Category Archives: Premier Issue

The Coronado Artiste

By Kimberley Graham
Meet Peter Hall, the “Coronado Artiste”.  He is a local artist whose passion is painting watercolors.  Many Coronadans as well as the flocks of tourists who don our shores are familiar with this talented man as he has been a staple to the community for decades.  Besides being a noted watercolorist, Peter Hall, spent many years as a caricaturist at our Ferry Landing, painting whimsical, lifelike portraits of passers-by, community members, their beloved pets, and their children.  In fact, in Mr. Hall’s words, “People come back after years. Sometimes they come back with their kids, whose caricatures I did when they were two or three, and now they are teenagers.  They come back to say hello.”

The Coronado Artiste is a proud man and has been dedicated to his craft all of his life.  He has taught the art of painting, lived in Paris where he painted and studied the great impressionists and watercolorists, also spent much time living on the East Coast where he captured beautiful, realistic interpretations of wildlife, homes, and nature scenes.  The paintings are so realistic, they look as if they are photographs.  To see his life’s collection of works is truly an honor and fills the witness with true credibility for his intense pride.

Peter has struggled with serious health issues over the years, yet he still steadies forward forever persevering for his passion.  We should all be so lucky to enjoy this type of zeal and enthusiasm in life.  Recently, after undergoing surgery, he painted a gorgeous portrait of our beloved Frankie dog.  My “healing dog”, Frankie, went missing a couple of months ago.  We searched high and low for him with a huge poster campaign for a month only to find out that he had been struck by a car and killed a couple of blocks from our home the same day he went missing.  Frankie nursed me through my ordeal with breast cancer never leaving my side while I went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments as well as two surgeries.  Our family promised to never forget him and Peter Hall made that promise a reality in his stunning interpretation.  His attention to detail is pure in his portrayals of people’s pets.  Every hair, whisker, and hue is represented.  We will always be grateful to his generosity of spirit with his gift of our Frankie’s portrait.

Peter Hall’s future plans include paying close attention to his serious work which is watercolors.  He submits his work in local exhibitions and is a noted artist for the San Diego Watercolor Society at Liberty Station, where he tries to exhibit every month.  He does many commissions with a focus on people’s pets.  He likes to refer to this side of his business as “Dogs’ Rule” and much of his watercolor work is focused on flowers as well as nature scenes.  The artist’s paintings of the Hotel Del Coronado are vividly brilliant.

The commissioned work has included watercolors of the Hotel Del Coronado, the ferry boats, the view of downtown San Diego from Coronado, flowers, and nature.  Of course, the pets and caricatures are truly part of his forte.Among the notable artists who have been influential in Mr. Hall’s developed talents include the American watercolorists:  Winslow Homer, Don Kingman, Andrew Wyeth with William Preston being a tremendous influence on his work.

Mr. Hall still does the caricatures by mail.  You can send photographs of yourself and family or pets to:

Peter Hall 1226 9th Street, Apt. 6, Coronado, CA  92118 (619) 762-0590

The best time to reach Mr. Hall is in the evenings as he enjoys spending his days out and about in our lovely kingdom by the sea.  His friendliness is contagious.  Peter likes to sit down at the Ferry Landing where he meets and greets not only our citizens but the array of travelers who marvel at the beauty of our town.

The Coronado Artiste is an institution.  He is truly a part of our community and a self-proclaimed “mayor”.  Beyond doubt, we are lucky to have Peter Hall in our midst.

E.Mail Contact,

Posted in Autumn 2021, Premier Issue | 13 Comments

Premier Issue – July 4, 2010

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Publisher and Editor Interview

Alan & Kimberley Graham

Publisher & Editor Interview

Al Graham, Editor of the Coronado Clarion:

“Of late, real journalism has been relegated or diminished by the need to bring in revenue, and as a consequence, advertising has become more important than news.

In the new paradigm, revenue rules; so news organizations are forced to eliminate the real costs needed to sustain a professional writer or investigative journalist.

The Coronado Clarion was established in an effort to bring back the prestige of an old time, hometown journal which features tales of old and new in our ‘Magical Kingdom By The Sea.’”

Kimberley Graham, Publisher of the Coronado Clarion:

“We wanted to give the residents of Coronado a forum to give unadulterated input into the content of our publication. It is a cross between a newspaper and a magazine so we refer to it as a ‘New-Zine.’

There will be a strict policy of zero advertising but we will do positive stories about the services and businesses which we feel offer bona fide contributions to our community.  At the Clarion, we want to promote our citizens to support its local small town entrepreneurs and business enterprises. Further, we want to encourage Coronado residents to do their shopping locally in support of our shopkeepers and restaurateurs instead of their having to depend mostly on tourism revenues.

We will also tell our own stories of personal struggle and of our fond remembrance’ s of our youth, of friends who have passed, and of the old guard who still reside here.

We will be covering human interest stories as well as feature tales that are indigenous to the Coronado population.

On behalf of the editor, Al Graham, the entire Clarion staff, and I, together we look forward to proudly serving our community.”

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Saint Teresa

Nina Odele

Saint Teresa of Avila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (March 28, 1515, at Gotarrendura (Avila), Old Castile, Spain – October 4, 1582, at Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, Spain) was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites.

Forty years after her death, she was canonized, in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, and in 1970 named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. Her books, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and her seminal work, El Castillo Interior (The Interior Castle), are integral part of the Spanish Renaissance literature as well as Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practices as she entails in her other important work Camino de Perfección (The Way of Perfection).

Had there been rock stars around in Spain in the 1500s, Saint Teresa of Avila would have been a major one.

She suffered greatly throughout her life. Her symbols were a heart, a cross, and a pen. She was a prolific writer, hence the pen, a fervent humanitarian, the heart, and one who suffered constant and agonizing physical pain, represented by the cross. She is also known as the patron saint of headache sufferers, a symbolization of outer turmoil causing inner pain.

