4. Add to white sauce. Blend.


1. If beef is too salty, omit cooking in hot shortening (step 3), soak beef in hot water 15 minutes and drain before adding to white sauce.
2. If desired, freshly sliced dried beef may be added to white sauce without cooking in hot fat.
3. Serve with toast, baked potato, steamed rice, noodles, spaghetti, or cornbread.

Navy Bean Soup

YIELD: 6 1/4 Gallons or 100 portions, each portion: 1 cup
Beans, white, dry 6 lbs. 3 1/2 qt. 1. Pick over and wash beans.
Ham stock
Ham bones
  7 gal.
8 bones
2. Add ham stock and ham bones. Heat to boiling point; cover and simmer 2-3 hours or until beans are tender. If necessary, add hot water.
3. Remove ham bones.
Carrots, shredded
Onions, finely chopped
1 lb.
2 lbs.
2 3/4 cups
4 1/2 cups
2 tsp.
4. Add carrots, onions, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Flour, hard wheat, sifted
Water, cold
1/2 lb. 2 cups
3/4 qt.
5. Blend flour and water to a smooth paste. Stir into soup, and cook 10 minutes longer.


1. If beans are old, soak 3 to 4 hours prior to cooking.
2. Add salt and additional pepper if desired.


Old Fashioned Navy Bean Soup: Add one No. 10 can of tomatoes in Step 4.

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The Navy Hymn

Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!
Most Holy spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Origins of the U.S. Navy Flag

The Department of the Navy Seal, created in 1957, was to serve as the main feature of the official United States Navy flag, adopted two years later. The flag did not pass through an evolutionary development as was the case with the Navy seal.

Ships of the earliest period in the Nation’s naval history wore a variety of flags, including the striped Grand Union, and those bearing a pine tree or rattlesnake. However, these various banners may be considered steps in the genesis of the national ensign, the “Stars and Stripes,” rather than forebears of a specific flag for the Navy.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century the Infantry Battalion flag (above left) was introduced for use by naval landing forces. This was a blue flag with a white diamond shaped device in the center and a blue foul anchor superimposed on the diamond. For more than sixty years, the Infantry Battalion flag served as the unofficial Navy flag in drill formations and parades and at other ceremonies. An official Navy flag, truly representative of the Navy’s operating forces at sea, was authorized by Presidential order 24 April 1959:

The flag for the United States Navy is 4 feet 4 inches hoist by 5 feet 6 inches fly, of dark blue material, with yellow fringe, 2 1/2 inches wide. In the center of the flag is a device 3 feet 1 inch overall consisting of the inner pictorial position of the seal of the Department of the Navy (with the exception that a continuation of the sea has been substituted for the land area), in its proper colors within a circular yellow rope edging, all 2 feet 6 inches in diameter above a yellow scroll inscribed “United States Navy,” in dark blue letters.

Unlike the national ensign, commission pennant, union jack, and admiral’s broad pennant which fly from gaff, mast, or staff on board naval vessels, the flag of the United States Navy is reserved for display purposes and is carried by an honor guard on ceremonial occasions.

Presidents Who Served in the U.S. Navy

John F. Kennedy (1961-63); Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69); Richard M. Nixon (1969-74); Gerald R. Ford (1974-77); Jimmy Carter (1977-81); George Bush (1989-93)

USS Coronado (PF-38)

The USS Coronado (PF-38), a Tacoma-class frigate, was the first ship of the United States Navy named for Coronado, California.  She was launched June 17, 1943 by the Consolidated Steel Corporation under a Maritime Commission contract.  It was sponsored by Mrs. J. R. Crutchfield.  Lieutenant Commander N. W. Sprow, USCG, was in command.  Originally the PF-38 was a gunboat, but was later redesignated as a patrol frigate.

Coronado sailed from San Diego on February 8, 1944 for convoy escort duty to Australia en route to New Guinea.  After escorting troop and cargo transports to Manus and support the landings there, she returned to the western part of New Guinea taking part in the landings there.  Later that year, she sailed from Humboldt Bay to join in the Leyte operation.  In 1945, after an overhaul back in the States, she sailed for Alaska where she took on four Soviet officers and 45 men aboard for training. Coronado was decommissioned in July of that year and transferred to Russia under land lease.  Returned to the U.S. at Yokosuka in 1949, she was placed in reserve there until 1953 when she was transferred on loan to Japan under the Mutual Assistance Program. Coronado served in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (Sugi) until decommissioned on March 31, 1969.  At that time, she was returned to U.S. custody in 1971.  Currently, her fate is unknown.

During her commission, Coronado received four battle stars for her World War II service:  the Bismarck Archipelago operation, the Hollandia operation, the Western New Guinea operation, and the Leyte Gulf operation.

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By Kimberley Graham

This year, 2011, marks the “Centennial Anniversary of Naval Aviation” for  those who wear the golden wings of Naval, Marine, and Coast Guard aviators. We have a very special citizen living among our ranks here on the Emerald Isle who qualifies amongst those proud aviators.  His name is Captain Len Kaine.  Captain Kaine is a retired U.S. Navy fighter pilot and president of the Golden Rule Society (GRS).  After retiring from the Navy, Captain Kaine established the nonprofit corporation to support our troops, veterans and their families, with a primary focus of assisting the children of our nation as well as 15 other countries around the world.  Over its 39-year history, the GRS has accomplished its goals through a variety of fundraising programs and activities.  The philosophy of the Golden Rule Society is, “To better the lives of others is your life’s greatest reward.”  This is not only the society’s philosophy, but Captain Kaine’s as well.

Captain Len Kaine’s exuberance, innovation, and hard work have not gone unnoticed.  Locally, a proclamation was presented to Captain Kaine by Mayor Casey Tanaka, designating the first week of October 2010 as Golden Rule Society week in Coronado.  Mayor Tanaka also nominated the organization for the “2010 San Diego Veterans Allegiance Award” recognizing the nonpaid volunteers who support our troops and veterans.  In a separate nomination from Vice Admiral Edward H. Martin, Kaine was nominated as the “2010-2011 San Diego County Veteran of the Year” for his 38 years of volunteer service to those who defend our freedoms.  Captain Kaine and GRS received this award alongside eight others, which were presented to he and his organization at a local luncheon by members of Congress, Susan Davis and Bob Filner, for “outstanding and invaluable community service”.

On a nation and worldwide level, Captain Kaine was presented with the “2005 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Gold Medal and Citation” for his charity work.  Senator John McCain pinned on the Award at the 50th year reunion of Carrier Naval Aviators.  In 2003, the benevolent Captain Kaine was nominated for the Novel Peace Prize.  He received both a place on the National Role of Honor in Washington, D.C. and a Letter of Commendation from the Under Secretary of Defense (Director of Youth Activities) in 2002.  These are but just a few of he and the Golden Rule Society’s many accolades.

Once again in the words of Captain Kaine and the Golden Rule Society, “To better the lives of others is your life’s greatest reward.”The Golden Rule Society is led and managed by non-paid volunteers and 100% of the net funds raised by the organization go to help children and non-profit beneficiaries. More than a million lives have been touched and improved by the very generous outreach programs offered by the GRS.“We truly welcome every child, young adult and grown-up who has access to the Internet into our educational, motivational, inspirational, and character building program, with special affinity for children of Military Service Members, Firefighters, and Law Enforcement Personnel, and all who Protect and Serve.”

For more information on the Golden Rule Society and how you may volunteer or contribute to this honorable organization visit:

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Recently, noted journalists Bob Woodward and Tom Brokaw alongside the First Lady, Michelle Obama, joined the Oprah Winfrey Show to acknowledge the “epidemic of disconnection” we have as citizens of our great country for the over 5,800 soldiers who have lost their lives in the Iraqi-Afghanistan wars as well as the millions of soldiers, officers, and their families who currently serve this effort on our behalf.  It is time as we honor our warrior heroes to also honor those who struggle in the present.  Many soldiers who are fortunate to survive their deployments only return to be deployed yet once again.  The soldiers miss the birth of their children and the milestones of these children we all cherish so much.  Their spouses and family miss them terribly and worry about them constantly.  Do we?

Who are the Gold Star families?  Who are the Blue Star families?  Gold Star families have lost a loved one in the wars.  Blue Star families have a loved one currently serving in the wars.  This article is an appeal to us as community citizens to reach out to these special families.  Not only to offer our gratitude, but our assistance.  What can we do for you, as a family, to show our gratitude?  Adopt a Family.  We, at the Coronado Clarion, would like to hear and share your stories.  We will serve you and provide awareness.  As a military town, this should be foremost and fundamental in our consciousness.  Coronado owes a huge debt to its military.  Here are some organizations you may participate with and find assistance for your very special families and friends:

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Special Edition in Honor of the U.S. Military

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“Wings of Gold: Coronado and Naval Aviation Museum Exhibit Marks 100th Anniversary”

In early 1911, the United States Navy asked pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss to train one its officers to fly. Curtiss chose a sandy, scrub-covered island in San Diego Bay as the location and Coronado became the birthplace of Naval Aviation.  On February 4, 2011, the Coronado Historical Association (CHA) will participate in a national celebration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation with the unveiling of a themed museum exhibit entitled, Wings of Gold:  Coronado and Naval Aviation.

Wings of Gold will be on display in one of the main galleries of the Coronado Museum of History and Art and will feature rare photographs and documents such as an early pilot license signed by Orville Wright. An original 1920s pilot uniform and a national insignia that flew on aircraft from 1919-1940 are examples of some of the items on view.  A multi-media component utilizing oral history interviews highlighting the history of U.S. Naval Air Station (NAS)–North Island, will be included in the exhibit.  A series of lectures, a film festival and a community-wide commemorative home signage program with map of residences lived in by over a 100 naval aviators will complement the exhibit during its six-month run.

Coronado Historical Association Naval Aviator Yard Sign Initiative:  Look for signs in front of houses where Naval Aviators past and present have lived as you drive around Coronado or come by the association for a map.

The Coronado Museum of History & Art is located at 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado.  Suggested donation:  $4  Hours:  Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., 10-5 p.m.  For more info, call (619) 435-7242 or log onto:

 “Coronado Library Centennial Exhibit:  Jan-Dec 2011”

The Coronado Public Library will be commemorating the Centennial of Naval Aviation throughout 2011 with a special exhibition highlighting the progress of naval aviation from its beginning in 1911 to its role in the modern world.  The hundred year story of U.S. Naval Aviation will be told in six chronological bi-monthly exhibits.  The exhibits will showcase scale models of naval aircraft, historical photographs, uniforms, original paintings, flight gear, pilot log books, and other memorabilia.  Of note will be a small-scale diorama of North Island and how it changed over the decades.

For more information about the exhibition or scheduled events call 619-522-7390 or visit  The Coronado Library is located at 640 Orange Avenue, Coronado, Ca.  Open Monday-Thursday 10-9, Friday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 1-5.  All programs and events at the Coronado Library are free to the public. 

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The first Sunday of November 2003, a group of local activists erected 340 wooden crosses on the beach immediately west of Stearns Wharf in the beautiful seaside community of Santa Barbara, California.  The wooden crosses marked the deaths of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq.

Outraged that the Bush administration had barred U.S. media from photographing returning coffins containing the war dead from Iraq, founder Stephen Sherrill, along with a small group of local activists, erected the first installation of what has become widely known as the Arlington West memorial. “I didn’t feel that the American people were mindful of the terrible price we were paying – and were about to pay – for the invasion and occupation of Iraq,” says Sherrill. “The statistics in the newspapers were just tiny little numbers, too easy to breeze over.”

Since the first installation of the crosses in 2003, the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq has grown beyond 4,300. Every Sunday morning, members of Veterans for Peace and volunteers from the community, place crosses in the sand in remembrance of those whose lives have been sacrificed in Iraq.  Hundreds of observers from across the nation and around the world visit Arlington West every week.  To date, there have been approximately twenty duplications of the original Arlington West all across America, including their weekly “sister memorial” in Santa Monica, California.

In the intervening years since the memorial started, Veterans for Peace members and volunteers have effectively transformed what began as an angry anti-war protest into a genuine memorial — somber, chilling, and irresistibly moving.  The memorial has been deliberately de-politicized in an effort to make Arlington West a non-threatening experience for everyone, regardless of their political affiliation.  Gone are the placards denouncing George W. Bush that were there in the beginning.  In their place are flowers, flags, and the names of the dead attached to the crosses and posted on makeshift bulletin boards.

The immense temporary cemetery was named after Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, a burial ground for soldiers killed in active duty.  It takes two dozen volunteers about three hours to erect the display of over 3,000 crosses. Planted in straight, tight rows covering over an acre of beach, it makes a stunning visual statement.  In the background, the sound of “Taps” can be heard playing nonstop from a nearby recorder.  At sunset, the music ends and the crosses are taken down, packed up, and stored away until the coming week.

Each cross has a name, rank, age, place of death, and how the death occurred.  It is remarkable how many ages marked are 19.  The phrase heard over and over, spoken by the viewers, “This really makes you think.”

Adjacent to one of the most heavily traveled intersections in Santa Barbara, Stearns Wharf has always been a favorite place for tourists to stroll.  But now, it has also become a place where friends and relatives of the deceased can pay their last respects.

Unfortunately, as of August 2010, the temporary cemetery has entered into a controversial change.  The cross display will no longer be erected every Sunday standing for U.S. casualties in Iraq.  Instead, the 3,000-plus crosses will be swapped out for 1,236 “new” plastic markers, each one representing the death of a U.S. military member serving in Afghanistan.  Since the start of 2010, there has been a “troubling uptick” in casualties in this war — nearly 250 since May versus 45 fatalities in Iraq.  The other major motivating factor behind the redesign is logistics.  Already a fairly involved process, this removes some of the heavy labor needed for the weekly project.  Many of the wooden crosses will still remain on the site, but not necessarily erected each week.  According to a spokesperson for the founding organization, VFP, “We will absolutely continue to put up crosses if people come specifically to visit them…We have no intention of abandoning the visitors who come to Arlington West.”

Although the memorial has always suggested debate due to its controversial origination, nonetheless, it serves our fallen well.  Arlington West is a definite “must visit” to remember our brave and honorable American military citizenry.

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By A. R. Graham

To order I Remember by Alan Graham:

Cover art by stupendous rock photographer, David LeVine.

Proceeds from sale of the book go to: Kimberley Graham Cancer Recovery Fund

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By Al Graham

There are many war memorials in San Diego, but there are many more that have been forgotten, yet they still exist.  Up until last year, there was no war museum in the county.  So, when Captain Will Hays USN retired, heard that an old church had become available in Balboa Park – a new one was built recently at Balboa Naval Hospital; and the old one looked like it might be demolished, he went about making this abandoned church into a not-so-abandoned historical domain.  Now San Diego can proudly boast that it finally has a Veterans Museum to honor the proud history of our long enduring military and its heroes.

The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center occupies the former chapel of the Naval Hospital on Inspiration Point in San Diego’s Balboa Park.  The original hospital buildings have been familiar and nostalgic landmarks to countless naval personnel and San Diegans alike since the early 1920s; although the chapel itself was not built until the World War II period.  Today the museum houses a unique collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and papers as well as a library holding more than one thousand volumes. Dedicated to veterans of all conflicts, the museum’s exhibits feature World War I, World War II, Pearl Harbor, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, Desert Storm, Women in the Military, and paintings by local artists of military subjects.

Do not miss a living history tour by our docents who have been there!  See the first American flag to fall in the Philippines. Enjoy the museum’s unique collections of memorabilia and artwork dating from the Civil War to the present. This is the place to see and hear history. The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center is one of the very few places you will find that covers all branches of the service and is indeed a home for all veterans groups.

Museum Hours:  The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.  Admission Prices:  $5 for General Adult; $4 for Veterans & Seniors (65+); $2 for Students with Valid I.D.  Free Admission for:  Museum Members, Active Duty Military & their Dependents, & Children 12 & under.

Veterans Memorial Museum
2115 Park Boulevard
San Diego, Ca 92101
Phone / 619.239.2300

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By A. R. Graham

At the gas station on Orange Avenue in Coronado, California hangs a lonely and badly tattered black and white flag.  It bears an image of an American soldier, head bowed with a Vietnamese prison guard tower in the background.  The mournful letters POW*MIA are chilling to the eyes even now many years after the conflict.  The flag is soaking wet from a heavy rain as a driving wind whips it into an angry frenzy.

Old Glory is hanging next to the disheveled banner.  She is also buffeted by the high winds, but she is intact and vibrant as the violent gusts of air streak across her.  The stars are dancing almost as if twinkling in nightlights.

Most young people today have no idea what the POW*MIA flag stands for.  To see it neglected and forgotten is a dismal tribute to those who will never return.  The fate of the missing is still highly disputed, and amidst this confusion, the truth may never be known.

In Coronado, there is a very special place of tribute in honor of ALL of the souls who died for our nation.  One block from the Pacific Ocean lays a serene circular park.  A massive pine canopy filled with tuneful birdcalls hangs above; and as the dawn breaks, the sun gently brushes the face of Old Glory and the rest of the flags hanging next to her:  the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, and at the very end, flying briskly in a warm Santa Ana wind is the MIA flag.  Rivulets of wind ripple across its face as the soldier’s black silhouette seems to be speaking urgently, “Forget Me Not.”  “Forget Me Not.”

Or perhaps that is just this writer’s imagination.


SYNOPSIS:   CDR Harry T. Jenkins, Jr. was a pilot assigned to Attack Air Wing 16 onboard the USS Oriskany.  Jenkins was a respected seventeen-year aviation veteran.  Jenkins had grown up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from high school in 1945.  In 1948, he earned his wings and reached the pinnacle of operational success, command of a carrier-based squadron, the Saints of Attack Squadron 163, on December 30, 1964.  He flew many combat missions from the Oriskany.

One such mission was flown September 9, 1965.  A major strike had been scheduled against the Thanh Hoa (“Dragon Jaw”) bridge, and the weather was so critical there was a question whether to launch.  Finally, the decision was to launch.  Halfway through, weather reconnaissance reported the weather in the target area was zero, and the CAG, Commander James B. Stockdale, had no choice but to send the aircraft on secondary targets.  Stockdale and his wingman, CDR Wynn Foster, circled the Gulf of Tonkin while CDR Harry Jenkins took his strike element to look for a SAM site at their secondary target — had anything been found, Wynn and Stockdale were to join Jenkins’ group.

After fifteen minutes or so, Jenkins’ group came up empty.  The group made the decision to hit a secondary target, a railroad facility near the city of Thanh Hoa.  It was here that CDR Stockdale’s aircraft was hit by flak.

Stockdale ejected, landing in a village and was captured.  The villagers brutally beat Stockdale as they took him captive, all within sight of the aircraft above.  Stockdale was held captive for seven and a half years, and he was to see Jenkins again before he was released.  CDR Wynn Foster would eventually assume Jenkins’ position as squadron commander of VA-163.

Jenkins carried a Bible with him on the ship, letting it fall open somewhere to read.   One night, the passage said something about, “He shall fall into his enemies.”  Jenkins wondered at the time if that was a premonition.  He also dreamed about becoming a prisoner.  He was worried about losing his men and agonized over planning, of finding the best way to a target.  He confided to another fellow officer that he was tired, not only physically, but emotionally as well.

On one particular mission Jenkins had narrowly escaped death when an anti-aircraft shell hit his aircraft, blowing off the canopy and destroying the instrument panel.  Jenkins guided the crippled aircraft safely back to the Oriskany.   When he landed on the deck of the Oriskany, he discovered that shrapnel had penetrated his G-suit, but hadn’t reached the inner lining.  These sorts of missions sapped the strength of the best of pilots.