“I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth.” She lived by these words even when she was suffering.

She wrote many books. She was spunky, indefatigable, and constantly at odds with those who considered her to be rebellious and dangerous. Teresa was a real activist as well. Many times, she’d have to sneak in and out of villages in the middle of the night, lest her presence cause a riot! One time, she and her fellow nuns were ordered to clean the floors of a nobleman on their hands and knees. Teresa refused on behalf of the sisters. The nobleman banished them out of their convent and they had to move on.

Recently a friend of mine was at a swap meet when she came upon an ancient Mexican guy who had a beat up wooden tray full of very old holy medals, crosses, and rosaries — some quite lovely. However, she was drawn to a beat-up, old medal on a blackened silver chain. The medal was so tarnished she couldn’t even tell what it said. But she had to have it! She took it home and polished it up. Lo and behold it turned out to be Saint Teresa!

Finding the beat-to-death medal at such a terminal is representative of faith and hope. For no matter how bashed in or beaten down, her little spirit is alive on this earth bringing solace to my friend and myself — not to mention the multitudes around the world who hold the same eternal love and respect for this powerhouse of love and endurance

Believing Catholics share an unseen bond of faith. To quote a famous song writer, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom. Let it be.” In the darkest of hours, emotionally moving prayers like: Our Father, Hail Mary, or the chanting Gregorian monks’ solemn but beautiful hymns bring solace to the suffering.

A poignant coda to our story is steeped in the joy of sharing something precious. My friend, who found the blackened medal, heard of a woman Abigail Ortega of El Cajon who has been in chronic pain since childhood.  Knowing the power of faith and the power of the spirit of Saint Teresa, she gave the precious medallion to her.  The ailing woman was overwhelmed by the generosity and the level of caring from a stranger.  The awesome power of this tiny saint from 500 years ago is salubrious to all believers as displayed by this selfless and caring gesture.

Another source of relief was about to occur in Abigail’s life.  It came via the benevolence of a Catholic priest by the name of Father Brian Hayes of Holy Trinity Church in El Cajon, California.

After hearing of Abigail’s plight, the priest went to visit her.  Father Brian listened to her story of horrendous pain and her need for support and assistance. He was moved to take action immediately.

Holy Trinity Catholic Parish traces its roots to self sacrifice, hard work, and a firm faith. The church was first served by a pioneering Spanish priest, Father Anthony Urbach, who once a month road the three hours on horseback from San Diego to the parish.  For forty years, he served a 4,255 square mile area with such devotion that when he died in 1907, his funeral drew the “greatest outpouring of people San Diego has ever seen.”  Father Brian soldiers on with the same benevolence and compassion to this day.

Posted in Keeping the Faith, Premier Issue | Leave a comment

KPXI Rebel Mobile Nuclear Radio

KPXI RADIO:  It is pronounced Kay Pixie and it is a radio station like none on this earth.

It is mobile and it is rebellious.  It is raw and it is real.  It is the only nuclear-powered radio network in the entire galaxy.  The network’s signal eminates from a secret loction somewhere in our “Magical Kingdom by the Sea”.  Many interested parties have been trying to locate its transmitter, but as of this moment, they have been unsuccessful.

The announcer is Elliot Rosewater and his identity is unkown.  The editor of the Coronado Clarion is sitting in for him this week, but he leaves behind a strict list of songs that must be played in his absence.  He plays sixties classic rock, jazz, folk, and his favourite, of course, which is classical music:  Beethoven, Bach, Stravinski, et al.

He talks about all things metaphysical, of poerty, art, and literature.  He talks about the struggles of life and the magic of dreams fulfilled.

If you want to ask him a question or request a song, e-mail him at:, or call him at 619-277-1552.

Posted in KPXI Radio, Premier Issue | Leave a comment

The Highway Man

By Alan Graham

 Witnesses of the Highway Man

Faster than a speeding bullet
More powerful than a locomotive

Able to leap small buildings at a single bound
Look down the road

It’s Highway Man

And his trusty sidekick, Sheila

He has a dog named Sheila and a set of wheels that sets the hearts beating of wanderlust devotees when it cruises by.  He is well-equipped to assist motorists on the busy San Diego freeways.

His outfit is a cross between Indiana Jones and the Wichita lineman right down to the heavy-duty knee pads.  He will give you gas, water, and a cheery smile.  It is all free, no charge.  He firmly believes and lives his philosophy every day.  You will find him cruising back and forth across the Coronado Bridge or in the South Bay near the U.S.-Mexican border always on the look out for a broken-down vehicle and someone in need of his benevolent service.

He has had a few run-ins with people who took umbrage with his efforts, particularly when he admonishes an errant driver, loudly through a speaker mounted on the top of his “Hurdy Gurdy Emergency Vehicle”.

He loves to tell about the people he meets, and helps, and how he loves to see them smile when he tells them, “No charge.”  He is a man on a mission to help other humans and his reward is a simple smile coupled with a thank you.

If you see him, stop him, and give him a small donation for gas because he uses all of his own money to finance his rescue operation. Make the Highway Man smile when you do a good deed for him and the people he helps.

The Highway Man has been giving free roadside service for people in need like changing a tire, providing gas for an empty tank, and pulling over when he sees someone in need to make sure there is safety until the appropriate remedies are at hand.  He has been doing this since the 1960s and all he asks in return is that you pay the kindness forward.  A very honorable man indeed as well as his trusty sidekick, Sheila.  Hats off to you, Highway Man, you are a true hero.

Posted in Premier Issue | 3 Comments


By A. R. Graham

Buddy does not like other dogs very much or people for that matter.  He was a one-year-old cup of sadness when he was adopted from an animal shelter and was days away from going down for the big sleep.  Buddy was no one’s buddy at all.  He rejected all contact from canine or human; either did he seek it.  He was in his own world and he was angry.  So it was futile to try to coax him or pet him because he always seemed to be saying, “Get away, you, and the horse you came in on!”