On November 12, 1965, Jenkins launched in his A4E Skyhawk fighter aircraft on his 133rd combat mission on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. He was two weeks short of leaving Vietnam for home.  Then on November 13, 1965, Jenkins and his wingman launched in their A4E aircraft on Jenkins’ 133rd combat mission.  The target area was Dong Hoi, a quiet area where nothing much happened because of reports that the river southwest of the city was passing traffic.  The two pilots went around the river but determined it was not navigable.  On their return, they decided to crater a road junction in case traffic was going through there at night.  They planned to slow down the traffic then return at night and check traffic again.

On the way to the junction, about ten miles from the coast, they passed a clump of trees where it appeared that a lot of traffic had driven, possibly a truck park.  The wingman orbited while Jenkins went down to investigate.  He flew very low, ten to twelve feet off the ground, and at fairly slow speed, looking under the trees.  Nothing was around, and the area was quiet.

Pulling off and heading toward the coast, Jenkins heard a gun start firing. He looked back and could see two streams of tracers from a 37-millimeter enemy anti-aircraft gun, a twin mount, nearly dead astern from him.  He quickly pulled back on the stick of his Skyhawk and sought the safety of cloud cover overhead.  But the aircraft had been hit dead astern, in “the hell hole” just aft and under the seat where the control junctions, electrical buses are.  The controls of the aircraft were immediately disconnected.  The stick wouldn’t function, and all electrical gear was down.

A second explosion followed.  Jenkins continued to climb and headed toward water, still some six to eight miles away.  The aircraft started rolling very rapidly and began to drop.  So Jenkins was forced to eject below 2,500 feet.

The wingman circled above.  Below, the Vietnamese were all around howling and yelling.  Jenkins landed on a rise approximately 12 miles south of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam.  The rise was covered with short brush and no place to hide.  He had no time to assemble his emergency radio and ran up the hill and slid under the brush.  His ejection and progress were intermittently monitored by his wingman as low clouds allowed.  The Vietnamese approached him, swinging a sickle on a stick, and slashing through the brush.  Another came right to his feet, poking with a stick.  Jenkins gave himself up.

In Jenkins’ words, “…if that had been one of my earlier missions, there is no way that gunner would have gotten me.  I’d just seen so much flak and had been hit several times.  I was just tired, I guess, and not thinking.”

Meanwhile, Jenkins’ wingman had been joined by nine other aircraft within five minutes of the initial bailout.  A1s circled overhead looking for Jenkins.  The Vietnamese were all armed and began shooting at the A1s, evidently for Jenkins’ benefit, as with each shot came a glance towards Jenkins.  Search and rescue aircraft reported observing over 100 troops and other personnel in Jenkins’ vicinity.  They remained on station looking for Jenkins for about two hours, but the Vietnamese successfully hid him from view.

A Radio Hanoi broadcast on November 14th indicated that an American pilot was shot down and captured on November 13th in the Dong Hoi District.

Jenkins was moved toward Hanoi, traveling at night.  During the trip, Jenkins was amazed by the large numbers of trucks that moved through the night in North Vietnam.  While he had seen only a few trucks from the air at night and never in daylight as a pilot, he was astounded to see the tremendous numbers of trucks moving under low light, guiding by reflective painted stripes or plastic strips on the road about every thirty feet.

Jenkins arrived at the Hoa Loa Prison in Hanoi in the early morning hours of November 23rd.  He was taken first to the “Meathook Room” for interrogation; then later to a cell where his ankles were manacled and locked together by a long steel bar topped by a heavy piece of lumber.  His wrists were tied behind him, upper arms laced tightly together from elbows to shoulders.

Jenkins was the fifty-fifthAmerican POW and the first senior officer to be tortured upon arrival in Hanoi.  For two years and one month, from late 1967 through most of 1969, CDR Jenkins, the third-ranking senior naval officer in a North Vietnamese prison camp, was put into leg irons at five o’clock each evening and stayed in irons until seven the next morning.  As special punishment for communicating with another prisoner on one occasion, Jenkins spend 85 consecutive days in irons.

In early 1969, Jenkins became ill and was in great pain at a camp known as Alcatraz, located some ten blocks from the Hanoi Hilton.  He was receiving no medical care, and fellow prisoners, led by Jenkins’ former wing commander, Jim Stockdale, put the pressure on.  What ensued might be called a “prison riot”.  The effort did bring a doctor to Jenkins’ cell; although the doctor did nothing to ease his pain.  The next morning, Stockdale organized a 48-hour fast to demand medical attention for Jenkins.  The next evening, each prisoner was interrogated and on the morning of January 27th, Stockdale was taken away to another prison center.

While the Vietnamese clearly had the upper hand on controlling their American captors, the POWs found many ways to “slip one over” on the Vietnamese.  One day, Jenkins discovered a loose wire in an extension cord and secretly shorted the wire, so that when guards turned the lights on that evening, three or four fuses were blown before the lights could be made to work.  Jenkins carried the fun from camp to camp.  In one camp, the lights were all in a series.  Jenkins bared the wire in his room and alternately shorted and restored the lights so that the camp was totally dark or completely lit at his whim.  He also broke some wires in a radio speaker causing all the speakers in the camp to go out.  He manipulated the wires in a radio, and, using the POW tap code, sent messages around the camp by turning the Vietnamese music on and off in code.

During the years Jenkins was a prisoner of war, he was taken across the infamous Thanh Hoa bridge.  A girder that he had hit on a strike mission prior to his capture was, to his great satisfaction, still wide open.

CDR Jenkins was held as a prisoner of war until he was released in Operation Homecoming in 1973.  He had been held for over seven years.  He was among 591 lucky American prisoners who came home at the end of the war.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. government.  Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today.  These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners.  They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned.  Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country, is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held.  It is time we brought our men home.

Harry Tarleton Jenkins, Jr., was promoted to the rank of Captain during the years he was a prisoner of war.  He lived in Coronado, California, and worked for a defense contractor.  Captain Harry Jenkins died in the crash of a homemade aircraft 2, August, 1995.

“I was C.O. of VA-163 flying the A4E when shot down 13 November 1965 nea Dong Hoi, North Vietnam.  During my stay in North Vietnam, I spent four years in solitary confinement.  During this time I did much reflection on my life and my faith.  While I hope never to repeat the experience, I feel I gained a certain insight into things I might never have obtained otherwise.  Since I’ve returned I’ve been asked many times “was the war right, was it worthwhile?”  There is no doubt in my mind we were right in fighting.  I don’t think we had to fight to preserve America but it was necessary in order to preserve American honor.

A free people were threatened with the yoke of Communism being imposed by force, I fought to prevent that and I feel that fight was successful.  Our belief in freedom of choice for all required that we help the South Vietnamese or any other nation that needs our help.

We owe our independence to foreign help, mainly French, and our honor dictates that we stand ready to offer help to others when they need it to remain free.  Many men invested their whole lifetime to this cause. I invested only seven years.  Though I hope never to have to, I’m ready to invest more if it is required.

I wish everyone could understand the gratitude I feel for their thoughts and prayers during those long years and I’d like to ask everyone to continue their prayers until all those not yet home have been properly accounted for.”

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By Nina Odele

Coronado was such a magical place to grow up.  Of course, as little kids we didn’t know that back in the 60s a nd 70s.  We thought all kids everywhere had a whole Island Paradise to play in. Things were mostly on the quiet side here in our, then, sleepy little town.

Except for when one of the presidents of the United States came to visit.  Then there was stirring and buzzing on every square inch of our happy childhood playground!  Orange Avenue and 4th Street were cordoned off to normal traffic many hours before the heralded appearance of the very impressive shiny black Presidential motorcades.  I could almost feel the collective blood pressure of all my fellow residents rising in anticipation.  People would line the streets waving American flags and larger flags were proudly waving in the median strip all the way down Orange Avenue to the Hotel Del.  It was very much a parade-like atmosphere each and every time.

The Presidents I can remember rolling into our Crown City were:  Nixon, Reagan, Ford, Carter, and Bush Sr.

They all came by car as they had already been to various speaking engagements in and around San Diego.  Coronado was and is a popular relaxing retreat for our Country’s Presidents.  They spent as much time as they could unwinding here.  I remember when it wouldn’t be unusual to see Jimmy Carter jogging on the beach!  After 9/11 everything changed.  It was no longer safe for the motorcades to parade down Orange Avenue.   Even in our VERY military town. Terrorists ruined that tradition forever.

By the time Bush Jr. was in office, the safest way in was to fly straight to Naval Air Station North Island via Air Force One.  I lived right on Sunset Park.  One day I saw police cars driving onto, and lining up in the park — Not something you see every day.  Also, San Diego Police Mounted Patrol parked their horse trailers right in front of my house.  My humble corner was their official staging area.  As an ex-Mounted Officer (San Diego County Sheriff) myself, this was extremely exciting!  I grabbed my camera and went to go visit with them as they readied to form a barrier along the beach when the President flew in.

By this time, there were people gathering all along Ocean Boulevard.  Homeland Security was everywhere as well.  Everyone was finally in place.  I took to my perch on the upstairs balcony with my little 35mm camera at the ready, hoping to snap a photo of AF1 as she flew in.  I had no idea how close I’d be, but I was prepared nonetheless.

Suddenly, there she was, in all her glory! — Flying RIGHT over Sunset Park.  I began clicking away with my camera.  I couldn’t believe how close I was.  The jet itself was very impressive.  I remember thinking how quiet it was compared to the others that flew into North Island every day.  The whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds, but I will never forget the experience!  It was pretty cool watching the motorcades in those earlier days, but nothing like almost being able to reach out and touch the belly of AF1.

Here are a few of the photos I captured from that awesome day:




Air Force One is the designation of any airplane that serves the President of the United States government.  The same planesare used by the vice-president but are called Air Force Two when he is aboard.  The presidential fleet consists of two customized Boeing 747-200B aircraft (military designation VC-25A) called SAM 28000 and 29000.

The name Air Force One was established after an incident in 1953, when Eastern Airlines flight 8610 crossed paths with the president’s plane, then called Air Force 8610, although the Air Force One name was not made official until 1962.

The first aircraft configured for presidential use was a C-87A (Liberator Express) called Guess Where II, but concerns about the C-87 safety record relegated it to use by senior members of the White House staff, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on her goodwill tour of Latin America.

In its place, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster (VC-54C) was configured for the president and nicknamed Sacred Cow.  It has a sleeping area, radio telephone, and an elevator to raise President Franklin Roosevelt into his wheelchair (but FDR used the plane only once).  This airplane is now housed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

In 1947, President Truman replaced the Sacred Cow with a Douglas DC-6 Liftmaster (VC-118) named Independence after his hometown.  Its nose was painted to look like a bald eagle.  Its aft fuselage was converted into a stateroom.  And the main cabin could seat 24 passengers or could be made up into 12 sleeper berths.  This airplane is now housed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force as well.

In addition to the Independence, Eisenhower used two Lockheed C-121 Super Constellations (VC-121E) called Columbine II and Columbine III and two small Aero Commanders.

In 1958, Eisenhower added three additional aircraft into the executive branch service.  These were Boeing 707 (VC-137) aircraft designated SAM 970, 971, and 972.  These were the first presidential jet aircraft.

During the Kennedy administration, SAM 26000, a Boeing 707 (VC-137) went into presidential service.  Influential industrial designer, Raymond Loewy, designed the new livery (the exterior color scheme) and the interiors.  President Johnson took the oath of office on board SAM 26000, and the airplane continued to serve presidents up to Bill Clinton until 1998.  It was replaced as the primary executive aircraft in 1972 by SAM 27000, another VC-137, which served until 2001.  This airplane is now housed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

In 1990, the two Boeing 747 (VC-25A) aircraft used today were delivered (having been ordered by Ronald Reagan).  The same livery was used, but the interiors were selected by Mrs. Reagan.

A new Air Force One is scheduled to go into service in 2017.  The likely candidates are a Boeing 747-8 and a Boeing 787.

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Flag of Freedom by George Koen

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By  Lynne Harpst Koen

My dear sweet Dad, Walter William Harpst, Jr., was born on October 8, 1916 in Columbus, Ohio. Walter (Wally) discovered his talent for music when he was still a boy. Wally’s remarkable talent would take him all over the globe and he was a career musician for over 65 years. Wally played the guitar, ukulele, and stand-up bass (then known as big bass violin). He also sang like a bird. While playing with one of the “Big Bands” in New York City in the early 1940’s, Wally got a new “calling”, and into the Army he went. Wally and his Army Band entertained different branches of the Service during WWII including the Navy, Marines, and Air Force. Wally’s Band was “Special Services” intended to boost the soldiers’ morale. Wally served mostly in the Pacific (Okinawa) and had more than his fair share of close calls over seas. Wally had many “war stories” but one of the oddest ones was when the war was allegedly over. One day, Wally and the troops heard a loud, thundering noise. Suddenly, as they all watched, over 600 Japanese soldiers came pouring out of caves surrounding the base camp. They surrendered peacefully.

After the Army, Wally returned to playing music on the West Coast, mostly in the L.A. and Palm Springs areas. He met and preformed for many big stars of that era including Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Lorn Green, Jerry Lewis, Desi and Lucy, and many more. Wally also toured for MCA and did a stint as a master of ceremonies for a radio show for a short while as well. While performing a gig at the Hotel Del Coronado in 1955, Wally met a Hollywood model named Frances Goodrich. Frances (Fran) was summering at the Del. The two fell in love and were married. I was born on November 15, 1957.

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By Lynne Koen

Janis Lyn Joplin was born to loving parents Seth and Dorothy Joplin in Port Arthur,Texas on January 19, 1943. Janis had a happy family life, yet she was very shy when it came to relating to others outside the home. She never seemed to quite fit in with the other girls at school. Janis wasn’t pretty enough to be one of the “popular girls”. She was awkward and different. At Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Janis tried fitting in by joining various clubs on campus. As a result, she joined Future Teachers of America Art Club and the Math Club. Janis thought she’d finally become popular and likable, but her superior intellect far outshone that of her fellow students further alienating Janis from her biggest desires to belong, to be liked, and maybe even to be loved.

In those early days, Janis took out her sadness and frustration out in her art. She was always drawing or painting. Janis also loved music only not the type of music her classmates enjoyed. Janis went for the Blues. She loved the black singers’ songs about hard work, loss, and pain. As she got more and more into the Blues Sound, Janis’ appearance began to change radically. She teased her frizzy hair up high and wore all dark clothing. Janis was being led to the “Beat Scene”.

She found friendship with five smart, intellectual-type boys at school. Though highly intellectual, these boys were also major non-conformists. They marched to a different beat, and Janis fit right in. Janis finally had some confidence, and she started speaking up in class about equality for blacks and civil rights in general. Boys at school would follow her around throwing pennies at her and shouting “nigger lover”, but Janis didn’t care. She had her tightly knit group now. Janis and the boys would travel all over — hanging out in coffee houses and going to concerts. They drank heavily and even dabbled in drugs (mostly speed). One day they were returning home to Port Arthur and Janis was singing along with the car radio. One of the boys remarked, “Damn, you can SING!” Janis giggled and said, “Yeah, I guess I can!”

Janis graduated from high school in June 1960. In the fall, she attended a technical college and learned “keypunch” an early cousin to computer programming. Janis’ mother, Dorothy, knew Janis wanted a life outside Port Arthur, outside Texas, and thought Janis could get a good job just about anywhere with her technical skills.

Janis went to live in Los Angeles under the watchful eyes of her mother’s two sisters. She got a job as a keypunch operator for the telephone company in L.A. Soon the 9-5 grind got tedious for Janis who longed to live the total Beat life on her own even if it meant struggling to make ends meet.

One day while traveling on the bus, Janis struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler. She learned this man lived in Venice Beach. On a lark, Janis passed her stop and went with him to Venice. There Janis found the artistic freedom she craved. Creativity and expression of freedom not to mention drugs and alcohol were seen as portals to heightened experience and deeper understanding of life. In Venice, Janis found a ramshackle place she could afford on her own, and there she settled in happily singing and playing guitar at local coffee houses. This lasted only a short while though as Janis felt stifled in L.A. She’d heard of a larger Beat community in San Francisco’s North Beach area. So she went up there to check out the scene. There she befriended a fellow artist who was a doorman at the Fox and Hound Coffee House.

The first time Janis showed up to sing there she wore a WWII bomber jacket, Levis, and a blue work shirt. She had a cigar dangling from her mouth. Janis went from not fitting in to standing OUT in a big way!

Janis wasn’t making enough money to support herself so she went back to Port Arthur in December, 1961. She shocked everyone with her clothing style — newfound “California Swagger” and aggressive ways. In retrospect, this was Janis’ way of covering for the fact that she didn’t make it on her own in California and also to mask her massive insecurities.

Restless, Janis soon discovered that she couldn’t stay home for long so she followed a few friends to Austin and the University of Texas in the summer of 1962. There she was voted “ugliest man on campus”. Janis treated this as a joke, but in a letter home to her parents, she asked how people could be so cruel. Austin had a very strong music scene — mostly country, bluegrass, and folk. Janis joined a band and became very popular in Austin.

Janis bragged to friends about her many sexual escapades in California, but truth be told, this was much exaggerated as part of the whole Janis’ character she was trying so hard to convey. One night while Janis performed at an Austin club, a music promoter from San Francisco approached her and talked her into trying the San Francisco scene once again. She was promised an enthusiastic audience as the scene there evolved into a pre-hippie mode. Back in San Francisco, Janis became hugely popular as promised.

Musicians didn’t make much money, but they were allowed to “pass the hat” at the end of each performance. Janis’ hat always filled to the brim each and every night. A fan offered Janis a free place to live — a basement apartment Janis shared with a friend, fellow artist, and kindred spirit, Linda Gottfried. It was at this point that Janis began drinking heavily. She considered drunkenness as an aid to personal spontaneity and total freedom. She also began taking a large amount of speed because it was cheap and seemed to counter balance the alcohol effects. Janis was functioning but never sober.

By 1965, Janis was in love with a speed freak named Peter de Blanc. Shortly after they became engaged, Peter was hospitalized for speed-induced psychosis. This was enough to scare Janis straight for the time being. Once released from the hospital, Peter helped Janis buy a bus ticket back to Port Arthur promising to join her there shortly. Janis went home and began planning her wedding. She gave up the radical look and seemed to embrace the traditional lifestyle she’d rejected for so long. She even enrolled in a “poise” class in summer school. Janis also began seeing a therapist to whom she admitted trying various drugs while in California.

In addition to the constant use of alcohol and speed, she also experimented with Quaaludes and Demerol to help come down off the speed. During this time, as Janis waited for de Blanc, she didn’t even take a drink. Peter de Blanc wrote to Janis and even visited Port Arthur once. It gradually became clear that de Blanc was seeing other women. So Janis called the marriage off and began seeing other men.

In the summer of 1966, Janice was asked to sing for a San Francisco band called “Big Brother and the Holding Company”. Janis had been sober for 12 months and was confident she now could withstand the California drug culture. The San Francisco scene had changed markedly while Janis was away. The Beats had paved the way for the new Bohemians, the hipsters now known as “hippies”. Free Love was all the rage along with mass quantities of drugs and alcohol. Janis was known to enjoy the sexual company of both men and women. She was comfortable with her bi-sexuality and communal living. LSD or Acid was fairly new on the scene and was still legal until possession became a misdemeanor in October 1966. In the music scene, folk and blues had given way to psychedelic rock.

Big Brother and the Holding Company were known for their “freak rock” music. Loud and raunchy, Janis fit right in. It was a perfect fit for all, and six days later, Janis was in the band. At this point, Janis was simply one of the guys not yet touted as a star.

The band along with their extended families all moved to a large hunting lodge in Lagunitas, north of San Francisco in Marin County. There the band could rehearse any time they wanted without bothering anybody else except maybe the Grateful Dead who had a lodge down the road. They were unlikely to mind!

Those were very happy times for Janis. She began seeing Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish. Janis took Joe to her apartment in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood — the Mecca of hip in those days. There, Joe saw a softer side to Janis. Her apartment was warm and welcoming filled with Victorian “fru fru”, velvet couches, and ornate antiques. From there, Janis and Joe would call local radio stations and request their bands’ songs be played. Then they’d sit back and listen, basking in their newfound fame.

However, with fame came pressure from fans for Janis to get wilder and louder on stage. She started doing drugs again — this time heroin, always mixing with alcohol, her favorite being Southern Comfort. With this combination Janis felt she was invincible — whatever inhibitions she once had no longer existed. Janis fed off her fans’ feeding frenzy. They wanted to see her get crazy on stage– the wilder the better. Janis gave them what they wanted and then some.

Big Brother and the Holding Company were known primarily for their concerts and not their record albums. It was the visual of Janis doing her thing that attracted the fans. By 1967, thousands of young people were pouring into San Francisco. The vibes of peace, love, and harmony were alluring to young folks in an uncertain world. The highlight of the year was the “Summer of Love” which officially began in June with Big Brother and the Holding Company among the acts at the Monterey Pop Festival. As she skipped onto the stage, Janis looked like any other hippie chick: Peasant top, blue jeans, long frizzy hair framing her face. But when she started singing, she blew everyone away with her voice that concurrently purred and wailed sending shivers through the crowd.

Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas sat in the front row. After hearing Janis sing “Down On Me”, Cass sat stunned mouthing one word over and over again: “WOW!” With this performance, Janis Lyn Joplin became a mega star. For Janis, Monterey was a harbinger of fame and fortune changing the history of women in Rock and Roll forever. When the festival was over, Janis partied with members of the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix. Everybody was drinking whiskey, smoking pot, and dropping acid — Hendrix more than anyone.

As her band’s fame grew to epic proportions so did their checkbooks. Janis began a life of outlandish opulence and luxury. She drove a psychedelic Porsche around San Francisco where fans and friends would always leave notes under the windshield wipers wherever the car was parked. Janis wore the finest “threads”: silk, satin, feather boas, beads, and bangles.

While touring with the band, Janis would hang out in the streets and park with fans. She also began partying with members of the Hells’Angels — a motorcycle gang that often provided “security” for concerts. While music was her life force, audience’ adulation fed Janis’ restless spirit. Peter Albin was leader of Big Brother and the Holding Company and also the band’s spokesperson. Janis started vying for that role which caused discord among the band members. Suddenly, the band took a back burner to the sensational chick singer, Janis Joplin. Interviewers and media were only interested in talking to Janis not to the band as a whole.

Riding high on the band’s strong reviews, manager Albert Grossman scheduled a U.S. tour that began in February of 1968. Right before the tour began, he changed billing. From now on the band was to be known as Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin. Janis was the big draw and everybody knew it. Later that year, while in the studio working on the album, “Cheap Thrills”, the whole ethic of the band began to unravel. Trying to wedge their experimental sound into a tight album format was failing. As Janis was dead-on every take, the increasingly unhappy band members kept making mistakes. Out on the road, the world had turned ugly. The ideals and values of the “Summer of Love” were badly shaken as the war in Viet Nam raged on, and the civil rights movement reached a fevered pitch, but the band played on. Now known as Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, the whole band was so unhappy at this point that they all started shooting heroin just so they could stand to be on stage together.

Janis had outgrown Big Brother. Janis was torn as she’d been with the same band for so long and became famous with this group. Sadly, Janis knew she had to move on. Rolling Stone magazine described Big Brother as “messy and a general musical disgrace”. The album, “Cheap Thrills”, was certified gold before it was even sold on the market. The pre-order sales were off the charts. Unfortunately, it was already too late as Janis announced she was leaving the band in the summer of 1968.

Janis formed a new band called the Kozmic Blues. With only 3 weeks to prepare for their debut, the group didn’t have enough practice or time to get to know each other. They failed to work well as a group. This pushed Janice even deeper into drugs and alcohol. She became very depressed, and she missed the camaraderie she had with her bandmates in Big Brother. In the year that Janis toured with Kozmic Blues, the band received cool welcomes at U.S. concert venues. The reviews were a bit kinder in Europe, but not much. It was obvious that Janis was unhappy, and the band was mechanical in backing her up. During this time, Janis was constantly high. She became cocky and rude, completely out of control in public on a regular basis. With her outrageous rock-star antics, it was hard to believe that Janis was actually a very intelligent, well-read person. However, those in the know-knew. Janis actually had her own production company, Strong Arm Music. She’d performed over a hundred live concerts in three years and had the forethought to create a corporation, “Fantality” to merchandise fan memorabilia.

Then came Woodstock. The days of August 15-17, 1969 would go down in history as the biggest musical extravaganza ever. Janis was right there, seemingly happy for the first time in a long while amidst a slew of fellow rock stars such as Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker. Kozmic Blues toured heavily throughout the rest of the year. Janis pushed herself harder and harder begging her fans to get up and dance with her. As she poured her soul out to the crowd, they rewarded her with the adulation she so badly needed. By the end of 1969, it was a year marked by profound highs and devastating lows.

Janis knew she needed a break. She found it in a new home in the mountain community of Larkspur, California where she moved in December of 1969. Janis decorated her new home much in the same fashion as her Haight-Ashbury apartment — Victorian knick knacks, velvet furnishings, lots of stained glass, and Oriental rugs. Kozmic Blues disbanded at the beginning of 1970.

Worn out, Janis began to plan her first real vacation with a friend. They decided to go to the Carnival in Rio. Janis kicked heroin cold turkey and fell in love with a man named David Neihaus. Her plan was to return home with Neihaus, but he was detained due to a lapsed visa. Janis let her upset become an excuse to use heroin again, and when Neihaus showed up two days later, Janis was high and planning another tour. The couple agreed they each wanted different things from life so they parted ways.

Janis connected with singer and movie star, Kris Kristofferson, at a party one night which became a three-week, drinking-drugging binge. Janis had formed a new band called “Full Tilt Boogie”. This band had a stripped-down, sound design to showcase Janis vocals. Janis continued to see Kristofferson, who even moved in with her for a brief period of time. One night, he sang her a song he’d written called, “Me and Bobby McGee”. Janis included the song on the playlist for her new album, “Pearl”. Though their romance fizzled, Kristofferson had unknowingly given Janis what would become her most famous song. Janis loved the idea of being in love, but her drive to perform and insatiable need to connect with her fans far outweighed any one personal love affair.

In June 1970, Janis appeared on the Dick Cavett Show with Full Tilt Boogie. Janis announced on the show that she was going back to Port Arthur for her ten-year high school reunion. Janis’ career was at an all-time high though her alcohol and drug abuse was starting to show. Her face became muddled and puffy. She’d gained weight, which she tried to cover up with ever more flamboyant costumes.

In September of 1970, Janis and Full Tilt Boogie began studio rehearsals for the new album, “Pearl”, named after African-American singer and actress, Pearl Bailey. In what was to become one of her last interviews, Janis was asked why she worked so hard. She replied: “It sure as hell isn’t for the money.” She went on to say: “At first it was to get love from the audience, but now it’s to be able to go as far as I can go — to reach my full potential.” Sadly, Janis had her demons. They lurked right out of sight waiting in the wings to pounce.

Janis had been rehearsing a song called, “Buried Alive in the Blues”. She planned to record it the next morning. Tired, drunk, and alone in her room on the night of October 3rd at the Landmark Hotel, Janis shot her last dose of heroin. Right after, she went to the lobby and bought a pack of cigarettes, went back to her room, and sat down on the bed. A few minutes later, shortly before two in the morning, Janis slumped over, wedging herself between the bed and the nightstand. When she failed to show up for rehearsal that morning, John Byrne Cooke drove to the Landmark and found Janis dead of an accidental overdose of heroin mixed with alcohol. Janis Joplin was 27 years old. Her obituary in Time Magazine reported: “She died on the lowest and saddest of notes.”

A stage play “Love, Janis” (based on the book of the same name) written by Janis’ sister Laura Joplin, features some of Janis’ iconic performances and also excerpts from some of the letters she wrote home to her family over the years. It’s a revealing look at the different sides of Janis Joplin. The wild-eyed rock star versus the sweet, loving sister and daughter. Janis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 12, 1995. 


Posted in Clarion Rock, Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | 1 Comment



(Excerpt from upcoming The London Dialogues, by Alan Graham)

I worked at Jackson’s Tailor Shop in Liverpool, England. It was nineteen sixty-two, and I was seventeen years old. Lunch time was the most exciting part of my day. My lunch was always the same and never lost its wonderful taste — an ice cold coke in the old-fashioned glass bottle and a hot dog with onions. I would make a short walk to a narrow back street in the busy fruit market area. Most of the buildings were storage warehouses save for a single pub. One of these warehouses had been converted into a cramped basement nightclub.  

Monday through Friday were dedicated to matinee performances by up-and-coming rock ‘n’ roll groups who played American rhythm and blues as well as rock ‘n’ roll music from the likes of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke, Joe Tex, and a fabulous never ending host of other greats. Included in these would-be rockers were Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Searchers, Cilla Black, and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes — all of whom would become part of the great new “Mersey Beat”. As my lunch hour ended, I had heard “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Long Tall Sally”, “Tallahassee Lassie”, “Three Cool Cats”, “Rip It Up”, and many more.

Among all of these rockers in the making, one group stood out showing much promise. Clothed in black leather jackets, Levis, high-heeled boots with silly haircuts, these lads were cool, cheeky, and gave it their all. Very soon, this group, my favorite, would become famous, seemingly overnight. They transformed the City of Liverpool, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and the Liverpudlians themselves.

The Beatles would leave Liverpool and head for “The Smoke” (London – the Big City). I never saw them perform live again, but marvel at their meteoric rise.  They were now singing their own compositions. Suddenly, the old music was left behind in the dust as a new paradigm shifted.

We all sang the new material with home-grown pride. Their first hit was “Love Me Do” followed by “Please, Please Me”. What followed was nothing less than an avalanche of creative energy not seen since the 1920’s renaissance in Paris.

When the Beatles left the City of Liverpool, my lunch time was not the same.   Even though the new music raged on, for me something was missing. So, I too left following my “Fab Four” to the Smoke. I took the midnight mail train out of the Liverpool Central Station, the cheapest fare you could find. It was a six-hour journey as the train stopped to deliver mail at each city down the line.

At six a.m., I stood outside of Euston Station surveying my new surroundings and wondering where the Beatles might be. I took a tube train to Marble Arch. I picked the biggest hotel I could find and went in to ask for a job. There weren’t any, but a sweet old lady in the personnel office gave me a lead to a construction site in a beautiful rural town on the outskirts of the city. The work was grueling, yet the pay was three times more than I ever would have gotten in Liverpool. 

One morning, I was digging a ditch for a gas main when two Rolls Royce Silver Clouds passed by. The fellow working with me said, “You know who that was, don’t you?” I said, “No, who?” “That was the Beatles. They live just across the street at St. George’s Hills.” St. George’s Hills was a luxurious gated community where only the very wealthy resided. It now included the world-famous Beatles.  Of all the places I would land for work, it would be right where my beloved Beatles dwelled. Although, I never saw them in the flesh or did those Silver Clouds ever pass by again, it was a quiet thrill that I had followed them unknowingly to precisely where they lived.

When that job ended, it was onto the next which would be a stint working in the Helena Rubenstein Cosmetics factory. After that, I worked in a factory that produced fiber glass materials such as mannequins and retail displays. I then went to work with British Railways as a night porter. Eventually, I landed in Earl’s Court aka Bed-Sit-Land, a bustling, upscale West London borough populated by mostly single, young people. The 1860’s era terraced housing was now converted into single rooms and two-bedroom flats – hence, Bed-Sit-Land, short for bed sitter flats. Bed-Sit-Land was also a cosmopolitan tourist hub that attracted students from all across the globe. 

“Michelle, ma belle, these are words that go together well, ma Michelle…” My favorite group was now world famous and their songs dominated the air waves.  It was wall-to-wall Beatles music in addition to fabulous groups like the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Pink Floyd. My favorite perfume at the time, was girls. I liked them very much, and they liked me just as much. I had two girlfriends from Sweden, one from New Zealand, one from France, one from Germany, and several from Earl’s Court who just happened to be from England. The number would eventually grow to ten. I now worked as a fry cook at the local Wimpy Bar, the equivalent of the American burger joint named for the hamburger-gulping character from the Popeye cartoons.

Since the Beatles’ phenomenon, England had shed its dreary bounds. It was now awash with an explosion of music, art, and fashion – outrageous fashion, bizarre art, and super cool music. I was in paradise and I was as free as a bird. At the drop of a hat, I would hitch-hike to France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Norway, or anywhere else that took my fancy. 

One summer evening, I stood in front of Earl’s Court Station watching/studying people, another one of my favorite pastimes. A strikingly beautiful girl with long brown hair and blue eyes came out of the station. She looked at me and kept on walking. I followed her asking if I could walk with her. She said, “Well, I’m going home.” So, I volunteered to escort her. “Where do you live?” I asked. “In Vasagatan” “I have never heard of Vasagartan. Is it around here?”   “No,” she said, “it is in Stockholm. I am from Sweden.” She stopped and laughed at my surprise. “This could be a very long walk”, I thought to myself.

Tanya explained that she had been working in London for the summer and was about to leave hitch-hiking her way back home. That very evening, she was taking the midnight ferry from Dover to France. I volunteered to escort her all the way to Sweden. It was now she who was surprised, “You would? You would?” I would and I did.

I went directly home, packed a few things in a knapsack, and off we went. We had a wonderful adventure crossing Europe through France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and all the way home to Vasser Garten (Water Gardens) in Stockholm.

I stayed with her for a couple of weeks.  Although she was lovely and fun to be with, Sweden was dull and so were the people. I was used to gregarious, outgoing, friendly people. The Swedes were decidedly reticent and emotionless.  The night before I left, I sat in a small club, where a local guitarist played Beatles’ music, if you can believe that. He was struggling with the lyrics as he translated, “Yellow Submarine”. When it came to the part, “We all live in a yellow submarine”, the musician was having difficulty finding the word for “submarine”. Submarine as a single word is nonexistent in Swedish. He simply replaced it with “under vasser buss” (underwater bus). No matter where I went, the Beatles had been there ahead of me and had left their magic mark.

Back in London, Earl’s Court was as groovy as ever. Hordes of tourists and students came flooding into the community to see and hear the English music scene. The Liverpool accent was now a major asset. Excited American girls would sit and listen to my every word trying to mimic me as they giggled with delight. “Please come and meet my friends” was a common request. As surely as a celebrity “without portfolio”, I was the next best thing to a Beatle. “Talk like John Lennon. Talk like Paul McCartney. Can you sound like Ringo?” I spoke as I usually do in a thick Liverpool brogue, but to my audience it was as magical as hearing an English rock star. I was the only Liverpudlian (scouser) in town which set me apart from everybody else. I was a very singular fellow indeed. I was untethered to anyone or anything. I was floating in the land of milk and honey surrounded by beautiful girlfriends.

Rock ‘N’ Roll ruled the world. A massive upheaval in a once-stuffy society had now blossomed into a wild, hippie culture. Young people were very close and friendly, sharing and caring for each other in a near fantasy world. The new music kept on coming, so did the college kids. I was at a magical crossroads and each new face presented a fresh, new adventure.

American kids were friendly, generous, and intelligent. They were bringing their culture to ours. We shared each other’s customs like gleeful children. A decade earlier, it was the Americans who ruled the roost. Elvis was king of the world and English musicians mimicked American rock ‘n’ roll.

Now, the Beatles were king. They had simply taken Rock ‘N’ Roll and transformed it into a sort of early punk rock, just four kids and their instruments. The original was ladened with brass backup – sax, trombone, trumpet, and big bass drums — but now, anyone who could play guitar or a set of drums could form a band. Very soon, there were hundreds of new groups as the Mersey Beat and the English Sound set off to conquer the world.


by Alan Graham

It was nine a.m., and the little town of La Mesa was awakened by the sound of John Lennon’s voice belting out “She Loves You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” He was not alone: Paul, George, and Ringo were singing along with him.

The Fab Four had not aged in all these years and looked like they were ready to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show as they chatted with customers outside of “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, a little British shop.

A news crew was setting up for an interview. So the lads went inside and stood before the cameras. They were innocent, cheeky, cute, and contagiously funny as they answered questions.

A reporter asked “How do you find America?”  John Lennon answered, “Turn left at Greenland.”

I suppose I should also say that although it really was not the Beatles, it might as well have been. It was a tribute band called “Britain’s Finest”. Not only did all of them look very much like the lads themselves, which was good enough for me, they sang just like them, and they actually captured the true essence of the original band.

All in black right down to the Beatles’ boots, they tapped their pointed toes to the beat as they stood singing, “Falling, yes, I am falling, and she keeps calling me back again”.  I have seen many look-a-like acts over the years, and in each case, there was always something missing. The voices were good but did not look the part or looked good but sounded awful. Britain’s Finest rules. They have it all: the look. the sound, the mannerisms, and the very spirit of those four lads from Liverpool.

CONTACT INFO: (858) 598-7311



Posted in Clarion Rock, Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | Leave a comment



Posted in Clarion Rock, Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | Leave a comment




By Y.W. Grossman

Astoundingly, for most of our history America’s nickname for Pit Bulls was “The Nanny Dog”. For generations, if you had children and wanted to keep them safe you wanted a Pit Bull, the dog that was the most reliable of any breed with children or adults.

The Nanny Dog is now vilified by a media that always wants a demon dog breed to frighten people and LHASA-APSO BITES MAN just doesn’t sell papers. Before Pit Bulls, it was Rottweilers. Before Rottweilers, it was Dobermans, and before them German Shepherds. Each breed in its order were deemed too vicious and unpredictable to be around people. Each time people wanted laws to ban them. It is breathtakingly ironic that the spotlight has turned on the breed once the symbol of our country and our national babysitter.

In temperance tests (the equivalent of how many times your kid can poke your dog in the eye before it bites him) of all breeds, the most tolerant was the Golden Retriever. The second most tolerant was the Pit Bull.

Pit Bulls’ jaws do not lock. They do not have the most powerful bite among dogs; Rottweilers have that honor. They are not naturally human aggressive. In fact, Pit Bull puppies prefer human company to their mother’s two weeks before all other dogs, and they feel as much pain as any other breed (accidentally step on one’s toe and you’ll see).

The most tolerant, patient, gentle breed of dogs is now embarrassingly portrayed as the most dangerous. It would be funny if the new reputation did not mean 6,000 are put to death every day, by far the highest number of any other breed euthanized. That’s a lot of babysitters.

Posted in Coronado Canine, Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | Leave a comment



♥ A Dog’s Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep. The king-size bed is soft and deep. I sleep right in the center groove. My human being can hardly move! I’ve trapped her legs. She’s tucked in tight. And here is where I pass the night. No one disturbs me or dares intrude till morning comes and “I want food!” I sneak up slowly to begin my nibbles on my human’s chin. She wakes up quickly. I have sharp teeth. I’m a puppy, don’t you see? For the morning’s here and it’s time to play. I always seem to get my way. So thank you Lord for giving me this human person that I see. The one who hugs and holds me tight and shares her bed with me at night! Author Unknown






Posted in Clarion Causes, Coronado Canine, Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | 1 Comment



We have to say goodbye to a very special family member, ZORRO!  Here’s to you special boy who gave so much love to your parents & made joy look so easy.  We will miss you, Zorro!  Big human hugs!  Say hello to all of our favorite doggies!