His parents often walked by our house in the evenings and I would always try to make contact with the little fellow because even though he was taciturn, he seemed to be looking for something or someone like a tracker on the hunt for a fugitive.

One day “Frankie Dog” came into our lives.  He was also a tea-cup-size Dorky with a sad little face and little beady black eyes.  He looked like a figurine more than a dog.  I was standing outside one night watching little Frankie playing on the lawn when Big Bad Buddy came by.  He took one look at Frankie and just marched right up and starting investigating, but this time, he showed no signs of anger or aggression.  He was even wagging what resembled a tail with much velocity.

Frankie liked Buddy immediately and wagged backed with Morse-code-like urgency.  They bonded instantly and Buddy never missed a chance to return.

Each time they met it was a gleeful wag-fest and much information was transmitted in dog talk.  It was a prolonged pulchritude.

When Frankie dog left us, our hearts were broken and we were riddled with inconsolable sadness.  The little soul we adored so much was gone forever and just when we thought it could not have been so sad, Buddy came by and was very upset that Frankie was not there to greet him.  For a second, the old anger in him stirred as if something precious to him was missing.  A great weary and gloomy state fell upon us all.  Both families were now grieving for Frankie and Buddy was very disturbed by the absence of his one and only friend.

Buddy still comes by every day looking for his best friend.  The very first thing he does is search all around for the lost soul dog.  He stands there as if talking to the spirit of his lost companion.  His parents indulge him in that sweet little ritual because he seems to come away from it refreshed.

I saw Buddy today.  He was taking his parents for a walk, and as usual, he was bouncing along as if on a quest or a campaign to locate something.  His little body quivers and his sawed-off tail whirls like a propeller.  He is happy to see me and I him.  He checks me out; then seems to say, “Okay!  We are done here. NEXT!!” and off he trots to the next clue.

Frankie Dog lives on even though he has left us, but you would have a hard time convincing Buddy that Frankie’s spirit is not still ever present.

Long Live Frankie Dog and Buddy Dog!

Posted in Keeping the Faith, Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Citizen X

By Alan Graham

When Citizen X landed in Coronado, California amid the turbulent times of the late sixties, he stood out from the “maddening crowd” of the local population in a very big way.

He was a 30’s-something Arizonian real estate developer who had made his mark when he was a very young man. They called him, “The Kid Builder”.   He was smart, gutsy, and even though he was still wet behind the ears, he was fearless amongst his larger and more shark like peers. His talent was and is, “the art of negotiating the deal.”  He loves to run the numbers, and he can tell you in a hot minute whether or not the deal is real and if it could fly or fail.

At the time of Citizen X’s arrival, there was a civil war raging in the mostly retirement-age community between the young people and the old guard.

The city council meeting was packed to the roof with angry teenagers who were up in arms because the older folk wanted the treasured game of baseball to be curtailed.  There was a most lovely acreage near the entrance of the NAS North Island that had been used by the avid fans of recreation, and in particular, the devotees of the all-American game of baseball.  The old guard wanted the antics to cease even though it was just an innocent game.

Some of the more ardent members of the physically fit youth were rather adept at slamming a missal like projectile across the green and into someone’s back yard.  This, along with the cheering and jeering from each team, jangled the nerves of the older folks.

A rather large piece of irony was present here due to the fact that on the base next to the green sat a landing strip.   All day long, fighter jets would practice take-offs and landings.  Monster cargo planes, AWACS, plus an assortment of old prop planes were active and noisy even into the night.  So the noise factor was irrelevant and the kids shouted down that complaint with much booing. “All we want to do is play baseball,” exhorted the pissed-off kids in the tightly packed city council chambers.

Citizen X stepped up to the microphone to speak on behalf of the kids.  His hair was long and he wore cool clothes.  He did not look like his peers in the community who wore the traditional attire of suit or sports coat.  He was out of place with older folks but very much in sync with the kids.

I watched from the back seats as he sauntered up to face the council members, some of whom were quite angry at the kids for being so boisterous in their sacred chambers.  Citizen X took one look at the red-faced officials and said, “ I feel like an anchovy in a bed of sharks.”  The stunned members laughed nervously but the kids squealed with delight. He went on in a serious tone chiding the council for being so restrictive to its youth.  “I have four children and I want them to run free and play their games.  So let’s give them a break.”

The crowd applauded, and after some deliberations, the city council relented. Forty years later, the green still stands and the locals employ and enjoy one of the very few opens spaces left in town.

X is now a senior citizen and he lives alone in a giant house on the beach.  It looks like a British stately home, well kept, and surrounded with bowers of gorgeous flowers.  He rides an old black bike to the local Starbucks every morning where he holds court with a cadre of his peers.  He sits listening patiently to the group of mostly older men.  Even though he always smiles from ear to ear, one can sense a certain sadness or an echo of loss in his soul and on his face.

Citizen X is an expert Chess player and is adept at the complex game of Backgammon; but as the old saying goes, “Lucky at chess, unlucky in love.” As if not allowing himself the private introspection needed for the peaceful resolutions one makes with oneself, he rejects this sort of pensive relief and perhaps it is again because of the fear he will show signs of weakness. He is a lonely man on an island, and within his own island, in our “Magical Kingdom by the Sea”.

Back in the Day

One morning, back in the early seventies, I saw a house for sale on Third and B Avenues.  It was a little white structure that needed a little tender loving care.  I found X jogging in the sand trying to lose some of his summer blubber from inactivity and self- indulgence. I waved to him and he jogged over to talk to me.  I told him of the deal and how much profit we could make.  He was in agreement.  He would put up the money to buy the home for cash and I would make the purchase and be responsible for the remodel and resale.  We would then split the profits 50-50 after the expenses for real estate fees and construction costs.