Michelle ‘n’ Raymond Fisher with a very special Zorro!

Posted in Coronado Canine, Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | Leave a comment


Posted in Current Issue, Quotes, Spring 2012 Issue | Leave a comment




DNA has become a huge research resource for proving one’s lineage especially in proving blood lines. I have been a genealogist since August 1967, and I began my search on my family tree because my father had been adopted out of his family during WWI at the age of 12 days. I wanted to prove who his parents were, and I had some knowledge.

I knew my grandparents lived in Tucson, Arizona and had for many years. I tried to contact them with no success, but I did learn that my grandfather William Joseph White (LeBlanc) had passed away less than a year earlier on Sept 14th, 1966. Luckily for me, I found I had a great uncle who was a bishop in the Mormon Church, and he was more than willing to share information with me as my biological grandmother in Tucson would not answer my letters. She and my grandfather had eloped in Alamosa, Colorado just prior to his being called away to WWI.

He was a part of the PFC 59th Infantry 4th Division in World War I (the 59th Infantry, organized in 1917 by transfer of men from the 4th Infantry, saw hard fighting as a part of the 4th Division in Champaign in the Aisne-Marne engagement in Lorraine at St. Mihiel and at the Meuse-Argonne. In the Aisne-Marne offensive the regiment did gallant service against the Chateau-de-Diable north of the Vesle River). He was an American of French-Canadian descent and spoke fluent French and was being sent to the front lines. After he left, her father learned of the marriage and had it annulled. Then they found out she was expecting a child.

My grandmother was friends with one of the Nichols’ girls who told their mother about the unwanted baby boy. The family adopted my father as their fourth child (and I might say favorite child!) When my grandfather came home after one year, he and my grandmother Leah May Hebble were married again on 3 Dec 1919. He then went out to the Nichols’ farm and demanded his firstborn son back, and my grandfather R. P. Nichols drove him off the property with a shotgun.

The adoption had not yet been finalized. It took place in court in Alamosa, Colorado on 15th December 1919. They were heartbroken to have lost their firstborn, and they went on to have another beautiful baby boy, who unfortunately died of baby food poisoning in 1921 at the age of 5 months, 25 days; they then had a daughter in 1924 and another son in 1933. 

The daughter who was my biological aunt, of course, actually wrote me a letter sometime in the late 1960s threatening to sue me for stating that her parents were the parents of my father. After her death, in Tucson in 1997, her only child, my cousin found among her important papers, my father’s original birth certificate with her parents names on it. Actually when my Dad went into the Army during WWII from Coronado, the Department of Commerce had to issue him a birth certificate with his birth name, William Hebble White and his date of birth 16 Sept 1918 even though his name was legally Richard Virgil Nichols. I cannot imagine that nowadays a baby could be adopted out with the court records saying “abandoned at birth” when the father was unaware of the birth and overseas at war.

Things have changed a bit in the past 92 years. My father never met his parents, siblings or nephew. His mother actually outlived him by three years when she passed away in 1979. I submitted my brother Nick’s Y-DNA in 2008, and he connects to seven LeBlanc’s with 67 markers, all from the same ancestor Daniel LeBlanc of France and Canada

Take some time to look over your own family tree and consider what you are looking for from a test. Do you want to prove or disprove a family legend? Family Tree DNA has the largest DNA database in the world for genetic genealogy. As of April 02, 2011, the Family Tree DNA database has 329,073 records. 

Some facts about inferred DNA: Y-chromosome DNA only gets transmitted along the direct paternal line (from father to son). The parts of the chromosome that are tested for genealogy usually do not change from one generation to the next. If they do change, it is usually only by one count on just one of the markers. Therefore it is possible to infer the test results from someone who has taken a DNA test to all of that person’s paternal line relations for several generations back. 90 percent of genealogists choose Family Tree DNA – with the largest DNA database.  As of January 21, 2012, we have a total of 357,160 records!

My very favorite DNA is a story about an Englishman who finds out he is a Yank! This happened 63 years ago during WWII. A retired Englishman learns his father was an American soldier from Louisville, Kentucky. After a lifetime, a Briton is shocked to learn he’s a Yank!

By Byron Crawford • • May 25, 2008:

A romantic tragedy of World War II linked across an ocean by a single strand of DNA is still unfolding in Kentucky this week. On his deathbed a few years ago, the man Peter Vickery had always believed his father disclosed that Peter was not his son — Peter’s real biological father was an American soldier. “I felt a bit numb,” said Vickery, now 63, a retired truck driver who lives in Birmingham, England.

His 88-year-old mother, who is a patient in a nursing home in England with her mind weakened by a stroke, would later admit to Vickery’s younger sisters that, yes, she’d had a brief fling with an American soldier in February 1944 while her husband was serving with British forces in North Africa. She had given birth to Peter, the GI’s son, in October 1944. She could no longer remember the soldier’s last name only that his first name was Robert, and he was over 6 feet tall and in his early 30s. She had never heard from him again after their passionate, fleeting affair in London. “They had met as part of a foursome, but I don’t know with whom, and they had gone out dancing,” said Vickery. “I heard that from my sisters. I found it embarrassing to talk with my mother about it.” His mother’s heartbroken parents had sent her away from their home in Cardiff to live with an older stepsister in Birmingham after learning that she was pregnant. For a while after her husband returned from the war, she had pretended that Peter was her sister’s baby, but the truth finally surfaced. Although she and her husband remained married for many years, and even had three other children, they divorced later in life. “I was kind of glad, really, when I found out that he wasn’t my father because we hadn’t gotten along that well most of my life,” said Vickery.

In January 2008, Vickery sent a DNA sample to the web site:, hoping that he might miraculously find some link to his real father. About the same time, Rick McCubbin, of Bardstown, Kentucky — an avid genealogist who is the U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Kentucky — entered his DNA sample on the same site hoping to locate McCubbin relatives in Scotland. When notified about their matching DNA a few weeks later, Vickery and McCubbin began exchanging e-mails. 

Vickery shared his story with McCubbin and provided his mother’s information about a soldier named Robert, who had passed through England in February 1944. “Ten minutes later, I get another e-mail back from Rick,” said Vickery. “I nearly fell out of my chair.” McCubbin wrote that his great uncle Robert, who was well over 6 feet, had been in England in early 1944 when he was 32. He had been among the U.S. 29th Infantry Division troops who stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day. He survived the landing but died in battle several weeks later. He was never married. Could Rick McCubbin’s great-uncle have been Peter Vickery’s father? Despite the DNA and matching descriptions, McCubbin, who had been a Louisville police officer before he was named U.S. Marshal , continued to look for evidence carefully cross-checking the dates on military records and letters. 

He sent Vickery the last picture his family had made of Robert Elvis McCubbin dressed in his Army uniform about 1943, and Vickery showed it to his mother. “Yes,” she was sure the soldier in the picture was Peter’s father. “Her face lit up,” Vickery said. “She asked if I would leave the picture with her. She touched my face and said, “He was a lovely man.” Peter Vickery, who is married but has no children, arrived in Kentucky on Tuesday to meet “an extra family” he never knew existed. “I really couldn’t afford to come, but when I found out he (Robert) had two sisters alive, I thought I’d better get over here and meet some of these people,” he said. As fate would have it, Rick McCubbin, the family historian, has kept all of his great-uncle’s personal effects all these years — the flag from his coffin, his Purple Heart medal, the letters he wrote home, and his wallet containing $1 and some phone numbers, which had been found with his body on the battlefield. Late last week, McCubbin, Vickery, McCubbin’s son, Aaron, Rick’s brother, Mike, and their father, Ron, visited the old family graveyard in Hart County and the home on East Kentucky Street in Louisville where Vickery’s father lived before the war.

Tomorrow, Rick McCubbin, Vickery and other members of the family will visit the burial site of Robert Elvis McCubbin in Louisville’s Evergreen Cemetery, where for the first time in 63 lost Memorial Days, Peter Vickery will finally place a flag on his father’s grave. “That’s probably going to get to me,” said Vickery. “When your life suddenly changes direction at this time in your life, it’s kind of difficult. I’ve been an Englishman for a long time now, and now I’m newly American.” Note: What amazed me about this story was the photo that accompanied it, Vickery, the Englishman, and the McCubbin men looked like brothers, the genes were so strong!

A Success Story Submitted by Jim Miller

My father was born Carl Rhoads Jr. in Texas and never met or even knew his father’s name until he was an adult. His mother was in another relationship when he was an infant and called my father James Miller after that man. Her history with men wasn’t very good and my father never had a father in his life. Unfortunately he passed away in 2007, never even certain whether Carl Rhoads who may have been his father really was based on his mother’s lifestyle. After my dad passed, I read a story in AARP and then saw a TV story about DNA testing and decided this would be the way to give my dad a history even if a little too late to do him any good. I turned up an exact genetic match at 37 markers 0 distance to another Rhoads. He had a family tree with only one Carl Rhoads in the tree born in Oklahoma but raised in Texas where my father was born. More research resulted in a great family tree which included a large number of famous relatives. My father never had much of a family, and I know he always regretted not having any roots. I started my search to honor my dad and have a feeling he rests a little more at peace now that he has roots.


I am amazed myself at the capabilities in DNA matching, and just last fall Family Tree DNA in Houston, Texas provided conclusive proof through their Family Finder test that two NFL players are half-siblings. Until just a few months ago, Xavier Omon, of the San Francisco 49ers & Ogemdi Nwagbuoof the San Diego Chargers, did not even have a clue that the other existed. In early August at the request of ESPN, the Family Tree DNA lab preformed the test and the result was unequivocal definitely half-siblings. This story can be found on the ESPN website under a “Brother’s Tale”.

A brothers’ tale for Omon & Nwagbuo: They plan to meet for the first time Thursday when the 49ers play at San Diego In a few days, the NFL will make its final purge, casting away pieces that don’t fit. Xavier Omon, a fourth-string running back for the San Francisco 49ers, might be on one of those lists, and it won’t be a stunning revelation for a man who has been cut three times. In life, like in football, Omon has struggled to fit in. He was one of just three African-American kids at Beatrice High School in southeastern Nebraska, and freshman year, he says he was called the N-word. “Honestly,” he said, “I beat the hell out of the kid. It never happened again. His father called once, when Xavier was in fourth or fifth grade, and promised to visit. Omon says he never heard from him again. So for nearly 26 years, Xavier Omon felt as if he had half of a life. Then a message came that changed everything. Afraid at first.. It started, of all places, on Facebook. Delorise Omon, Xavier’s mom, was catching up with an old acquaintance on the computer last winter. The man informed her that Chris Nwagbuo, Xavier’s biological father, had died in 2004, and that one of his sons — a half-brother of Xavier’s that he’d never met — just happened to play football, too. For the San Diego Chargers.

“It was crazy,” Xavier Omon said. “It’s like a movie.” Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Xavier Omon found out in December that they are half-brothers. It should have jolted him from his chair, prompted him to rush to his smartphone to check the Chargers’ roster. But Omon hesitated. He was scared. If he took that step, there was no turning back. He’d have to call Ogemdi Nwagbuo, but what if he rejected him? Or didn’t believe him? After pacing for 20 minutes, Omon decided he had nothing to lose. He clicked on the website and found the face and name. Ogemdi Nwagbuo, defensive end, 6-foot-4, 312 pounds. Born in 1985 just like Omon. He then needed roughly five friends to persuade him to make the call. Omon says receiver-turned-reality-TV star Terrell Owens was one of those supporters who helped him muster up the courage to hit the send button. And thus began a nine-month relationship via texts, Skype and late-night phone conversations. Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Xavier Omon found out how much they were alike, how their first love was basketball, not football, how their paths to the NFL were unconventionally jagged, how both of them are waiting out this final cut, though Nwagbuo is seemingly a lock to spend his fourth straight season with the Chargers.

Genetic Genealogy allows us to trace the path of our ancestors and find out who they were, where they lived, and how they have migrated throughout the world. Find the race of your ancestors by discovering your haplogroup. Were they European, and if so, which haplogroup did they belong to? Do you have a Native American Ancestry? What about African ancestry? Do you belong to the famous Jewish Cohanim line? Were you related to Niall of the Nine Hostages? Find out these interesting facts and many more. A surname project allows people from all over the world with the same or similar surname to use DNA markers to determine the roots of their surname and reunite family groups. By comparing your haploytype to other males, you can begin piecing together the puzzle of your global family network.

Because your haploytpe is passed down to you from your ancient forefathers, all males who share the same lineage as you, even if it is very distant, will have the same haplotype as yourself. Using this powerful information, you can determine whether a family line with your same surname shares a common ancestor with you (same family line as yourself) and which family groups originated from a different line. It is always important to try to have the oldest male members of your family line tested as soon as possible to capture important information before it becomes too late. DNA testing has become a very powerful tool for individuals to discover their past and is becoming one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America and Europe. Individuals around the world now have this hobby at their fingertips. A mother passes on her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to both her daughters and sons. Only daughters have the ability to pass it on to the next generation though. This means that both men and women can take the mtDNA test. You will then match both men and women.

I hope that I have inspired you to look into your family genealogy and the advances made the last few years through Y-DNA  for males and mtDNA for females. Who knows you may discover your ties to royalty and legendary figures here! Many famous figures of the past, including royalty, have had their DNA analyzed, and now you can see how you are related to these figures.

Don’t know where to start? Want to join a lineage society such as the Colonial Dames or Daughters of the American Revolution and you need help with your society application, than I may be able to help you! Every genealogy project is unique, and my objective is to assist people pursue genealogical research. While no genealogical researcher can guarantee results, your best hope for finding the traces of your ancestors’ footprints may rest with an experienced researcher. If you want to contact me for further information, please feel free to do as by email: or 619-694-9415.

Posted in Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | 2 Comments




Is a Facebook Group devoted to members sharing their fond Coronado memories of growing up here.  Different members begin threads and watch out, Coronadoans from many generations living both here in Coronado still or having relocated join together to exchange remembrances of days gone by. The following are two favorite subjects of all of ours:  Food & Stars! 


Denise Adams Shirley began this thread:  OK I’ve got one…What was your favorite place to eat on the island when we were growing up and old enough to go out and choose for ourselves?

Left to Right: Denise Adams Shirley ’69, Pamela Murphy Moreno ’72, Elizabeth Betsy Johnson Richie ’71, Nikki Delaurentis ’71, & Wendy Berry Pullin ’71


And our comments were:  You Know You Grew Up in Coronado When…

Wendy Sanger McGuire Unreal! I got this in the mail from someone in Lakeside yesterday. I told him how we all felt about the Mexican Village and that if he sent it, I would donate it to the library archives, and he sent it so we all could enjoy!

Lynne Harpst KoenWith family – Mex Pac & Marco’s. On our own: Bob’s Drive In, Papa Tom’s, CharBurger, Orange Julius, Greasy’s!

Denise Adams Shirley – HMMMM…Maybe Mexican Village was the BEST!

Michael Kelly – Stretch’s & such a nice guy! Karaoke King when Mex-Pac started doing it in the 80s!

Donna Huchthausen Davis – Old Mexican Village & Stretch’s…

Nancy Trepagnier – The Old Mexican Village

Kimberley Graham – The Village Burrito was to die for, shredded beef or chicken with gobs of melted cheese & their yummy signature sauce. Start with a crisp quesadilla adorned with green chiles & the best dressing on the Mexican Village romaine salad ever. And not to be completely stuffed, you had to end with the homemade classic dessert, Mexican flan. I truly miss the Mexican Village!

Nancy Cox Castro – Mexican Village…the way it used to be – always a fave!

Andy Niemyer – As a kid, it was a “big deal” to go out: La Avenida, Mexican Village, and Dino’s were all places in town my parents took us.  I remember taking dates to Marco’s, the Brigantine, and the Chart House. After I moved back to Coronado with the Navy in ’73, I was a regular at Papa Tom’s – Biggest burgers ever! Of all the natural changes that have happened in my home town over the years, the Mexican Village is the one I will miss the most.

 Scott Young – Marco’s, to this day, I still crave their pizza!

Mike Jarvis – Marco’s had the best after surfing scarf food in the world!

Katie M. Farnsworth – Favorite place was Marco’s! Yum!!

Suzi Lewis — My family’s favorite dining establishments were: Marco’s, the Manhattan Room, and the Mexican Village. During my short visits to see my dad and mom or step-mom, I’ve been taken to Miguel’s, Costa Azul, Bistro D’ Asia, and the Island Café. Al and Kimmie took us to Il Fornaio.

Kimberley A. Graham – Almost every Friday night whilst growing up, we ordered two large pizzas from Marco’s (one extra cheese & one with everything – no anchovies)! So delicious! It was our special treat. They had the best homemade sausage. When I moved back to Coronado to raise my kids, we also made Marco’s a ritual. We would walk in & the Palumbo sisters would just start cooking for us. I miss Marco’s so much & so do my kids!

Martha Torkington – Marco’s!!!

Kimberley Graham — Does anybody remember the little hamburger shack next to the car wash by Perkin’s Bookworm? It wasn’t Circus Drive-In, who had the best greasiest fries. Or does anyone remember the pizza at the Manhattan Room? And then there was Trout Almondine at Dino’s. That would be with your parents. And I will forever miss Marco’s & Chu Dynasty. One of the Palumbo sisters has opened an Italian restaurant in IB called Café di Roma. I am excited to try it.

Wendy Sandy McGuire — Frances Palumbo advertises her catering in the Eagle and the new restaurant in IB is Cafe di Roma. Ganosh Gourmet carries their sauces, foccacia bread, and turkey sausage for those too tired to go down the Strand, but we also eat there every chance we get! All the sisters are working there, and it is awesome.

Denise Adams Shirley – OOOOOOHHH Marco’s…AND Jalisco’s! Yummers!!!

Tim Hinsvark — Chart House all-u-can eat ribs night, Brig, Mulvaney’s salad bar, Capt Jack’s was ok, Marco’s, Mexican Village, that deli where Leroy’s is now, Jalisco’s Cafe in IB.


Lynne Harpst Koen – Remember the little submarine sandwich place?? YUMMY Samis! Kathy Williams Campbell and I used to pig out on them in the median right there on Orange. Then we’d go to Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors for dessert. Ah! Those were the days, my friends!!


Kimberley Graham — How about the garlic bread spread at Northwoods Inn?

Michael Kelly — Coronado Pharmacy Fountain Patty Melts…the best!

Kimberley Graham – On my own, for me, it was always Clayton’s for the roast beef sandwich with cheesecake for dessert & Coronado Pharmacy lunch counter for the pimento cheeseburger.

Helen Nichols Murphy — Coronado Pharmacy fountain! Of course, my Mom was the Manager & the Best Cook in town! No one could make a Hamburger like my mom “Mallie”!

Aleene Queene — You’re so right, Helen! Best hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and many soups!! Mallie was the best!

Barbara Gatzert –Mulvaney’s…So much fun with friends. I’ve got good memories of the drug store counter and their malts.

Bill Meyer — Sorry girls, but I beg to differ. The Coronado Pharmacy fountain had nothing on the Night and Day Cafe. And my mom was the best cook the Night and Day Cafe ever saw. The fresh hash browns were to die for.

Denise Adams Shirley — Gotta go with Bill on this one…I’m sure your Mom was an awesome cook, Helen…it’s just the Hash Browns that got ME!! lol

Kim Harris — I liked Papa Tom’s burgers and Clearman’s Little Northwoods Inn had a great, huge chili burger, free if you could eat two, and peanut shells on the floor.

Charles Crehore – Remember CharBurger French fries? Yum!!

Denise Adams Shirley – I know Charlie, they were the only burgers that tasted char-broiled…NOT like Burger King, huh?

Brenda Jo Robyn – CharBurger drive-thru on my bike!

Maggie McDonoughAnybody remember ‘Mi Casita’? In the block that doesn’t exist anymore…I remember a munchies buzz there…laughing hysterically with an unforgettable best friend, Alice Stocker,and almost getting kicked out…I’m smiling now from that memory…

Charles CrehoreWe used to make food sculptures and turn water glasses upside down at Clayton’s and they would just laugh.

Mark Washabaugh — Mulvaney’s for prime rib. Marco’s for pizza. Cruising to IB to eat at Oscar’s, and of course, McDonald’s.

Old color photo postcard from c.1950, shows interior view of La Avenida Cafe with the 1938 El Dia del Mercado mural by Ramos Martinez

Lory Frank Farrior – How inviting! What is there now?

Michael Kelly — Some three-story monstrosity with multiple restaurants and shops. The murals were purchased by a Japanese company in the early 90s and stored for years until the new Coronado Library got a hold of them and displayed them. They did a GREAT job! How many “Jack Salads” did I toss there? All of us that worked there lived off Jack Salad! nom nom ~ Still know the recipe….neener neener neener! I loved working there so much!!!

Teddi Setterlund – La Avenida!

Helen Nichols Murphy – My mom worked there for years and loved it! The Jack Salads were the best!

Denise Adams Shirley — La Avenida was the BEST!

And now for the famous recipe for Jack’s Salad!  Thanks, Michael

Michael Kelly – 1 egg first, then juice from one lemon, beat thoroughly in bowl, 2 caps of Worcestershire sauce. The secret is to add garlic to your oil days in advance to infuse the oil. I think it was a 1 cup ladle we used. Then we sent the Romano cheese through an old meat grinder, so it came out round, thick, and coarse (NOT PARMESAN) about a cup. The croutons were homemade along with the garlic oil. Salt and fresh COARSE ground pepper to taste. The Romaine must be thoroughly washed and dried or the oil will not stick. No anchovy paste was ever added. They served it with chicken or cold jumbo shrimp too. I do it by “eye”, so I will make a batch and “measure”.


Elizabeth Betsy Johnson Richie — La Avenida for many things…primarily Jack’s salad, and Mexican Village for Mexican Pizza (and their salad ROCKED too). Before I was old enough to go out on my own…La Avenida for hot chocolate and fresh cinnamon rolls after mass on Sunday with my Dad.

Barbara Gatzert – Oh, the best hot chocolate…Memories of my Dad taking me, I believe the name of the restaurant was La Avenida…Oh I had to get up so early at 6 LOL…I love you Dad…

Kimberley Graham — I remember going as young girls to Anderson’s Bakery & eating donuts hot out of the fryer in the darkness of the night. It was the yummiest of the yummiest. I also remember putting down a half dozen glazed donuts on Saturday mornings as a ritual. At that time, no one thought it was bad for you. It was just yummy.

Suzi Lewis – I still think they were the best doughnuts in the world. Remember the holes?

Maureen Rutherford Nieland — I have always said that  it was Anderson’s Bakery that kept me from getting my stomach pumped. There were a few kids that had to go to the hospital to get their stomachs pumped after eating lunch at a drive through (or drive up) that used to be next door to the “Night and Day” Cafe. I was the only one that went to Anderson’s for my usual Lime sherbet cone dipped in chocolate sprinkles…I think the lime sherbet did it…That was my favorite there…

Michael Kelly — I was the one up at 5:00 in the morning “injecting” the Jelly- Filled Donuts (as a kid I ALWAYS wondered how they did that), dipping them in chocolate and nuts, putting them in those gold trays, and displaying them before the door’s opened. I was the “Donut Dresser”. Lol! I think my FAV donut was Bud’s Buttermilk Bars! Nothing compares to this day!

Aleene Queene — Yes, Michael, Bud’s Buttermilk Bars!! None anywhere compare!!

Michael Kelly — They were dark and crispy on the outside but super soft on the inside and must of weighed a pound a piece…They were amazing!

Denise Adams Shirley – I can just smell it…mmmmm!

Helen Nichols Murphy — I miss Anderson’s Bakery! Wish it was still here along with Marco’s & Coromart, LOL!

Chuck McIntyre — Helen…I too missed it on a trip back home. I walked in and looked through all the cases and nothing seemed to be very appealing. The “Anderson’s charm” was gone for good for me. Anderson’s pastries were so yummy. To this day, their Bear Claws are still the benchmark by which I judge all others by. I almost forgot I had a job there for a few years. Bud and Clare were great to work for.

Katy Tahja — Their Christmas goodies were awesome…Kathy Alban

Michael Kelly — Wow….this hit me hard. Bud was the nicest, kindest man I have ever met. He was in the bakery almost daily and was renowned for his Pfeffernüsse cookies at Christmas and Buttermilk Bar recipe. I have NEVER tasted anything in comparison to date. There is a picture of Cheryle in my album here. Darn it…here come the waterworks…

Andy Niemyer — I never had “mass-produced” bread until I moved away from Coronado for college. We always got sliced bread from Anderson’s. Gosh I miss that stuff. Ever so often, as a “treat” we’d get some of the pastries, too.

Michael Kelly — That bread slicing machine at Andersons first scared the crap outta me. “Would you like your bread sliced thin or regular?”

Lala Chappell — ‎”And would you like it with or without fingers?”

Michael Kelly — Lala….You had to step on a gas pedal thingy and feed the bread from behind the blades, then push it as close as you could with your hands. CRAZEE! I think that machine had to have been acquired by Bud! It was old…

Paul Fournier — I’ll always remember the coffee cups on the pegs on the wall and the smell of everything baking right when you walked in. I walk into bakeries and think,”not as good as Anderson’s.”

Michael Kelly — Paul…That was the “Coronado Coffee Club”! You either brought in your favorite coffee cup from home and placed it on a peg OR Anderson’s would sell you a plain white coffee cup and paint your name on it. There was a little sink in the corner toward the cake display. After your morning coffee, you would rinse out your cup, and place it back on your peg. Great memory!

Mike Atencio — Absolutely. They always smelled good too. I would stop and enjoy the smells on Saturday mornings just waiting for them to open the place up. I didn’t mind waiting outside before they opened or in line inside. It was worth it.

Tina Shoys — That was the BEST bakery! I’d forgotten about it.


 Lynne Harpst Koen began this thread:  How about – “WHAT FAMOUS PEOPLE DID YOU SEE/MEET?” Growing up here in Coronado?

Lory Frank Farrior — Susan Dey from the Partridge Family. Literally bumped into her at the Del. Saw George C. Scott at a private showing for the Greek Tycoon. Cathy Coleman was with me. First night I got tipsy.

Janet Brooks GreeneI ran into Dick Van Dyke…literally…running in the front door of Coro-Mart! All I remember is saying “sorry” then looking WAY up into his face…It was a WOW moment for this kid!!

Brenda Beth Allison — When I worked at the Hotel del, I heard stories about Orville, and they were not very flattering. They called him a “prude”.

Ted Nulty — He would rub two quarters in my face if I got there after 4:30 and say “If you would have gotten here sooner this could have been yours!” I got out of X-country practice and started my shift at 4:00. Had to dash to the Shores to try and make it on time during rush hour. I had ladies tip me $2-$5 dollars for a delivery and they would say “Thank you”. Orville never did. Won’t buy his Pop-corn to this day.

Joe Hewitt — Yeah I meet Orville outside of La Perla one day on the side lawn area. I guess he was doing a commercial or something, and he lost the tiny foam piece that goes over a lapel microphone he was wearing. It fell in the grass!! He asked me to help them look for it, and after about an hour of searching for it, we couldn’t find it…I asked him didn’t he have extras and he said yes! But he didn’t want to waste 15 cents!! Hahaha! That was when I realized the man was pretty tight with the cash! LOL

Carrie Woodruff — Got to interview Orville for journalism class and met John Travolta in Pizza Galore and got to walk with him up Orange Avenue! Such a nice guy.

Ted Nulty — Orville was an ASS!!! Hated that man with a passion. He was so rude to me and the other kids that worked at Coronado Pharmacy as delivery drivers!!

Laurie Hunt Puglia — I guess I got him on one of his good days. He was very nice to me and gave me a jar of his popcorn. I love his popcorn especially the Homestyle…I am going to go pop some now.

Carrie Woodruff Just goes to show you, treat people as you want to be remembered when you’re gone.

Robin Summitt Hunt — He was rude. He came to my teller window at BofA…glad it was a quick transaction.

Marnie Constance — He came into KFC often when I worked there, and we all hated him. He was so rude!

Michael Kelly — Orville lived in La Perla with his female “partner” Pat. I had met both he and Pat when he was still alive and have been in their home. Pat gave me a KPBS tape on “The Mansion” on Ocean Blvd that I still have.

Paul BerryMy dad held me on his shoulders to see Marilyn Monroe when she was filming “Some Like It Hot” at the Hotel Del.

Rob SquiresPeter O’Toole, David Janssen, and Orville Redenbacher.

Jeffrey Donn Hansen Sr. — I interviewed Eric Estrada at the Del for Mrs. Wright’s Journalism class. He was there to crown the queen of the ball.

Mark Washabaugh — I stood next to Steve Martin at the Del’s tennis shop and didn’t even know it.

Maureen Rutherford Nieland — Watched “Some Like it Hot” being made and got Jack Lemmon’s autograph — lost it years ago. Loved watching them all. Of course, Marilyn Monroe & Jerry Lewis got a rap for being pretty rude on their visits to Coronado. Johnny Downs, of course. I met many more working in Vegas for 38 years. Oh yes, almost forgot one of my favorites in Coronado, was seeing Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and Trigger in the 4th of July Parade long before the bridge came in. They had to come all the way around the strand or by the ferry. I can’t remember which way they came, but guarantee it wasn’t easy. Trigger had all the heavy silver they put on him too.

Wendy Pullin – Not a one.

Wendy Sanger McGuire — Remember when Fred MacMurray was here to film “The Chadwick Family” and the Islander Marching band made a bundle of money from appearing in the final scene?

Mary Lou Staight — This is what I remember about the movie, The Chadwicks:
1) Fred MacMurray and the rest of the cast were all familiar ’60s – 70s TV faces, not to mention Disney (nod to the Village Theater). I went through each actor’s list of work, and most of them were in family-oriented sitcoms at this point. In other words, we knew who they were because they came into our living rooms regularly.
2) If the TV Movie got good ratings, it might have been turned into a regular series. Obviously, it wasn’t. I am giggling because in my opinion – it stunk.
There are four reviews on the site (I am a regular on Imdb). The reviewers were all about twelve years old when they saw the show, and they all LOVED it…and cried. The bar for twelve-year-old movie critics isn’t very high. It was an uninteresting, boring drama. Hollywood had not yet entered the world of “Dallas” and “Dynasty”, so they hadn’t particularly got it right.
3)Filming in Coronado! And, the day WE got to be in a movie! The band and drill team were in their marching uniforms. The drill team stood for hours in front of my house. I lived in that white house next to the Sacred Heart playground. 7th and C was a very important corner for standing and waiting for your queue. I guess Fred MacMurray was nice and signed autographs. He had to play bagpipes and walk in front (or back???) of a small plane. The town was throwing him some kind of parade in his honor??? This all had to do with someone dying in his family, and he was somehow a hero. I can’t find or remember the actual story. I do remember a scene of the inside of a hospital and everyone was crying. It started out as this happy family and then the whole movie was about all of the terrible things that were happening to them. It was just depressing. The two things I remember most: The entire band/drill team scene was during the ending credits – WHAT! The town people were the “parade watchers” — something Coronado people were BORN to play!!! And, they were barely shown. Now, here’s the sin of ALL sins. Before the parade scene, Fred MacMurray’s cab is driving across the bridge away from Coronado. He decides right there and then, he CAN’T leave his beloved Coronado! Right in the middle of the bridge (the very top) he tells the driver to “TURN AROUND”…ON THE BRIDGE!!! YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!! Now, if you don’t understand how this could happen — you are officially “New”! Of course all of us who know better – it was when those little plastic separator posts were in use. I can’t even imagine that now.

Scott Young — Met and got her autograph – Pamela Anderson about 8 years ago on the U.S. Ronald Reagan while it was ported at North Island. I’ll never forget, she gave me some words of wisdom to live by, she said, “my eyes are up here.”

Kimberley Graham — Partied with Robin Williams once. He was crazy & frantic like he is on talk shows. Followed me into the girls’ restroom. I had to tell him to skedaddle.

Suzi Lewis — He was best buds with one of my former housemates here. They went to high school together, and their families played tennis together. She said he was like that even before the coke. Drove people crazy.

Teddi SetterlundBeau & Jeff Bridges, Mohammed Ali. I worked in the sales office at the Del, and my dad was Del security, & I was lucky enough to meet and see many. A couple of the men were so handsome I was struck dumb. HAHAHAHA. Not to brag but I worked the hat check stand the night President Nixon met with the President of Mexico. There were a lot of hot shots there. John Wayne turned me down for an autograph & I tried on Nancy Reagan’s chinchilla coat. Great fun that nite.

Denise Adams ShirleyI am SO dissappointed in John Wayne…I bet Nancy Reagan was really a nice person!

Suzi LewisNo one, but my grandmom got me Lloyd Bridges’ autograph, and at the time, I wanted to be on Sea Hunt.

Kimberley GrahamMet Lloyd Bridges as well. He was a very nice man. I wanted to be a sea huntress too. Especially, playing with the dolphins!

Mary PruterI waited on Bonnie Franklin from One Day at a Time at Mulvaney’s. Also one of the main actors from Knots Landing!

Marci RoseMy grandmother played bridge with Jim Morrison’s parents! I saw Steven Tyler at Viva Nova. And of course Scout Wieland from Stone Temple Pilots lived in Coronado for years.

Kimberley Graham – When I worked at Le Meridien here in Coronado, we had many, many stars stay there. Just to name a few that I waited on & got to know included Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Valerie Bertinelli, Dan Akroyd, Wolf Blitzer & the CNN crew, Martin Sheen, Billy Joel, Larry King, etc. But by far, my favorite evening was when I was working in La Provence, the cocktail lounge. It was midnight & the only people in the lounge were Peter, the bartender, & I. The next thing we know is Steven Tyler & the entire band, Aerosmith, descended upon us with a few groupies after their concert. We entertained them & them us until 4 in the morning. I heard many an interesting story that evening. A definite never-forget time.

Robin Summitt Hunt — Orville Redenbacher, Dick Van Dyke, Robby Benson, George Gobel, darn-my mind just went blank–had lunch with the gentleman that played Marcus Welby M.D. — also quite a few more…made life interesting.

Denise Adams Shirley – Robert Young.

Robin Summitt Hunt Thank you…that was driving me nuts. Thanks Denise.

Sarah DawDick Van Dyke and The Who, Jimmy Carter.

Mark Washabaugh — Orville Redenbacher, Dick Van Dyke, Diane Carroll (she played a nurse named Julia), Steve Linde…

Steven Linde – Mark, thanks for the shout out! Lol…

Suzi LewisSomeone mentioned Robin Williams. He owns property up here in Sonoma, and I used to run into him at Fiesta Market. We have other celebs who own property up here, but either I never see them or am so blind I wouldn’t recognize them from the meter man/woman.

Armand DeCesare Jr. – I worked the front desk and later as a doorman at the Meridien.  I personally checked in Robin Williams, George Thorogood, the B52s, General Colin Powell (although he never came to the lobby), Lou Reed, Van Halen, Paul Weller, Lars Ulrich, and countless others. I worked there from 1991-1998. Oh, VADM Stockdale came in for lunch about once a month. Very nice man.

Kerry ProchaskaI was working at Central Drug Store at the time, and I remember Peter O’Toole coming in to buy something or pick up a prescription.

Kimberley GrahamJay Ruedi’s mother married an actor named Jim Hess who was in the Stuntman.

Mike Gaffrey — My sister was an extra in The Stuntman and had a couple close ups. We watched them film at the Del as well as the Children’s Pool in La Jolla.

Kimberley Graham – The Hotel Del Coronado used to host celebrity tennis tournaments. As kids, we used to run around and meet all kinds of stars. I don’t remember who I was with:  But we met Lloyd Bridges, Kurt Douglas, Kim Novak, Jerry Lewis, etc. at the Del.  My parents used to play tennis with Charlton Heston & the father from The Addam’s Family, John Gomez.  When I lived in Leucadia, I had my grand prize of partying with George Harrison, but also met people at celebrity tennis tournaments at La Costa down the street from my house like Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson, Michael Landon (“I Love Milk”), Clint Eastwood, all of the Monkees, Shaft (John Shaft), etc.  Life has been big & fun thanks to my roots in Coronado!

Robin Summitt Hunt — There was a film with Robby Benson (a lot of the girls at the front desk were fighting over who would get to check him in…also one with Susan Sarandon….us pbx operators sometimes answered ‘delmonico lodge’…That’s what they named the Del for their movie…also Ghost Story with Sebastian Cabot. I’ll have to check with Nancy, she was at the del longer than I was.

Gerald Washabaugh — Steve Martin, Sean Penn, Madonna, who were registered as Annodam at the Del, yelled at me for asking for an autograph for my niece, who was four at the time. Penn was cool and gave one. I interviewed the stars of Hart to Hart and Simon and Simon for school newspaper. Too many to name since I worked at the Del, most were cool some were plain asses. I was so happy when the Del kicked Madonna out and said she could never stay there again. Got in trouble trying to meet President Carter. The list could go on. I just remember one thing about stars that keeps me from getting star struck. They really are the same as us. Oh, was supposed to interview the Who, but when I showed up, I cannot remember her name, came walking out of Roger Daltry’s room half dressed and hair messed up. He said sorry and sent me on my way. He was too tired to do the interview.

Joey Harris – Elvira! I saw her arriving to pick up her child at Camp Marsten when I was about ten! I had a serious “schwing” moment!

Posted in Coronado Culture, Current Issue, Spring 2012 Issue | 1 Comment



Welcome to HealthcareInMotion (“HIM”)
Healthcare In Motion, Inc. was created out of the vision to create a circle of trust between patients, physicians and health care facilities. Th goal and passion is to keep people at home with mobile medicine (via MD4Me), by bringing all medical services available to patients if they desire. And if the time comes that this option is not available then Healthcare In Motion will coordinate all patient care, “holding patient’s hands as they walk through the doors of a hospital or nursing home” to ensure their comfort and safety for the rest of their lives.
“Healthcare In Motion’s ultimate goal is to eliminate patients getting lost in the health care system.” That is why we have created a network circle (our circle of trusted) doctors, home care services, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and pallative care providers.
This network circle allows Healthcare in Motion to refer, schedule, coordinate, and monitor a patients’ care for their family, their primary physician or the facility that the patient was seen or lives in. This system ensures quality care to the patient and guarantees to a physician and/or facility that their patient will return to them after receiving the proper treatment by a referred provider.
Choosing to network/partner with Healthcare In Motion is a win/win for all parties involved: it decreases costs on the health care system, it allows doctors to always be informed about their patients and patients to know that they will be referred to trusted and reputable physcians and health care providers.
Healthcare In Motion eliminates patients
getting lost in the health care system!



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A Look Back at the Great Bands, Musicians, and Times of Coronado Island 
As Compiled by Dean Atkinson:

“One of the great things about Coronado, California was the music scene during the 50s, 60s, 70s, and on. Great musicians developed through the Coronado school music programs, through private lessons, or learning to play by ear and jamming with friends.

Some really great talents developed at an early age. We were all aspiring to grow our talents, develop our skills, and experiment with new sounds that we heard on the radio, or someone found in the record bin at Perkins Book Worm. There was nothing better then getting a new record and
working on how to play it, or catching one of the other bands in Coronado at a party or function that already had figured it out, and was playing it.