I went to make an offer to the owner, but on the way out of the door, I got a phone call from a local aggressive and unlikable real estate broker.  He had heard of my interests in the property and was trying to worm his way into the deal.  He would not be the last to attempt that parasitic maneuver.

I told the salesman that I was busy and perhaps we could talk tomorrow.  I went directly to the listed owner’s address in Pacific Beach and was met with a “take it or leave it” stance.  “I want 30,000 dollars in cash and that is the only deal I will accept, period.”  I called X who felt that he could get the price lowered if he had a one-on-one with her.  She was as intractable with him as she was with me.  So I told X not to push for a couple of thousand dollars because there was enough profit for us even at that price.

X figured we could make thousands more using his experience and his knowledge.  So we bought it for cash and the deal was done.

The very next evening, I was having dinner at the Chart House when the very same irritating real estate fellow approached me and said, “I am in touch with the owner and I think I can get that property for you at a great price.”  I informed the determined agent that not only had I purchased said property yesterday, but I had in fact sold it this day for a handsome profit (twice as much as X thought we could get) thus avoiding the unnecessary and obsolete service he was offering.  He gave me such a look of anger.  It was as if I had cheated him out of a deal that rightfully belonged to him.  When, in fact, the deal was made with such swiftness and stealth, it merely illuminated the vast chasm between the old paradigm, which he and his old-fashioned ways of doing business did business, and the very new one, which was us, the present, the future, and the essence of American entrepreneurship.

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Meet Your Mayor

Casey Tanaka , Coronado Mayor

By Al Graham, Editor

Casey Tanaka is the youngest mayor Coronado has ever had.  He is smart, articulate, and personable.  He is also an educator and he brings that credential to the job of mayor which serves the community well.

His management style is based upon his belief that past history is profoundly relevant when it comes to NOT making the same fiscal mistakes.  Mayor Tanaka is also an astute politician who employs sober and reasonable responses to hot-button political issues.

After asking him about his political future or aspirations, the Mayor replies, “I am more interested in the now than in the future and I think the people who elected me expect that.

When asked a question, any question, his response is immediate and fresh — not the same old tired politically correct buzz words.  You will never find him struggling or reaching for a word.  Mayor Tanaka is fluid and thoroughly knowledgeable about all fazes of city government.

Recently, I came upon a group of political campaign signs posted on an alley fence.  The one that stood out the most to me was not a political sign at all.  It was affixed permanently  to the top of the fence and it read:  “Tanaka Lane”.

Casey Tanaka is by no means a jaded politician, he is as passionate about his mayoral duties as he is about his career as an educator.  He is a pleasant and thoughtful man who will, if he chooses to do so, go far as a politician.  In the interim, he is focused on the City of Coronado, California.  We are fortunate to have Casey Tanaka as our mayor.

Posted in People, Premier Issue | 1 Comment

One Man and His Dog

By Alan Graham

He was blinded by shrapnel in Vietnam and now uses a seeing-eye dog for assistance to walk to the bus stop or the ferryboat which will take him across the bay to the city.  He will take his place on the bench as a superior judge in the halls of justice on Broadway in downtown San Diego.

To watch him as he performs his duties is to not be aware that he is blind because he looks at the case file in front of him.  When he speaks to the defendant or the attorneys, he looks directly at them.  He is stern when dispensing justice, but he is lenient when it is warranted.

Using his own life as an example, he questions a defendant about his lack of compliance with his probation officer.  He tells of his own youth and his companions.  “We played football and baseball.  We went swimming.  If you do things like that, you will stay out of trouble.”  He looks down at the files and then directly at the defendant.  “I will grant probation to you on the following conditions…”  What follows are certainly nothing short of “rules to follow to keep yourself out of jail.”  Even the most “Artful Dodger” would never be able to weasel his way out of the maze of conditions set by the judge.

The files he uses are in brail.  He looks as though he is reading them but he is simply running his fingers over them. Most people in the courtroom are unaware that he cannot see them at all because he does not act like a blind man.

This formidable gentleman decided to practice law when he became a civilian again.  He enrolled with several other blind students.  “It was more like an experiment,” he recalls. There was no apparatus in the school to facilitate the visually impaired.  No brail law books, no tutorials — so everything had to be cobbled together in order for them to begin their education.

All of them proudly passed the bar, and some four decades later, Judge David M. Szumowski still proudly serves the community of San Diego, California.

I asked him about his dog and how they work together.  I have often seen him walking to and from work.   One morning, he walked past my house and there were some low hanging bushes that hit him in the face.  He stopped dead in his tracks, backed up a few steps, and walked at the bushes again.  He stopped just when he reached the overgrowth, then spoke sternly to the dog.  “Here, here,” he said reaching up and grabbing the branch.  He shook it briskly making the dog repeat the maneuver again.  This time the dog halted before they reached the spot where the obstruction stood.

I told the judge that I had been standing there when the incident occurred congratulating him on his success with the animal.  I trimmed the overhanging offensive palms and I keep my eye on their growth.

After my interview with the judge, and some months since the incident, I returned home to find the very same branches protruding menacingly once again.  I will check them more often now.  When I do see other obstructions, I tell the owners about the encroachments.  The neighbors are all quite happy to comply.

In closing, I asked the judge if there was anything he wanted to say to the public about himself and his dog.  He wanted to let people know that his dog is not a pet, but that it is a working dog.  “So if you see me on the street, please do not approach me and try to pet my dog.”  I have seen parents let children walk up to these loving animals unaware that the animal is decidedly a working dog, once again, certainly not a pet.

Recently, I interviewed a prosecuting attorney who uses a wheel chair.  I asked if he had any difficulties with similar situations of access or obstructions in his daily life.  Like the judge, he was upbeat and found few obstacles.  He simply deals with life as we all do.

It is through these and similar examples that I am acutely aware of how the human spirit can be indefatigable in the face of adversity and how it can prevail with sheer force of will.