There was at times a bit of competitiveness between players and bands, but it was more a sense of community of musicians, learning, growing, playing, and having fun. Camaraderie was built between the bands as bands were formed and evolved over time. Many friendships from these bands have been lifelong relationships.” – Dean Atkinson

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Original Members:

Robert Mansueto: lead guitar, vocals   John Chambers: keyboards, vocals
  Dean Atkinson: drums, vocals   Richie Heinz: bass guitar, vocals

The Cubic Feet stayed together for five months. Dean dropped out after a car accident in Nov ’66 that left him in a cast for six months. Richie, Robert, and John renamed the Band ‘The Towne Cryers’ and added Eric MacKnight on drums and Danny Orlino on guitar. After Eric left, Charlie Wilhoit joined. The Town Criers would merge with the Bachs, (Art Battson, Gary Maltby) to form the West Coast Iron Works. Charlie went to the Family Jewels with Dave Young and David Matsouwaka.

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BACHS & NULL SET- (1960s)

Original Members: Bruce Christensen: rhythm guitar, vocals
Doug Christensen: lead guitar, vocals
  Gerry Rahill: bass, vocals
  Art Battson: drums, vocals

From Art Battson: “The first group I helped form was ‘The Null Set’ with Bruce and Doug Christensen in 1965. Dad had just brought home a set of Pearl drums from Japan in June of 1965, so I spent the summer banging on them pretending I was Ringo. In the fall of ’65, Bruce was doing some bitchen air guitar work in Mr. Burgess’s English class, so we got to talking. Then we got to playing (an instrumental version of “We Can Work It Out”) and finally to singing (“Surfer Bird” – assuming you can call that singing). We were so bad that I was actually the lead singer for what seemed like years (it was actually months, but the neighbors still swear it was years). Bruce Christensen was a great rhythm guitarist and Doug managed a good lead guitar. Bruce was also excellent on backup harmonies. Gary Maltby joined us in late 1965 or early 1966. Gerry Rahill later joined us on bass although I’m not sure we ever played in the same key together. (Gerry re-emerged as part of the Pre-Fab Four for our 40th Reunion Tour down Orange Avenue in 2006.) I have some video of the Bachs if you are interested. The Bachs were literally the new packaging container for the Null Set. Back in those days we had to continually change our name to get another gig.

By the time of summer of 1966, Bruce and Doug left the band and were replaced with Robert Mansueto and Richie Heinz. That’s when we became the West Coast Iron Works. By this time, I was delegated to singing Ringo songs and told to come up with a name for the group while they plotted to have me learn some Pete Best tunes. (OK. I made that last part up.) Actually, I was the one who found the name West Coast Iron Works in the GTE White Pages. This was no small task since I started with A’s and worked down to the end of the alphabet. Had I not been so patient we might have been called Art’s Auto Supply. (I toyed with the idea of changing Gary’s name and calling ourselves Rusty and the Iron Works, but it never worked out.) The West Coast Iron Works just seemed perfect for the time and place.” (Art and Gary were original members of the West Coast Iron Works.)

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Original Members:   Cliff Lenz: keyboards, lead guitar
Rick Thomas: lead guitar 
  Doug Johnson: bass 
  Pat Coleman: drums

“The Centaurs” by Cliff Lenz: Funny how a love affair with rock and roll and a seven year odyssey of performing, recording, road trips, and opening for some of the biggest names in rock can begin with just a casual meeting between two high school kids. In the fall of 1962, a classmate and friend of mine at Coronado High, Doug Johnson, said there was a new student named Rick Thomas who played electric guitar and that we should meet. I had a Les Paul Jr. and a breadbox size amp and thought that two guys could sound a lot more like the Ventures than just one guy. So I called Rick and we got together at Doug’s house with our guitars for a jam session. Miracle of miracles, we could actually play something together that didn’t sound half bad, the Venture’s tune “The McCoy”,  E, A, and B7th and lots of open string melody notes, but what the hell it was a start and it was a thrill. I’m sure that it’s a thrill for all young musicians who, never having played with someone else, experience for the first time what collaborative music making can be.

We started practicing on a weekly basis putting a repertoire together. Pat Coleman became our first drummer and we enlisted Doug Johnson to play bass. Having no prior musical experience, it was a little too much for Doug and he politely resigned from the band after a few weeks. Not long thereafter the (now) trio was asked about playing for an after-football game dance. Assistant Principal, Mr. Oliver, wanted to make an announcement over the school PA that a band would be performing but we didn’t have a name. He actually suggested we call ourselves Rick and the Shaws or Cliff and the Dwellers!We had been thinking about possible names. At the time, the Air Force had rolled out its new ballistic missile, the Atlas Centaur – That’s It! Call ourselves the Centaurs and every time they fire one of those babies off, we get free publicity. It was decision time in the principal’s office, and so the group was officially launched with Mr. Oliver’s announcement that the “Centaurs” would be playing that night. I think we had maybe fifteen tunes and played everyone of them three times, but we made it through the gig without a single tomato flying toward the stage. Another thrill and we were hooked.

The new venture would include the frequent addition and deletion of personnel. (This is not necessarily in chronological order).We added a girl singer, Clair Carlson, and saxophonist, Randy Chilton. Kenny Brown became our new drummer with the prettiest pearl Ludwig drum set in San Diego. Drew Gallahar (a guitarist and trumpet player in the CHS stage band) joined us on bass. I got a Fender Strat and Bandmaster amp. Not to be outdone, Rick got a Fender Jaguar and Showman 15 amp and a Fender reverb unit! We got the gig as the house band at what would become the legendary Downwind Club – the Junior Officer’s Club on North Island where we played for six years barely keeping our heads above the oceans of beer served every Sunday. A wonderful saxophonist from La Jolla, Bill Lamden, replaced Chilton. For a time, Janie Seiner was our vocalist. There were dances, concerts, and car shows all over San Diego, and we even played for a change-of-command party at North Island with more captains and admirals than you could count. A major thrill was recording a couple of surf tunes in the United Artists Studio in Hollywood, a session that was produced by Joe Saracino, who had been the producer of the Ventures. We also played on the Sunset Strip in the summer of ’66 in the same club where the Doors became famous.

Rick left the group late in ’66 and was replaced by Danny Orlino. The rest of us were now at San Diego State and Danny was still at CHS. He was a truly gifted player. Bob Demmon, longtime CHS band director and rock guitarist with the famous surf group, the Astronauts, once told me that Danny was maybe the finest guitarist he had ever known personally. I now doubled on guitar and organ. I think we were the first rock group in San Diego to use a cut down Hammond. The keyboards were in one box and the guts in another for portability. I also invested in a Leslie speaker, which really enhanced our sound.

From ’62 to ’67, the music had morphed from Pop to Surf to R&B to Psychedelic. We now had a new chick singer, Linda Morrison (she lived in San Diego), a great talent who became a real driving force with her powerful vocals. Not bad to look at either. She later became Miss San Diego. Steve Kilajanski took over on sax for awhile. We also now had an agency booking engagements for us, Allied Artists of San Diego, and we joined the musicians’ union. Kenny Brown became our manager giving way to several new drummers, all excellent players – Kenny Pernicano, Rick Cutler, the late Paul Bleifuss (formerly with the great S.D. band, the Impalas), Carl Spiron (who played with one of San Diego’s all time great groups, Sandi and the Accents/Classics), and later Terry Thomas.

With great reluctance in 1969, I left my last band (Bright Morning) and my long-time guitar buddy Danny Orlino to head north to go to graduate school at the University of Washington. Danny left San Diego and has been a famous guitarist and singer in Guam for many years. Kenny Brown converted his band manager skills and keen business sense into a successful real estate and property management career in the Los Angeles area. Bill Lamden became a dentist. Drew Gallahar still has his hands all over guitars but now he makes them. He’s a guitar builder at the Blue Guitar in Mission Valley. I had a 20-year career as a television producer and the host of “Seattle Today” on the NBC affiliate in Seattle, but I was also composing and performing music at the same time. Along the way I received an Emmy for composing the theme music for the Phil Donahue Show. I have returned to music as a guitar and piano teacher in the Seattle area. Sadly, Rick Thomas died of cancer in 2004 after a career as an electrical systems maintenance engineer. I visited him in Chico, CA a few months before he passed away. We got out the guitars and played and reminisced. A few months after he died, his parents sent me his guitar, which I will always treasure. It’s an uncommon Fender model called the Coronado.

Thanks to all those of you who listened and danced to our music over the years. It was a great party! (Cliff Lenz, co-founder/leader- the Centaurs)

“The Centaurs” by Ken Brown: The Centaurs rock ‘n’ roll band from Coronado during the 60s meant something special because “The Centaurs” were part of the 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution. I can remember an article in the Coronado Islander, our high school paper, which pictured the Centaurs success on par with the Beatles. They were riding high and so were we. When you are young, talented, and restless, the imagination becomes your reality. We were on top of the world, our world, and it was great fun for all who participated. We went from playing at Sea World to the Downwind Club to All Night High School Parties to our own Dance concerts. A highlight was the Centaurs opening for ‘The Doors’ at Balboa Stadium. The participants had their own special role for they too were part of the 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution.

I can safely say that I would not trade a moment of this musical bonanza for any other. We were living life at a fast pace with all the trimmings. Local people knew we were the Centaurs. We carried it wherever we went. We were young talented musicians (all in the local musicians’ union) who had set a new stage and pace for rock and roll. We had the 62 + 64 Chevy 327 Impalas, the Delorean, the Lotus ,and Hemi engines, and a bunch of other hot cars of the time. The Centaurs were sexy with strapping lads and foxy singers. If you were not in the ‘mood’ before our event inevitably you left in the ‘mood’. And that’s my point.

During our 25th Centaur Reunion at the Coronado Women’s Club, we had an array of people, some family, others were supporters with their special memories of what “The Centaurs” did for them. We brought the new 60s sound to Coronado and all its surroundings. We opened the musical doors for our generation. We may have never competed with the Beatles, but we sure promoted their music, along with the Rolling Stones, and a whole lot more Legendary Rock Bands of our time. Can’t have much more fun than that because “We lived the Dream”. (Ken Brown, Drummer and Business Manager of “The Centaurs” and “Framework” from Coronado)

After publishing we received this great comment from Cliff Lenz, original member of The Centaurs:

Thanks for putting the Centaurs in the Rock ‘n’ Roll issue of the Coronado Clarion. (And first up no less!) A side note to the article I thought you’d be interested in- my father was a navy officer- graduated in the same class as Admiral Stephen Morrison from the Naval Academy (class of ’41). They were life long friends and ended up retiring together in Coronado. When I found out that he was the father of Jim….I was excited about the opportunity to ask him about his superstar son. However, my mother warned me to never bring the subject up with his parents as he was persona non grata within the family. The picture of the Admiral in the Academy ’41 Yearbook looks like Jim with a flat-top!

Another sidebar- We opened for the Doors in the old Balboa Stadium in July ’68. Amazing concert- 25,000 stoned/screaming fans. Years later Oliver Stone comes out with “The Doors” with Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison. My stock went up with my two sons when I told them that their dad’s band opened for a Doors concert in San Diego. A few years later my son, at the University of Oregon, told me that he was walking to class with a girl friend and the movie came up in the conversation.
Trying to impress her he reported that his dad had a band that opened for the Doors at a big stadium concert. She said: “Cool, My dad was actually in the Doors!” Turns out she (believe her first name was Kelly) was the daughter of drummer John Densmore!
As they say- small world.
Thanks again for the inclusion of my old band in your magazine- I dearly miss those days……… Coronado and the music of the ’60’s.

Cliff Lenz


Posted in Clarion Rock, Current Issue | 9 Comments


Original Members: Gary Maltby: lead vocals
Robert Mansueto: lead guitar
Gary Carter: guitar
Rich Heinz: bass
  Art Battson: drums
Later Members: John Chambers: keyboards
Charlie Wilhoit: drums
Dave Vaughan: drums



As any generation will attest, music plays an integral part in the make-up of their youth. In the early 1960s, when the British invasion swept our shores, a new era of rock ‘n’ roll emerged. With the birth of this new music, a group of five young men from Coronado, California got together to form a rock ‘n’ roll band. It was June 1967, three weeks before graduation, when Gary Carter was sitting in his car listening to the radio. Grooving to the tunes, he heard a tap at his window. Standing there was his good friend, Gary Maltby. Gary asked him if he would like to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Carter thought for a moment, had visions of fame, women chasing him, and the opportunity to play music; and without hesitation, Carter said, “I’m in.” The first practice was held at Artie Battson’s (class of ‘66) parents’ garage. The band at that time consisted of Richie Heinz (class of ‘69), Gary Carter (class of ’67), Gary Maltby (class of ‘69) and for a short time Dugan Richardson, who was replaced later by Bob Mansueto (class of ‘70).

Practicing every day after school, the group began brainstorming on a name. With less than inspirational ideas i.e., Gary and the Playboys, Artie Battson picked up the phonebook. Thumbing through the yellow pages, he stumbled across a business called the West Coast Ironworks and with only X, Y, and Z left the Xylophonics wouldn’t do and neither would the Yellow Zebras. With heavy rock metal becoming popular i.e., Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Steppenwolf, why not the West Coast Ironworks? The band now had a name, members, and songs; and they were eager to play. Over the months, the band members changed when Artie Battson had to return to college at UCSB. Fortunately, for the West Coast Ironworks they found a drummer to replace Artie named Charlie Wilhoit (class of ‘68). During this time, they acquired a keyboard player named John Chambers (class of ‘68 from Chula Vista) since the band John was playing in, the Rubber Band, split up.

The West Coast Ironworks entered the Battle of the Bands contest and won

The band went through another change with a drummer when Charlie got married. Dave Vaughan (class of ‘67) became the third drummer for the West Coast Ironworks. The band was very popular during this time playing for many school dances and private functions. In 1967, the West Coast Ironworks organized and played in the first annual “Be There” concert, which was held at the old city dump in Coronado. This area was formerly Rancho Carrillo, the pig farm. Now this area is the Coronado Cays. Teens from all over San Diego crammed into their cars for a night of dancing and drinking. The final and fourth annual “Be There” was in the summer of 1970. Organized by Carter, it was held at the old reservation, which is right next to the Amphib Base, and now the sight of the park and boat landing. Unfortunately, the West Coast Ironworks did not play at this event.

When I interviewed the West Coast Ironworks, I asked them, “What funny things happened when you were together?” Heinz, recalled the time the group played for a nudist colony, a.k.a. American Sunbathers Association. They were greeted at the venue by a group of overweight, dark-tanned, naked adults, and were directed to the staging area. By the time the band was ending their last set, the nudists announced that it was time for the band to take off their clothes and swim. Gary Maltby quickly announced that there would be one more song,”We Gotta Get Out of These Clothes, I Mean Place”; and when the song was done, the band were down to their boxers except for Heinz who wore a pair of briefs with a lovingly hand-stitched peace symbol, by Cindy Grant, on them. Vaughan recalls the time the West Coast Ironworks, for the second time, entered the Battle of the Bands contest. We wanted to do something different and go against the flow. The band members all switched instruments and won the contest for the “Best Song”. This led to an appearance on a local television show. Dressed in their colorful Nehru shirts, they lip-synced their song on live television.

The West Coast Ironworks had dreams of playing music forever.They all agreed that they would get together once a year for the annual All Class Reunion that is held every year on the 4th of July in Coronado.They have gone their different ways and some live in different states, but the one common bond that brought them together, music, has never escaped them.

What have they been up to? Drummers: Artie Battson, retired as Director of Instructional Technology at UCSB, and is currently working on classroom design for the UC as well as producing online media for the Veritas Forum In 1978, he joined a group called Reverie.This band split up when three of the members went to join Mike Love (formerly of the Beach Boys) to form the band Endless Summer. In 1985, Artie played with a band called the Staff Infection until they split up in 2005.Charlie Wilhoit, his whereabouts are unknown. Dave Vaughan lives in Boise, Idaho and works in commercial real estate. He is in a rock ‘n’ roll band called the Fabulous Chancellors. When in town, he will play with the West Coast Ironworks. Guitarists: Gary Carter is the Dean of Arts and Humanities at Chabot College in Hayward, California. With his many arts-related disciplines, he oversees the Department of Music, where he is often asked by his students to jam with various college ensembles. He also is known to settle ongoing questions about 1960’s rock ‘n’ roll trivia. He continues to play with the West Coast Ironworks. Bob Mansueto is a San Diego dentist. He continues to play jazz and sits in with the West Coast Ironworks from time to time. Richie Heinz lives in Ocean Beach, California. He

Richie Heinz lives in Ocean Beach, California. He is a piano technician/tuner along with playing in a Celtic band He continues to play with the West Coast Ironworks. Keyboards: John Chambers lives in San Diego and has been playing rock ‘n’ roll all his life. After college, he did the urban cowboy thing and played country music. But 12 years ago, he became hooked to the accordion sound. It was only natural for him to pick up the squeeze box again as that was the first instrument he played when he was eight years old. He has formed the Bayou Brothers and they play all over town. He also continues to play with the West Coast Ironworks. Lead Singer: Gary Maltby lives in San Clemente and works for Lexus, Inc. He keeps his vocals tuned by being a regular at the Karaoke scene and occasionally sings with bands in the area. He still sings with the West Coast Ironworks.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Hope you can catch the original Iron Works at the All Class Reunion on July 3rd when we do a tribute to Sgt. Pepper and on the 4th of July when the Class of ’66 parades down Orange Avenue on the “America Rocks” float with the “Pre-Fab Four” doing American Pie and a medley of Buddy Holly/Richie Valens/Big Bopper tunes. Although there’s no guarantee that we’ll hit all the notes all the time, a splendid time is guaranteed for all. – Art Battson

CHS All Class Reunion

July 3, 2011 from 8pm to 11:30pm – Coronado Golf Course Clubhouse for graduates of Coronado High School and their friends, must be 21 years old to attend. Proceeds help support the Coronado Schools Foundation. Cost: $10 at the door


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Original Members: Steve Oder: guitar
Chuck Newby: guitar 
  Jim Smith: vocals
  Dean Atkinson: drums
Later Members: Jim Moran: rhythm guitar, vocals
Tom Moran: bass guitar, vocals
Robert Mansueto: lead guitar, vocals

The Coachmen Story

Like most of the bands that came out of Coronado, the Coachmen began as a group of guys jamming in someone’s garage just for the fun of it. The composition of the jam session players was always very fluid. But, of course, that was the whole idea – we each learned from one another whether it was a complete song or just a cool new riff, drum sequence, or chord pattern. The important thing was to have fun making rock ‘n’ roll music together!

But back to the Coachmen story. Steve Oder begins by recalling,“Chuck Newby and I were passing notes back and forth in a class one day in the late spring of 1966 and ended up writing a song together. So we thought it would be a good idea to start a band. I remember coming up with the name for the band in a conversation with Chuck, because like everybody, we wanted something British-sounding.That version of the Coachmen with Dean Atkinson on drums and Jim Smith on vocals did a gig at the VFW hall soon thereafter. I didn’t stay in the band long because I had a crappy electric guitar and no amplifier of my own. I did have a really good acoustic and was perfectly happy playing acoustic stuff already.”

Thinking back on those days, Chuck Newby continues, “I remember that in those days it seemed that just about everyone was into playing either rock ‘n’ roll or folk music, so jamming at someone’s house was a common occurrence. I remember playing my 1965 Harmony, a fairly good Stratocaster knock-off, through an assortment of Fender amplifiers – including a Bandmaster, Showman, and Bassman as well as others, I’m sure – until I was able to buy my own Super Reverb. Now that was a very sweet amplifier! Although the memories are faded, like Steve and Dean, I also remember playing at all of the usual places around the island that spring and summer including several pool parties, the VFW, the Women’s Club, and the Mexican Village. I recall quite vividly how Dean was always hustling gigs for us. And the price was always right – in many cases, just free beer between sets!”

Dean Atkinson adds, “I remember that it was Steve and Chuck’s idea to organize a new band named the Coachmen. They were the original guitar players with various bass players including Chuck Tesh and others filling in whenever we had a gig. (I had just left the Rogues.) I was the original drummer for the Coachmen and, as I recall, Jim Smith on vocals joined right after Steve Oder left. Jim Smith stayed only a short time and was replaced by Jim Moran on guitar and vocals and his younger brother, Tom, as one of our bass players. Tom left the band to join the London Beats in the early summer of ’66. So Chuck and I were the only members to stay ‘til the final gig at the Women’s Club dance in August of ‘66.”

Dean continues, “After one gig at the VFW, Steve quit because in his own words, his electric guitar was a piece of crap and because there were too many guitar players, and nobody on bass.The Coachmen, in various forms, played at EM clubs around San Diego for six months before calling it quits in August of ’66. Their final gig was the first half of a Women’s Club dance that they had booked in May.

Since Tom Moran had already left the band for the London Beats and Robert and I had just started the Cubic Feet with Richie Heinz and John Chambers, the remaining members of the Coachmen decided that they wanted to go out with a bang. So Jim, Robert, Chuck, and I, along with Richie on bass and John playing his ‘new’ Vox organ, played the first two hours of the Women’s Club dance – it was more like an organized jam session – then turned the stage over to the Cubic Feet who played out the rest of the night.

There isn’t much more to tell except to say that that is the true story of the Coachmen – a great group of Coronado guys who had a lot of fun playing rock ‘n’ roll music for their friends and anyone else who wanted to rock out to the music of the late ’60s.”

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BREWDOGS – (1987-1995)

Original Members: Dave Shoudy: guitar, vocals
Alex Agundez: guitar, vocals
  Lane Carter: bass, vocals
  Randy Seol: drums
Later Members: Chris Butterworth, drums, vocals
“Man Mountain” Mike Mangette: bass
Kevin Milner: bass

In 1986, new band ideas were planned by Dave Shoudy and Lane Carter. A phone call was made to old Tryax member, Alex Agundez, requesting his presence in the new group.The final member, Randy Seol (original member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock), was a weekly Reader find. Starting out slow, later, the Brewdogs turned up to 10 gigs per month.The Brewdogs gig’d heavily on the pub scene along with some of the larger venues: the Bacchanal, the Hop, Chillers, Sand Bar, the Grant Hotel. Brewdogs also performed at many benefits and special events: Special Olympics, Multiple Sclerosis Society, multiple weddings, and holiday parties. Coronado gigs included the Island Saloon, Mexican Village, McPs, and Hotel Del Coronado.

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Original Members: George Sanger: guitar
Paul Ephrom: bass
Ron Michelson: keyboards
David Sanger: drums

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by Alessandra Selgi-Harrigan

When he was 11 years old, David Sanger was in a band called Etcetera Rock Revival. By the time he was 13, the band went on tour for two months across the U.S. Etcetera Rock Revival’s other members included his older brother George, who was 16, and two 17-year-olds.They traveled in a van, performed at friends’ houses, stayed with family, friends, or campgrounds along the way.

The music hasn’t stopped for Sanger. Since 1986, he has played the drums for Asleep at the Wheel, a band that has won nine Grammy Awards.

Like his three siblings, Sanger chose his instrument in fourth grade, and still remembers the name of his drum instructor, Bruce Sharp.The Coronado-based Etcetera Rock Revival performed at pep rallies and high school dances.”We would’ve liked to play more but we weren’t playing popular music. We were playing oldies when people didn’t want to hear oldies,” he said. Sanger also played in the Coronado High School marching band and was recruited when he was in seventh grade. “Back in those days, the high school band was so small they recruited three from my junior class to fill up the ranks,” he recalled. At 14 years old, he left Coronado to attend a private school in Los Angeles and stayed there until he graduated from Occidental College with a degree in history. Throughout his high school and college years, he kept playing in a band with his brother George, who also lived in Los Angeles.

Playing the drums was something that came easy for Sanger. “I didn’t have to work on it very much. It was fun to do all the time,” he said. But Sanger didn’t think making a career out of playing music was a possibility. As a child, he remembers knowing only one person in Coronado that was a musician for a living and his job title was listed next to his name in the phonebook. “Now, kids literally grow up around professional musicians. It was an alien planet for me. I couldn’t imagine … I couldn’t think I could go and do it,” he said.

In 1984, Sanger, now 45, moved to Austin, Texas, considered the live music capital of the world, and started playing with W.C. Clark band. Two years later, he was the drummer for Asleep at the Wheel.

Asleep at the Wheel plays big band music from the ‘30s and ‘50s using the fiddle, steel guitar, and western instruments, and is known for reviving the genre. “It’s western swing. It’s cowboys playing jazz,” he said. The band has performed in Europe, Brazil, Japan, and still tours regularly in the U.S. The bread and butter of Asleep at the Wheel is reinterpreting older music. Last November, the band released four new records. Recently the band wrote a musical play on Bob Wills, who was the inspiration for the band, called, “A Ride with Bob”. Apart from working as a musician, Sanger owns Texas Music Roundup, a record and music distribution company.

The early Coronado influences have stayed with Sanger through the years. People like Joey Harris, Bruce Sharp, Rick Lee, and high school band director, Bob Demmon. played a role in shaping his musical career. “They were guys older than me that played music. These guys had a huge influence on me,” he said. Demmon was the first person that recorded Sanger’s music.

What did his parents, who were both physicians, think about his music career? Sanger recalls the moment when his dad thought it might be okay after all. It was when he was talking to a nurse and he told her his son was in a band called Asleep at the Wheel and she exclaimed, “I love that band!”

For more information on the band, visit:

Asleep at the Wheel, David Sanger on drums

David Sanger now

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Original Members: Nanson (Chops): drums (first band); Dave Kruger: baritone sax (first band); Gary Hawthorne: organ, guitar; Gary Cobbs: tenor sax; Pat Romero: alto Sax; Dale: guitar; Lee Barnes: guitar; J.W. Langham: bass; Buddy Brown: trumpet; Mike Fay: trumpet; Rene Martinez: trumpet; Leonard Snowden: vocals; Dave Johnson: vocals; Dorothy Williams: vocals; Little Eddie Gross: vocals;

Nanson “Chops” Hwa writes: “In junior and senior high, I was one of the founding members of a band called the “Nobles”. We started with two guitars and drums playing music at junior and senior high school dances (Ventures and Duane Eddie). With changes in popular music, we began playing other forms of rock, r&b, jazz, and old-time favorites. The Nobles quickly became one of the best bands in San Diego during the Sixties. In 1965, the Annual Auto Show held a Battle of the Bands at the Community Concourse in downtown San Diego. Seventy bands throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties participated. The Nobles took 1st place playing songs by the Supremes, and James Brown, and Ray Charles. Prizes consisted of cash awards, a trophy, and a sense of joy.”

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TRYAX (1981)

Original Members: Dave Shoudy: guitar, vocals
Alex Agundez: guitar, vocals
Bo West: bass, vocals
Marty Scott: drums

After CHS, the college era begins, and Dave Shoudy spots musical opportunities beyond Coronado’s surrounding moat. Free SD Reader ads come in handy for the starving student musician; and Shoudy joins Tryax. Tryax performed covers and originals at all kinds of parties, the Poway Mine Company, weddings, and other special events. And even won 1st in North County’s Battle of the Bands. Although the group never performed locally in Coronado, a four-cut-recording was distributed widely among Islanders (Brian Mealy says he still has his). Recorded at Circle Sound it was a first timer for all. It was also Shoudy’s first round as a paid performer.

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Original Members: Danny Orlino
Bill Lyons: guitar
Joey Simpson: lead vocals
Tuck Lyons: guitar
Tom Moran: bass
Later Members: Nick Garrett: lead guitar
Charlie Cates: lead guitar
Bobby Pickford: drums

The London Beats formed in February, 1966, about three years after Coronado and the rest of the U.S. were rocked by the British Invasion. Inspired by the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman’s Hermits, Them, and especially the Rolling Stones, the members of the band collectively decided to emulate the look as well as the sound. Upon seeing a photo of the band in a news clipping from an article in the Coronado Journal, the late Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio once contended that they didn’t look scruffy enough, a kind of confirmation that the London Beats had achieved the deliberately “packaged” look of British pop acts of the time.

The music was something else. Because the founding band members sought to emulate Rolling Stones’ aggressive, R&B driven sound, the London Beats weren’t as slick as they looked, opting instead for an imposing lead vocalist and the vibrant sound of not one or two but three guitars plus bass and drums. The band began when Joey Simpson, Bill and Tuck Lyons, and Tom Moran got together with Danny Orlino and Howie Clark.

Shortly after the formation, Bob Pickford replaced Howie on drums and Danny Orlino left to be replaced by Nick Garrett as lead guitar. The band achieved moderate success in playing the usual high school dances, pool parties, and car shows around Southern California. Nick Garrett was later replaced by Charlie Cates on lead guitar.

During the summer of 1967, Jay Traylor replaced Charlie Cates and Glen Stock replaced Bill Lyons and the name changed to the Louisiana Fish and Poultry. By the summer of 1968, college and the draft had become a preoccupation and the members went their own directions.

Bill Lyons became a building contractor in Coronado. Joey Simpson went on to become a painting contractor and astrologer. Jay Traylor continued playing and attended Berkley College of Music (only to later pursue a successful career in real estate). Bob Pickford continued playing and is now a college professor. Tom Moran went on to college and medical school before settling in Coronado as an MD. Charlie Cates left for the Navy and returned to San Diego for a medical career. Glen Stock finished college at UCSD and then took a job with the government, only to pass away at an early age. Tuck Lyons finished SDSU and took a job in law enforcement.

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Original Members: Jay Traylor: guitar
Glen Stock: guitar
Tip Tisdale: bass
Bob Pickford: drums

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Original Members: Dan Hervey: vocals, guitar
Ed Olmos: vocals, guitar
Dave Paseman: vocals, bass, sax
Bob Pickford: drums

From Ed Olmos: “Texas Chainsaw Band was a rockabilly cover band that played often at the Island Saloon (years before it was renovated), McPs, and hosted amateur nights at Krishna Mulvaney’s. We only played locally so we could get sh**faced drunk and not have to worry about getting home!”

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Original Members: Jim Hobbs: vocals
Bob Wilson: guitar
Doug Robinson: bass
Will Beecham (Beauchamp): drums
Bobby Pickford: drums

“Will Beauchamp’s contribution included the band name: I Don’t Know. The band gigged poolside for a few weeks at the Hotel Del and played its farewell performance at Bruce Johnson’s infamous summer of ’71 pool party. Then we pooled our money, bought an old school bus, and moved to Northern California, a great story, too good not to tell (later)”–Bob Pickford

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Joey Harris began his musical career in the late 70s playing lead guitar for proto-Americana songwriter John Stewart. In 1983, MCA records released Joey Harris and the Speedsters, which showcased Harris’ skill as songwriter, vocalist, and guitar virtuoso. In January 1985, Joey joined the Beat Farmers, perpetually touring the United States and Canada, and visiting England, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. Harris wrote, sang, and played on five Beat Farmer LPs released by Curb/MCA, and indie label, Sector 2. Joey also toured and recorded with Country Dick Montana, Dave Alvin, and Mojo Nixon as a member of their Las Vegas-style review band, the Pleasure Barons, releasing a live CD on Hightone Records in 1993. Harris was on hand when Montana recorded another project featuring Mojo, Rosie Flores, Katy Moffett, John Doe, Candye Kane, Dave Gonzales, and Dave Alvin titled the “Devil Lied to Me” posthumously released by Bar/None in 1996. Country Dick Montana died onstage at the Longbranch Saloon in Whistler, British Columbia, November 11th, 1995. The Beat Farmers soon disbanded and Joey toured with his own band, worked with songwriter Paul Kamanski, (author of several Beat Farmer tunes), and Mojo Nixon. Harris joined forces with Beat Farmer Jerry Raney and his band Powerthud and released a CD in 2002 called “Wide”. In June 2009, a new CD titled “Joey Harris and the Mentals” was released by San Diego-based, Double Barrel Records. The CD, with ten tracks written by Harris, features Joey on vocals and guitar, backed by San Diego musicians, Mighty Joe Longa, Jeff and Joel Kmak, and Josh Mader. Recorded and produced by Mississippi Mudshark, Scottie Mad Dog Blinn, the new CD is the first solo project for Harris since 1983’s “Joey Harris and the Speedsters”.

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FINGERS – (1978-1980)

Original Members: Joey Harris: lead guitar, vocals
Paul Kamanski: guitar, vocals
Bill Thompson: guitar, vocals
Paul “Vic” Vicena: bass
Chris Sams: drums

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ELECTRIC SONS – (1984-1985)

Original Members: Joey Harris: guitar, vocals
Paul Kamanski: guitar, vocals
  Paul “Vic” Vicena: bass 
  Frank “Hoop” Hailey: drums
Dave Fobes: Sax

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Original Members: Joey Harris: lead guitar, vocals
  Lee Knight: bass
Bruce Donnelly: keyboards 
  Mark Spriggs: drums

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Members: Joey Harris: guitar, vocals
Jeff Kmak: bass
Mighty Joe Longa: organ, piano
Josh Mader: drums

Arguably one of the finest singers, guitar pickers, and songwriters to come out of Southern California, Joey Harris is undoubtably San Diego music royalty. His latest CD, “Joey Harris and the Mentals”, is a gem that has taken him into the next phase of an already long and successful career. This is Joey’s first solo CD since his legendary days in the Beat Farmers and is a perfect example of someone at the top of their game. The ten-song CD is Joey at his best, both irreverent and introspective, and simply put…Rockin’! Backed by his outstanding band, the Mentals, Joey tears through the CD like a man on a mission. Songs like “Little Boy”, “Brother Of The Grape”, and “I Haven’t Been Cryin’” show off Joey’s blues chops, and “Don‘t Go”, “Get Out Of My Way”, and “She’s On The Pill” will rock your face off with huge vocals and guitar tones. “Apologies To R. Newman” gets the funk out, while “Baby You’re A Star”, “Don‘t Seem Like Love”, and “Miguelita” show a mature side to Joey’s writing. Adding to the main ingredients of vocal, guitar, drum, bass, piano, and Hammond B3, Joey has peppered the CD with killer harmonies, percussion, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and an angelic choir of angels. “Having been a huge fan of Joey’s (and the Beat Farmers) since the age of 16, it has been an honor co-producing this CD with him. The drive, focus, and fun he injected into every cut were truly inspirational. From the blistering guitar volumes, beers, smokes, and laughs, I’m just now regaining feeling to the right side of my face!”
~~Scottie “Mad Dog” Blinn/ Double Barrel Records

Quoting Joey himself: “I’m a local Coronado boy. My family are all musical — my mother, Jane Meade, sisters, brothers, and my Uncle Nick Reynolds of Kingston Trio fame.” Joey Harris has added to the family tradition in a very successful way and he continues to make the whole town proud with his musical prowess. Thanks Joey for years of great Coronado Rock!

You can find more information on Joey Harris & the Mentals at

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Original Members: Joey Harris: guitar, vocals
Paul Kamanski: guitar
Caren Campbell-Kamanski: vocals

SPECIAL NOTE: ROCK TRIO (Joey, Paul & Caren Kamanski) will be performing at McP’s Irish Pub once a month starting May 29th on the patio from 4 to 7 p.m.

For more information and entertainment on these featured bands as well as other great bands of Coronado’s Past, Present, and Future, visit Dean Atkinson’s website at:

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Members: Eric Castellanos: Vocals
Keniff Mors: Bass
Tito Valentino: Guitar
Austin Graham: Guitar
Joshua Charfauros: Drums

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MUSIC HIGH is not just another high school musical. In the treatment, the story centers on a high school campus in the San Diego Unified School District which nobody wants to work at let alone attend. A teacher, who has recently ended up joining the faculty, comes up with an idea to give the kids a way to become unified and to improve the morale of not only the students but the staff as well. He decides to put on a music competition, but it’s really more of a “Band Off”. Hell High, as it is nicknamed, rallies the student body to perform eight musical genres with all the kids rallying behind their heroes. The producers of this upcoming major motion picture have selected one of Okay Okay’s songs from their upcoming CD as part of the performances for Music High’s Band Off. Not only will their song be featured in the film, but they are getting musical credits and financial incentives. Our Coronado band will have spots as extras in the crowd rallying behind their own song and maybe even roles.

Okay Okay performs locally with a strong following. One of their favorite spots to play is the Ruby Room in North Park. The band also plays at stores like Hot Topic, high school auditoriums, and private house parties. When not all plugged in, their songs arranged acoustically are very rhythmic with a lot of jazz-infused riffs. The lead singer writes most of the lyrics for their songs and has visions of writing a rock opera to feature the band. They have just finished recording their first CD to be released in the near future. Austin Graham, one of the two lead guitarists is born & raised in Coronado. Before joining Okay Okay last summer, he was a member of the popular “screamer” band, Casino Madrid, who rose to great popularity in the youthful population of San Diego playing mostly at Soma, a venue devoted to their genre. Okay Okay are staged and ready for a very promising career in Rock ‘N’ Roll. We are very proud of them!

You can visit their site, book them, or contact them at:  and

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As Reported by Lynne & George Harpst-Koen, daughter, Jeanette, & the Graham Family (Albert, Kimberley, Ariel, & Austin)

Our roving Rock ‘N’ Roll reporters have been quite busy of late. Not only have we been attending local performances from the likes of Joey Harris and Okay Okay, we also rocked out to the cool sounds of Robby Krieger at the stunning Anthology Dinner Club in downtown San Diego. Following that extraordinary evening was a blues rock out with the legendary Eric Clapton at the former Sports Arena. Not getting enough rock yet, we headed for the Hollywood Bowl to enjoy one of the best performances any of us had ever witnessed: Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart. Well, we also had to get a bit of old fashioned funky rhythm & blues in there, so the Grahams headed to the Forum for a night with Prince. We were all so thrilled with Rod Stewart’s performance at the Bowl that we are heading for Las Vegas to see him again this summer.

Huge Doors fan & huge fan of Robby Krieger & all things Rock ‘N’ Roll from the bygone era of the 60s, Jeanette poses atop Robby Krieger’s prized possession

In January, we witnessed one of the best jazz concerts ever by Robbie Krieger and his jazz quintet. Robby is best known as the lead guitarist of the Doors and wrote some of the band’s best known songs including “Light My Fire”, “Love Me Two Times”, “Touch Me”, and “Love Her Madly”. He is listed as number 91 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and he is also a Grammy nominee this year for “Best Pop Instrumental” for his album, “Singularity”.

The Doors with Jim Morrison as their lead singer sold some 80 million albums in the decade they played together. As a result, Robby has definitely earned rock cred to do whatever the heck he wants. And love it or hate it, what Robby wants to do is play jazz. It also doesn’t hurt that the jazz Krieger likes to play takes him down roads paved by greats like Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery and is born from his deep respect for some of jazz’s heaviest hitters. The rock ‘n’ roll purists don’t sweat it as his current band always throws in tribute songs of the Doors. Evan Marshall, a local musician and vocalist, sat in to belt out these tunes including “LA Woman” sending the crowd into a frenzy of singing and shouting along. Robby not only tours with his jazz rock ensemble but also collaborates with Ray Manzarek, the prolific organist of the Doors, in international tours.