Posted in Premier Issue | 4 Comments

When Milkmen Smelled Exotically Like Vanilla Ice Cream and Cigarettes

By Suzi Lewis Pignataro

My name is Susan Maria Lewis de Pignataro.  Some of you will remember me as Suzi Lewis, others as Nancy, Barbara and John’s sister or Nancy and Jack’s daughter.  A few of you may even remember the year I was dubbed, “Suzi Breadmaker”.  I was born in Coronado in 1955 and lived there, in the home my father built, until 1973, when I traded palm trees and white sandy beaches for redwoods and rolling hills that half the year remind me of my beloved New Zealand and the other half the tawny backs of my county’s mountain lions.  I live in the town of Sonoma where I maintain a private practice in child and family therapy.  For the past twenty-five years, I have been treating traumatized children through the application of therapeutic play.  I have an Argentine husband, two sons ages sixteen and nineteen, and a fourteen-year-old Cocker Spaniel.  My son Thack is an art student living in San Francisco.  My son Hans is a junior in high school and is also an artist, as well as a very good cook.  He may be a superior bread maker, but as the only vegan in the house I am master of the bean curd.

I’ve traveled tens of thousands of miles – covering twelve countries and many of the States – and have accumulated hundreds of yarns to tell.  But some of the most important journeys and their stories come from my earliest years as a child running free in Coronado, with its doors and side gates opened invitingly to the precocious little chatterbox I used to be.  It was there that I developed the social barometer and geographic compass that I later put to good use navigating the globe and its different cultures.  It was the freedom from fear – the trust in the world as a decent and safe place filled with friendly and helpful people – that enabled me to be so bold in my adventures, both as a child and as an adult.

It is inconceivable to many of the children in my private practice that once upon a time a child could run wild without the threat of someone harming them – including their own frightened and overprotective parents.  I tell them stories of my youth, and it is as if I am reciting from a work of fiction about a paradise lost.  Even the absence of video games, iPods and computers fails to dampen their longing for a childhood like mine.

It wasn’t all ideal.  Losing my oldest sister, Nancy, when I was six and she was fourteen was devastating.  Like a piece of psychic shrapnel, her passing embedded itself deep within the body of my soul, a constant painful reminder that I survived while another died.  I felt her presence everywhere – from my bedroom, which once had been hers, to Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, where I sang in the children’s choir as the bells tolled in her memory. But children are resilient and wounds scar over, allowing for their victims to carry on; and though I lost some of my bouncy chattiness and gained fears of ghosts and God’s “mysterious ways”, the very essence of my home town sustained and nurtured me through the next twelve years.

Someone once asked me, “What did you learn growing up in Coronado?”  I replied, “Milkmen smell exotically like vanilla ice cream and cigarettes.  Shells with critters still living inside of them will stink up your mom’s bathroom.  Never try to outrun a neighbor’s dog chasing you downhill.  Town drunks are not to be feared but rather helped onto a park bench.  Fighter jets rattle windows but never break them.  If you have chubby thighs, wash off the sand before walking home from the beach.  June bugs are scarier than water bugs. It’s comforting to have popular parents, but it can also be a pain in the butt.  The constant clang of metal against a sailboat’s mast will lull you to sleep, while the constant pong of a tennis ball will keep you up.  Waves are your friend – really. All kids are created equal – full stop.  You will desperately long for the scent of tar on pylons years after the ferries have disappeared.  Home is a beautiful garden isle floating on water; fully contained; safe; easy to explore, and hard to lose your place in.”

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment


By Alan Graham

Every day without fail, the “Senator” goes for a long walk, “a good stretch of the legs.”  He is quiet and unassuming, that is, until you begin a conversation with him.  He is writing a new novel called “Memoirs of Pontius Pilate”–  an intriguing title to someone like myself who studies the life and times of all biblical characters.

As a Catholic, I was educated by my mentors and teachers, the Jesuit priests, who described Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of the Roman province of Judea, as a weak man who was fearful of his Roman superiors and of the angry population.  Pilate did not want to condemn Jesus to death.  He did so reluctantly and to mitigate his underhandedness he stood in view for all to see and hear and pronounced the now-holy phrase, “Lavabo,” and washed his hands of all responsibility.

However, when I interviewed the Senator for an article to be placed in the Clarion, he had a different take altogether describing Pilate as the ultimate politician, shrewd, and not at all acquiescent.  He went on to say that his book tells of a very different “Son of God’ than the one I was taught about.  “You will learn more about Jesus Christ than you have ever known before,” he said with much authority.  So, it is with much anticipation that I await the release of “Memoirs of Pontius Pilate” by Jim Mills.

He has been called the “father” of the Port of San Diego and that’s a title that former Senator Jim Mills is proud of.  Mills is the last surviving member of the bi-partisan political team who helped found the Port District.

The Port of San Diego is a public agency, created by the state legislature in 1963 to manage San Diego harbor and the surrounding tidelands.  The agency has operated without tax dollars since 1970 and has been responsible for $1.5 billion in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, and San Diego.

He is also vigorously cause-oriented and the Mills Act is named for the Senator who sponsored the legislation over 20 years ago.  Before he became a well-respected politician, he was a noted historian, author, and preservationist.

In California, the Mills Act is legislation that lets owners of historically designated buildings reduce their property taxes in exchange for restoring and maintaining those buildings.  Each city must adopt the Mills Act.  Owners sign a ten-year, endlessly renewable legal contract with their city (or in some places, their county) stating what the responsibilities are.

The Senator goes mostly unnoticed by other pedestrians as he strolls along.  I have never seen him engage in a conversation publicly.  I saw him as a pensive man, not one prone to chit chat or waste words.  He passed by a few days ago as my wife and I were talking to a lady from Mexico.  I stopped him to let him know that I had made a cd of our interview and I went to get a copy.  When I returned, he was fully engaged in a conversation with the woman and was speaking fluent Spanish to boot.  The ultimate paradox was on display as the quiet man was now quite vocal.