Posing with lead singer, Evan Marshall, who rocked out some Doors tunes with Jim Morrison bravado

Jeanette’s photo op with Robbie Krieger as he signs her I-phone & collector LPs: It was an evening she will never forget & will go down in her Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame experiences





Eric Clapton






So, we gave our rockin’ & a-rovin’ a bit of a break after swinging to the sounds of Robby Krieger’s jazz and classic Doors rock for a month. Then we jumped back on our rockin’ wagon to attend legendary Eric Clapton at Valley View Casino Center. After having a scrumptious local Italian dinner at Il Fornaio, we headed for yet another evening of screaming, dancing, and singing with our teenage representation in Jeanette. Together we represented the young and the not-so-old or so we do think because our ages never stop us from having a great time and you would have to stop us to remind us that we weren’t teens of the 60s still.

Eric belted out some of his greatest hits, and of course, we all helped him “shoot the sheriff” as if we were rock legends ourselves. And who doesn’t love “Hoochie Coochie Man” as well as “Layla”, “Crossroads”, and without incriminating ourselves, belting out, “Cocaine”.

Eric Clapton is a three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. He enjoys the status as one of the greatest and most imitated guitarists of the past four decades. During his two-hour-long concert, he demonstrated his finely honed craftsmanship and effortless instrumental mastery. Now, 65-years-old, Clapton has mellowed and transcended into being a quiet and unassuming legend. He may have mellowed and transcended, but no one in the audience young or not has. If you ever get a chance to attend one of his shows, you will be exuberantly entertained. Now, we must go rest up for our next experience at the Hollywood Bowl! Enjoy video of the concert on our website:

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By Cheryl Schou

For as long as I can remember my life’s journey has had rocking, soulful Rod Stewart as a companion, a friend, and one who ignites old memories and continues to create new ones. As I hit the milestone of 56 this month, how incredible it is to see Rod still so full of life and passion, he is one serious inspiration.

My life with Rod began decades ago when he was with Faces. My high school friends and I would travel by car, plane, train, or bus to see him in concert. Yup, full-on groupies without knowing it at the time. When my best friend, Nancy Sparadeo, got her first dog, she was of course named – Maggie May! Could there have been a different name? We made our way through the junior and high school years inundated with floods of great bands from here and abroad. Ah, but when you have Rod as your true north, you flirt, but remain forever loyal and forever young.

I could bore one with pages of Rod memories, but I think it is better to keep moving forward at this juncture in time as he continues onward. I recently bought his “Songbook” CD that is Rod slipping into his Sinatra suave. It makes me crave a martini with two olives! How can a man be so sexy and so full of life at age 65? Doesn’t really matter; let’s just enjoy the memories and continue making new ones. I envy all who saw him with Stevie Nicks at the Bowl last week and I shall not miss another opportunity in the future. Rocking Rod is the music of life. Keep “sailing” and stay “forever young” Rod.

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By A. R. Graham

When some dear friends invited me to go to a rock concert at the Hollywood Bowl, my memories of the Sixties floated back like a band of affectionate ghosts. My days of large venue rock concerts had long since passed, and I felt that those days were simply memories, that were difficult, if not impossible to relive.

We walked from the hotel to the event on a warm Saturday night and stood amidst a crowd of 18,000 fans. It was a sold-out show, and as the sun went down, a full moon began peeping through the tall trees on the surrounding hillsides.

A sixty-five year old man grabbed the microphone and proceeded to transport me back in time. The performance was flawless and the songs never more vibrant. I stood under a full moon rockin’ my old bones and got lost in the sweet memories of my youth. The songs were somehow new all over again. The musicians were superb. The light show and the new sound technology were overwhelming and Rod Stewart never sounded so good.

“The First Cut is the Deepest” knocked me out. Stewart sang it with a heartbreaking melancholy invoking in me, sadness and happiness simultaneously.

Stewart gave it everything he had! We had such a good time, we are following his road show to Las Vegas in August!

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By Kimberley Graham

Having been a Prince fan for decades, not for his diminutive, weird appearance or behavior, but for his charging rhythm ‘n’ blues-rock combination as well as prolific songwriting capabilities. With this in mind, I dragged my youthful children up to the Forum in Inglewood to live the Prince experience with me. I was a bit nervous whether or not they would enjoy themselves, and thanks to this artist, I was not ashamed or disappointed. I am not sure who enjoyed the show more myself, or Ariel and Austin, my young adult children. It was certainly a thrill to “boogie” the night away with them as it is hard to find events that we can all enjoy together with such enthusiasm. At one point, we were opting for a Disneyland experience instead, and at the last minute, we chose to do rock ‘n’ roll – what else? We were not the only ones having such a great time. Prince has been playing three shows a night at the Forum for a month and all are sold out. Each night, celebrities join him on stage to dance to his frenetic funk. On our evening, Halle Berry, Robin Wright Penn, and Susan Sarandon were up there amongst many others we couldn’t even keep track of. Well, I must say, I never thought I would still be dancing after 1999, yet I sure am. I think it is what keeps me “forever young”. One more note, I am 55 and Prince is 53. He put on a two-and-a-half hour show followed by three encores surrounded by a frenzied dancing auditorium of fans with an ocean of lighter flames which no “purple rain” could have extinguished. Who does this at our age? The Prince of Rock ‘n’ Roll, of course!

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Where the heck were our parents? At the parties, where else? 1132 Glorietta Boulevard holds its own claim to fame as one of the ultimate Rock ‘n’ Roll destination spots for parties in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Whose house was it? The Dill’s house, infamously and fondly held in many Coronado citizens of those times as the place to be.  We had a lot of great fun in this memorable residence as well as many “spooky” Halloweens with Janet Dill, being a very scary witch with great trick or treats as well as cauldrons of smoking dry ice. But the funnest part were the Rock ‘n’ Roll parties behind our parents’ backs or with and sponsored by them. The local police even tried to attend but we always threw them out. Long live these legendary events. We hope the kids of Coronado these days are having as much fun!

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George Koen is a prolific songwriter and soulful lead vocalist, who records with the band, the Hammers, from time to time. George, known as George K, was born in Norman, Oklahoma, but was moved to Southern California at the tender age of two. As a kid who loved music, George grew up listening to a diverse selection of musical styles. His favorites were artists such as the Beatles, the Doobie Brothers, the Eagles, and Eric Clapton among others. He knew he wanted to be a singer and started his first band in high school with two of his best friends, Steve Simmons and Sherwood Ball. With big dreams and playing at all the local and high school events, they were quickly noticed and offered a record deal, but like your basic rock and roll story, band member personalities didn’t let it happen. George’s next band was Moxie which recorded three songs and included Eddie Bertrand, from Eddie and the Showmen and the BelAirs, on guitar. Eddie had several surf hits in the 60s. George and Eddie wrote and recorded for 20 years on and off and are still good friends today. George K’s next band project was Pax who were a regular at Busch Gardens and Orange County night clubs. His good friend, Sherwood Ball, worked with him in this band. Sherwood is the eldest son of the late Ernie Ball, musician and founder of Ernie Ball Strings. George and Sherwood grew up together and played in several bands from high school on and off for about four years. Sherwood is also one of the writers of “Flag of Freedom.” (featured in the Military edition of the Coronado Clarion His performing credits include Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, and many other great bands.

Never one to sit still, George moved forward with a band called Diamondback, a country rock band based out of Southern California. Ben Arrington, the bass player for the group, and George quickly became friends. Diamondback opened for artists like Billy Preston, Paul Williams, Leon Russell, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams Jr., and many more. George sang lead on the band’s first single, “King Cotton”, which was a moderate hit with airplay from over 300 radio stations. But, like all good things; this too did pass. George and Ben went their respective ways but stayed in touch often. In 2007, George and Ben met in Las Vegas where George had recently relocated. George played several songs for Ben he’d written such as, “When You Wake” and “Running With the Wind”. Ben told George about the band he was in called Jerry McCoy & the Hammers and they began recording George’s songs soon after: first with some holiday songs, then with some good old rock & roll.

George said he got the idea to write “Flag of Freedom” from Ben who said “Hey, why don’t you write a song about freedom, independence, you know, the Fourth of July.” George thought about it for a while, thinking fire crackers and hot dogs. Then it came to him. Write the song about our founding fathers and how they gave everything for freedom, and how the heroes of yesterday and today should be honored every day, not only on patriotic holidays. Hence, “The Flag of Freedom was born. “Then we started on the circle of friends CD recorded in Arkansas, Nashville, and Hollywood. This took about a year to get the CD finished, but it came out great. It was the same cast of characters but this time, everyone got to sing lead on a couple of songs. This gave the CD a little different sound and something for everyone to enjoy with different styles of music and different styles of singers. Johnny Neel, Kim Morrison, Jerry McCoy, and myself each sang at least two songs and the others played there instruments and sang background. It came out wonderful. All but two of the songs were written by me. I am now recording ten more songs with the same musicians and will add them to the “Circle of Friends” CD as they are finished including a few sung by my daughter, Melinda.” – George K

According to George, what comes next no one knows, but there is a feeling the Hammers and George K will be writing and recording for a long time to come. The new Hammers CD, was released in November 2008 and is one we hope everyone has a chance to give a listen to. Our message is one of hope, and how if you truly believe in yourself, and don’t give up…anything is possible!


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Excerpts from: “I Remember” By A.R. Graham


Beginnings: I met Anne Robin Morrison in London in the summer of 1966. Her father, Captain George Stephen Morrison, was recently promoted to rear admiral and was stationed at the Navy building next to the American Embassy. At that time, Anne did not know her brother was famous. He had disappeared in 1964 after attending UCLA.

Soon after we met, the Admiral was called back to Washington D.C to begin his new assignment at the Pentagon. Anne stayed behind in London and a few months later, we married. When Anne gave birth to our first child, Dylan, we left England to live in America: the Land of Opportunity.


When we arrived in America in the summer of 1968, we lived in the plush suburb of Arlington, Virginia. The Admiral was stationed at the Pentagon as the Vietnam War raged on. We were introduced to the top ranks of military society. We attended the formal naval functions and sat in V.I.P. boxes at military ceremonies.

One of Clara Morrison’s nephews was about to be married and was set for deployment to Vietnam. We attended a giant celebration at the family home in Silver Springs, Maryland on the day of the wedding. On this auspicious occasion, another dramatic and most incongruous event would intersect creating profound consternation amongst the guests. The event in question was that family institution, The Ed Sullivan Show.

The wedding and the reception were formal ceremonies. Top rank and highly decorated military officials in full dress uniform accompanied by impeccably coiffed and bejeweled wives consumed copious amounts of delicious hors d’oeuvres and pink champagne.

At the end of the day, everyone gathered around television sets to watch The Ed Sullivan Show, which only presented clean-cut, all American entertainment. Not long before, Ed had presented the world-famous Singing Nun, and her number-one-in-the-nation hit, “Dominique”.

What followed was nothing less than jaw dropping. As the show commenced this very special evening, the stone-faced Sullivan stepped forward and made his proud introduction: “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the wonderful Topo Gigio!” Topo Gigio was the lead character of a children’s puppet show on Italian television in the 1960’s and a very popular visitor to the program. Next came a violently patriotic men’s college quartet. They were followed by acrobats, jugglers, and all sorts of generic entertainment for the extremely traditional audience.

The show, or so we thought, culminated with Kate Smith, a mountain of a woman, who belted out “God Bless America” with such force it blew people’s hair back. She ended with a bang, but there was an even bigger bang, locked, loaded, and waiting in the wings.

Someone said, “Hey, this is a rerun.” Very soon after that, a cabal of women surrounded Clara Morrison and rushed her into the kitchen. The Admiral followed. He inquired, “What the Sam Hell is going on in here?” Clara’s sister was hissing and looking out at the most prestigious guests. Clara gave the Admiral the news and his jaw locked like a bear trap.

Before anyone had a chance to take action, Ed Sullivan announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, from Los Angeles, California – THE DOORS!” OH, MY GOD!! — the guests sat frozen like a paused movie. Glasses were in midair and the only thing moving was cigarette smoke. A woman emptied a bottle of champagne into her goblet, which spilled out onto the counter and down onto the floor tiles. She stood there like a statue in an overflowing fountain of pink bubbles.

Jim Morrison stepped onto the stage at the world famous Ed Sullivan Theater dressed head-to-foot in black leather (pants, jacket, and boots) with a pure silver Concho belt and a white Mexican peasant shirt. He had the long, dark hair of an outlaw. He started singing “Light My Fire”, which was still on the top of the play list of the nation’s charts.

Ed Sullivan had warned Jim that he was forbidden to use suggestive words such as higher on a live show. Jim Morrison sang the song with cool precision. When he got to the forbidden words, he didn’t yell them. Instead, he spat them out as loud and as hard as he could.

The military guests had all known Jim since he was a boy. So, to see him transformed from a well-mannered, well-dressed bookworm to a long-haired, commie, pinko, traitor, draft dodger, Rasputin monster in black leather was impossible for them to process.

Uncle Howard, Clara’s brother-in-law, was the first to react. He wiped the condensation from his steamed-up, golden horn-rimmed glasses and blurted out, “Look at those filthy cuffs on his shirt!”

Morrison ended the song with: “TRY TO SET THE NIGHT ON F-I-R-E!!!”

Everyone looked at each other again. It was as if they had all experienced a UFO incident and the frightening alien in black leather had disappeared.

A vice-admiral, who strongly resembled the great actor, Lee J. Cobb, and wore enough medals and citations to fill a trophy shop, slowly closed his eyes and started a silent belly laugh. It got louder and louder until everyone joined in. The whole crowd was laughing and laughing and laughing. Admiral Morrison laughed too. The crowd was doubled up not knowing quite why we were doing so. It was almost like a collective sigh of relief.

The marriage celebration and festivities that day were utterly usurped by another celebration. To this group, it was a polar opposite, and an altogether disturbing celebration. For it was: the Celebration of the Lizard King.


Admiral Morrison accompanied by his wife, Clara, drove to Dulles Airport to pick up their daughter, Anne, her husband, Alan Graham, and their new grandchild, Dylan.

For six weeks, the newlyweds lived with the family in the posh suburb just a few miles across from the Potomac River. A retired secretary of defense, a retired admiral, and a Pentagon intelligence official were among their neighbors – a veritable who’s who of Washington’s elite.

On the sixth day of the sixth week, the Admiral received orders to immediately fly to Coronado, California, in order to assume command of Carrier Division Nine Battle Group. He left the next day. Clara was left behind to pack up all of their belongings and have them shipped along with the rest of the family to their new home, wherever that might be. For military families, this is commonplace. These families are similar to a nomadic tribe who can pack up their tents in the night. By next morning, they have left no trace of their presence.

Anne, Alan, and Dylan flew on ahead to stay in San Diego, California with the Morrison’s lifelong friend, Commander Andy Richards. Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood were all just a two-hour ride away. So, the Graham tribe set off to find Anne’s once-disappeared and now-rediscovered older brother, Jim Morrison of the Doors. They rented a car and headed off for the megalopolis — Los Angeles.

On the way, Alan stopped to call information for the listing of Elektra Records in West Hollywood. He got the number, called the recording company telling them who he was in relation to their hottest artist, and that he wanted to contact Jim. They gave him The Doors’ office number. He called and repeated the request. The receptionist, after a shell shocked, ten-second silence, said, “Could you repeat that, please?”

She informed Alan that Jim was returning from a big concert in Texas and that he would be on the eleven a.m. flight from Houston to LAX. The Graham tribe arrived at 10:50. The following is a true life account of that meeting.

When Jim Morrison stepped off a jet at LAX in the summer of 1968, he was wearing an original World War II bomber jacket. Followed by Manzarek, Krieger, then Densmore, he sauntered through the terminal carrying an antique but cool-looking leather briefcase filled with his notebooks and pages of poetry and songs.

The Lizard King was wearing naval aviator glasses and black leather cowboy boots which rendered him utterly ridiculous and ultra cool in the same instant. He was ultra cool to any teenager back then, but equally repulsive to people like Art Linkletter, the famous television pitchman. As he strode along, Linkletter had crossed directly in front of Jim causing him to stop abruptly so as not to be bowled over by the obvious disdain the pitchman harbored for all things hippie.

Morrison watched as the rude, angry personality elbowed his way through the crowd. Jim adjusted his military/hippie outfit and said out loud but to no one in particular, “That was Art Linkletter. What an asshole. Ahh, never mind. I never liked him anyway.”

Linkletter had a colossal hatred for all druggies or radicals and was estranged from his eldest daughter, Dianne. Like so many millions of young people of that time, they were considered by their parents to be morally bankrupt.

His daughter had joined the ranks of acid dropping teens and was out of her father’s control just like Jim Morrison was. The very next year, Dianne Linkletter jumped to her death from her sixth floor apartment. Linkletter immediately blamed The Beatles for turning her onto LSD through their evil music.

Morrison grabbed his bag from the luggage carousel. As he turned to leave the terminal, a young woman with a babe in arms approached him saying, “Hi, Jim.” Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore kept on walking for they had witnessed this same ritual a thousand times before. A young fan would spot the group and would come over to meet Jim.

Often the others would be ignored or thought of as secondary because Jim loomed larger than the mere Doors. He was a Rock-God-Idol and the others were his assistants. At least it was that way to millions of star struck teenage girls all over the world who would, and often did, throw their knickers at him and would have made love to him on the spot in front of God and all.

Morrison slowly put down his briefcase and was poised to sign another autograph, right? Not so. Not this time. Even though this beautiful young woman with long flowing hair and an adoring smile had presented herself before Jim, she was not offering him her autograph book. Instead, she was offering her baby for him to hold.

Jim Morrison had never autographed a baby before and he certainly had not held one recently, if ever. So, he was utterly flummoxed.

Morrison took off his sunglasses and blinked twice still wondering why there was no pen or request for the usual autograph. He looked again at the baby, and then, at the woman. He blinked again and again and again.

The Doors were now looking back to see if this woman was showing Jim Morrison the result of yet another romantic liaison from a one-night stand she and he had engaged in. Was she now demanding child support? In fact, this very same thought was starting to seep into Jim’s mind. The Doors decided that they would keep on ahead after all. As they left, they saw Jim holding the baby in his arms looking very confused. Jim looked at them helplessly as Ray, Robby, and John, disappeared like snow in August.

Jim’s eyes slowly returned to the woman, studying her face closely, and then, gingerly offering, “You wouldn’t happen to be my sister, would you?” Anne smiled from ear to ear. Speaking in an excited gush, she blurted out, “Yes, I am and say hello to your nephew. His name is Dylan Stephen and this is my husband, Alan.” Jim looked at the three of them for a long time before he spoke. This Rock-God-Idol was speechless. He could only stand there looking at Anne, whom he had not seen since he disappeared three years earlier.

Jim Morrison, Rock-God-Idol, was actually returning to a reality that he had abruptly abandoned when he decided to erase all connections with his family.

Now that very same reality, in the form of his sister as a married woman with a child (whom she had just physically thrust into her brother’s arms) was standing before him.

We all stood looking at each other. After what seemed an eternity, Jim shifted the baby to his hip and it was as if he had never been away from his sister at all. As he marched proudly through the terminal, he said, “Come on. I want you to meet everyone.”

We were in L’America: Los Angeles — Hollywood, California –standing with Jim Morrison in the summer of 1968 just before all hell broke loose and the whole shit house went up in flames.

We drove from the airport on a glorious summer day. Jim sat up front talking excitedly to Anne as if she was the one who had disappeared and he was trying to catch up on the news of her life. He never once mentioned his father or mother during the conversation, but focused instead on his sister and his little brother, Andy, and their lives. It was as if he needed several missing pieces to complete some sort of visceral jigsaw puzzle.

We took the San Diego Freeway north for a few miles, then west on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway (Santa Monica Freeway) to the City of Santa Monica.

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