Posted in Premier Issue | 2 Comments

The Two-Pound Coin

By John Foskett

Norma Veronica Malins was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early sixties.  Terrified by the thoughts that she would not live very long, she set out on a quest to save enough money to go visit her brother and his family in California.  She bought a giant money tin can with a coin slot in the top which could only be opened with a can opener.  Things were going slowly for she had very little to save from her meager pension.

She saw an ad in the local paper:

“Five Hundred Pounds Cash! To anyone who can last 10 rounds with the ‘Notorious Kemo Rage’.”

Norma entered the contest which was held at the Liverpool Stadium.

Norma fought hard.  She went ten rounds with the dirty fighting prize fighter, Kemo Rage, who is renowned for hitting below the belt. He decreed that he would finish her in the fourth round by holding up his glove whilst inciting the crowd to chant, ‘ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!’  Then pointing to his bloodied opponent yelled, ‘Out the Door in Number Four!’”

By the end of the sixth, the tired woman was almost beaten, but mercifully the referee stepped in to break them apart.  She sat on her stool while Kemo pranced around the stage exhorting the crowd to boo and mock his tired opponent.  As she sat there beaten and afraid, she thought that this would be her last round, and further, that she would never get out of that arena of death.

Norma fought the entire fight alone — no seconds, no stool, no water, not even a towel to mop her brow.

Kemo Rage had handlers who fanned him to keep him cool.  He had lots of ringside supporters and plenty of nice, cool, clear water.

All victims of cancer know this scene very well, and even though, this writer uses a boxing metaphor in an attempt to even come close to imagining the real agony they all suffer, the story is best told by them, not us.

Notes from a diary kept by Norma Veronica Malins:
“September 28th Finally pain free, no more surgery, infection free, and I feel positive about chemo.  Can’t wait to see my grandchildren, Leon and Lolo.
Sept. 29t h Reflex at the Royal Hospital today.Sept. 30th Off to London town, longing to see the grandkids.
October 1st My daughter, Sharon is in HER 8th day of chemo, but she looks fantastic.
Oct. 2nd Lovely day today.  I still can’t believe Sharon looks so good.
Oct. 3rd Another lovely day.

Oct. 4th Even better today.
Oct. 5th A crazy day with the family.
Oct. 6th Back home, a terrible trip.
Oct. 7th Reflexology  today.
Oct. 8th Trying to be positive about Chemo.
Oct. 9th First Chemo. Terribly scared.
Oct. 10th Crippling insomnia.
Oct. 11th Insomnia but no sickness.
Oct. 12th Bowel pains and insomnia.
Oct. 13th.  Saw doctor today.  I look good and feel fantastic.
Oct. 14th Reflexology.  ( foot massage)
Oct. 15th Went to see my friend, Molly, and her husband, Christo.
They prepared a lovely meal.
Oct 16th Me with the District Nurse, sweet lady, I feel blessed.
Oct.  17th “Pump Up the Volume” my little grim humor joke for the temporary implant that had to be filled with refilled fluid periodically during Chemo.
Oct. 18th Spent the day with my favorite grandniece Amber.  I am feeling OK.
Oct. 19th Lazy day , sore throat is doing my head in.
Oct. 20th Went to the Linda McCartney Center for reflexology treatment, absolutely brilliant.
Oct. 21st The freezer broke down.  I did not get stressed out about it and I went out to look at wigs.
Oct.  22rd  Throat still bloody sore bet feel good.
Oct. 23 My hair starting to fall, soonest gone, sooner to return.
Oct 27th. Just found out that my daughter and her family are coming to visit me. I am over the moon.
Oct 28th Got spoiled rotten today, had a lovely meal at the royal Albert Dock in Liverpool.
Oct 29th The second dreaded Chemo, at least my daughter will be there with me.
Oct 31st My daughter came to visit, but was not able to bring herself to be with me for the treatment.  She has been through it herself and did not want to see it again.  It broke my heart and I cried all day.  I did not speak to her for three weeks.
November 1st Amber is here today and I am still tearful.
Nov. 2nd I am so broken hearted.  Thank God for Michelle, Phil, and Simon.
Nov. 3rd Counseling at the Sunflower Center, heavy stuff.
Nov. 4th Head strong, met Glynnis, counselor, Maria.
Nov. 5th Riverside, 10 a.m., cancelled, head massage.
Nov. 6th District Nurse, Sunflower Center, came home early, not too well.
Nov. 7th “Pump Up the Volume”—don’t feel up to it, but I will go to choir at Sunflower’s.
Nov. 8th Denize is coming, D & G, woke up at 3 a.m., insomnia awful.
Nov. 10th Ann Mockford, 10 a.m., Sunflower’s.
Nov. 11th Ria, 12-15, very important!
Nov. 12th Ladies’ Night at Sunflower’s – I can’t wait!  Facial, 2:00.
Nov. 17th Feet reflexology.
Nov. 18th Pay Day!
Nov. 19th Dentist ring up.
Nov. 20th Chemo Day – Here we go again.  I’m going alone.”

Kemo Rage has now punched himself out.  Even though Norma is beaten up, she has a determined look on her face.  Kemo tries his best to strike her again but cannot lift his arms.  The crowd boos him relentlessly and cheers wildly as Norma stands up and slowly raises her arms in triumph.

The prize was paid to number in British two-pound coins.  She counted each one carefully in front of the crowd, but mostly for the benefit of Kemo Rage, who was now incapacitated and powerless.

Norma bought a ticket on the first flight out and was soon basking in the warm glow of her family in the “Magical Kingdom by the Sea”.

All too soon she returned to Liverpool.  A great bittersweet blanket has fallen on us all.  We miss her so very much.

Posted in Keeping the Faith, Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Angel de los Dientes

By Alan Graham

A visit to the dentist strikes fear into my heart.  The very thought of the needle alone makes me wince.  I will try to get out of it altogether if possible.  A few months ago, I was enjoying a piece of hard candy when my front tooth, which had been capped 40-something years earlier by Dr. Vetter, flew out of my mouth.  I picked it up and saw that it had snapped off part of the remaining root and was badly decayed as well.  I had a very important business meeting to attend in an hour.  So I had to find a dentist within close proximity without delay.

I chose a local and rather expensive cosmetic dentist.  She fitted me in between another appointment.   Within a few minutes, I was walking out the door tooth firmly cemented in place.  I would be able to attend the meeting and my broken tooth would not be a distraction.  This was not to be.  The moment I opened my mouth to speak, my tooth almost fell out again.  I caught it, and fortunately, no one saw my embarrassed and toothless smile.

The dentist visit cost me $150 and I looked like I had never ever paid a visit to a dentist office in my life.  I called their office and gave them the what for.  I rushed back where they applied the very same inept procedure.  The moment I stepped out the door, the same tooth fell out again.  They apologized for their poor work once again.  The next morning, I received a refund check with a note that read:

Dear Sir:

We are sending a refund check to you for your last visit to our offices.  We do not feel that we can help you any further.

Thank you,

Susan Phelps, DDS

I certainly concur with their assessment of not being able to help me any further.  I would even go one better, they offered inferior work at an exorbitant rate and that they never helped me at all in the first place.

I called my regular dentist who instructed me to come into the office immediately.  I did so carrying with me the rotten root.

I call her “Angel de los Dientes” (“Angel of the Teeth”) because she is extremely great at her work.  She is so gentle that I do not even feel that long, scary-looking syringe she inserts to numb my teeth with lydocaine.  The Angel works so fast and with such precision that it is a pleasure to watch her operate.

Believe me, you are very lucky if you can find a dentist so highly qualified and so utterly dedicated to her craft.  I am indeed a very lucky man and so is anyone else who discovers her.

There are other dentists as highly qualified as my Angel de los Dientes.  You can find them all at a small practice called Easy Dental.  Their office is located at 245 25th Street, San Diego.  Their telephone number is (619) 236-9831.  Call them to schedule an appointment, and as I have said, if you are very, very lucky, you may be able meet the Angel de los Dientes there.  By the by, if you tell them that the folks at the Coronado Clarion newspaper have sent you, you will receive a special discount on top of their already affordable prices.

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Jim Morrison Exposed?

By David LeVine

True Story of Infamous Miami Concert:  Jim Morrison Miami Concert and Trial 1969-70

It was 1969, and I was a twenty-year-old photographer interested in doing special effects; the market of choice for the times was rock.  Doing rock photography meant you could be as expressive and creative as the musicians themselves. There was only one problem – all of the “action” was in L.A. and New York; and I was stuck in Miami.

At the Doors’ concert I was ushered right in.  I remember I was at the foot of the stage, the lighting was terrible (another thing that has changed).  Being a lover of available lighting, I almost never use a flash; I feel the shots are always more real that way.  The Doors started to play and boy were they bad, off-tune and all. The band started to get rowdy and the crowd soon followed, charging the stage, and almost crushing me.  Mayhem ensued and that concert went down in rock history.  I remember thinking that if I had paid $7.50 for a ticket I would have been really pissed off.

In an effort to perfect my craft, I attended every rock concert that I could con my way into.  If you showed up at the stage door with several cameras around your neck it was a given that you were a professional and the door was opened, no questions asked.  Of course, this was before they banned the audience from photographing the concert.

When I developed the film — I always souped my own stuff — it was extremely underexposed.  The light had been very low and I had only used an ASA 400 film.  I had to use chemical intensifier on the negatives to bring out the detail; I hadn’t yet perfected my push-processing technique of attaining ASA 16,000.  The shots looked great – I had one of Morrison with his hand in his pants, but my favorite was the one of him with the lamb.

Later, when I learned that Morrison had been arrested and was charged with “indecent exposure” and “lewd and lascivious conduct”, I decided to call the Miami Herald newspaper in hopes of selling some of the photos.  They weren’t interested.

Several months later, I received a phone call from Jim Morrison’s lawyer in L.A.  By way of the Herald, he had learned of my photos and was interested in them.  He bought six in all.  I can still remember the excitement I felt at selling those photos.  They brought in a whopping $65, not much even then, but I bought my first LunaPro lightmeter with the money.  And as any hardcore photographer knows, that is a big deal.  Business being completed, he then asked me what I had seen that night at the concert and if I would be interested in testifying in court.  I readily agreed.  In my eyes, the only thing he was guilty of was a “bad” concert.

As the trial date approached, I formed a plan of action.  I would show Jim Morrison my portfolio, and of course, he would hire me, I hoped.  Remember, I was desperate to get some “rock photography” work and even more desperate to get out of Miami.  So, a little fantasy went a long way.  I showed up at the courthouse, portfolio-in-hand, marched into the courtroom, and sat down.  The trial was already in progress and the last prosecution witness was on the stand.

He was saying that he saw everything, i.e., how Morrison had exposed himself.  He had been up in the lighting/projection booth at the Coconut Grove Auditorium about 300 feet from the stage with a 35mm SLR camera and a l35mm lens.  I remember thinking that he couldn’t have seen much at that distance and with such a short telephoto lens.  He was then asked if he had a picture of Morrison exposing himself and he didn’t.  His excuse was that he didn’t want to get in to trouble for taking an “obscene” photo.  Just about then, Morrison’s attorney turned around and saw me sitting in the gallery.  He started waving his arms and saying, “No, no, no.”  Apparently, I was not supposed to be in the courtroom until I was called to testify (thus my testimony would not be swayed by having heard others).  The lawyer informed the judge of my mistake and I was asked to wait outside the courtroom.  Shortly after this, the proceedings recessed for lunch.

I went to lunch with thirteen people including Morrison and his entourage.  We discussed my reaction to the last witness.  I recounted how he couldn’t have seen much from his vantage point and with the camera and lens he claimed to have.  He had also presented his proof sheets from the concert at the trial and I remarked that the size Morrison appeared on the proof sheet was the way the witness saw him through his viewfinder.  I was asked if I would testify to these facts in court.  I agreed and it was settled that I would be the first defense witness when court resumed.

Before we went back into the court room, I got the opportunity to show Morrison my portfolio and he signed two prints I had made of him at the concert.  I placed them back in my portfolio’s side pocket.  The trial then resumed.

When I was called to the stand, I took my portfolio with me.  The defense attorney went first.  I was asked if I was shooting pictures at the concert and if I had any of the pictures with me.  They wanted to see the pictures I had with me.  These were my personal prints which had been signed earlier by Jim Morrison.  I had to answer, “Yes,” but I broke out in a sweat as they took them from me.  The prints were then entered as “Exhibits E and F”.  They were then tagged by the clerk with the tags stapled to the prints.  Morrison’s attorney then produced the six prints I had sold him earlier.  I saw my opening and took it. I told the attorney that the photos I had just given him were also in the set he had just produced and that the photos now in the court’s possession were my personal photos and could I have them back.  They returned my photos signed and tagged by the court.  I hasten to think what those prints would be worth today to a collector but unfortunately they were stolen along with other of my personal effects sometime later.  Getting back to the trial, I was being asked about the testimony of the last photographer and I repeated what I had related during lunch.  My testimony was completed with the statement that though Morrison had been out of control, he had not exposed himself.

It was now time for the cross-examination.  My expertise was questioned regarding the other photographer’s equipment and subject-view ability.  I was asked if I considered myself an expert on the subject.  I paused, and said, “I was.”  “Did I hear him say ‘Fuck’?” I was asked.  “I don’t remember,” I said, “He might have.”  Picture this.  I’m sitting on the witness stand with the judge above me on my left, the jury on my right, and Morrison straight ahead.  “Did you see him make any masturbatory-t ype motions?”  I was asked.  “That depends.” I said.  “To YOU,” he asked.  “Yes,” I said.  “Well, what exactly did he do?”  “He sort of went like this.”  I said while motioning my hand as “subtly” as possible.  “I OBJECT!” said Morrison’s attorney.  “A hand motion cannot be shown in the record.”  I was asked again and repeated the motion.  The objection was repeated. “Enough of this,” the judge said, “young man, stand up.”  “Now, repeat the motion and stop your hand at the lowest point.”

Do you believe this?  A poor 20-year-old kid standing in front of all these people, looking right at Morrison, and having to repeat the same motion he was arrested for.  At the same time, they are using the same language he “might have”. Well, I guess it’s okay as long as it is not in front of the “children”; anyway, I regress. I repeated the motion stopping my hand at the lowest point (holding my hand loosely open).  The judge said, “Let it be shown in the record that his hand is opposite his belt buckle.  Now, stop your hand at the highest point.”  Way up opposite my face looking right at Morrison…  “Good show,” Morrison told me later.

The next day I returned just to follow the action.  Since I had testified already, it was okay to sit in.  Recess came.  This time, I had my camera with me for some shots.  You weren’t allowed to shoot pictures in a courtroom, I knew that. “What about taking pictures in the courtroom, during recess?” I asked.  Morrison’s attorney said, as I saw the artist doing the sketches talking to Morrison, “Go ahead.”  After the attorney responded, I started to shoot.  A moment later, I was tapped on the shoulder.  “What do you think you’re doing?” asked the bailiff.  “He said it was okay,” I responded.  “Well, it’s not.  You’re going to see the judge!”  The bailiff sat me in the jury booth.  I said, “Don’t embarrass me in front of all these people.  I don’t want to be sitting here in the jury box when court begins.  I WANT TO SEE THE JUDGE, NOW!”  “I’ll be right back!” he said as he disappeared towards the judge’s chambers.  I could have left then, but decided against “escaping”.  After all, I had done nothing wrong — I asked first.  The bailiff returned and brought me before the judge in his chambers.  “What are you going to do with these pictures?” he asked.  “They are for personal purposes,”  I said.  “I had better not see them anyplace!” he stated, being very judgelike.  “Yes, sir,” I said.

So, that’s how I got these shots.  It’s been 26 years since the “blessed event” and this is my first exhibit of the photographs.  I stopped showing them years ago.  Well, pretty exciting stuff, huh?  I eventually got away from Miami to L.A. in 1972, when I ran away with a movie star.  Now that was exciting.  But that’s another story. 

“My Daily Photograph” is David LeVine’s expression and showcase of his favorite, unique, and continuing photographs.  He features events of the particular day in history as well as noted birthdays of the day alongside a wonderful pick pic for the day.  You can subscribe to this quality service at:

David LeVine is the “official rock/art/life photographer” for the Coronado Clarion.  He brings to us the most awesome skills of photographic genius as well as supreme computer web engineering.  We are thrilled to have him on board and will be featuring an article/interview on his career and life in the next Clarion.

To order I Remember by Alan Graham:

Cover art by stupendous rock photographer, David LeVine.

Posted in Premier Issue | 1 Comment

The Victory Gardens

By Alan Graham

Coronado’s Own Victory Garden

In 1969, a local Coronado benefactor Frances Harpst decided to knock down some valuable commercial property on Orange Avenue and to put in an old-fashioned community garden – a victory garden of sorts.  It sat next door to the old San Diego Glass and Paint store which is now the Coronado Hardware store.

As part of the Second World War effort, the government rationed foods like sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat, and canned goods.  Labor and transportation shortages made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to market. So, the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant “Victory Gardens.”  They wanted individuals to provide their own fruits and vegetables.

Nearly 20 million Americans answered the call.  They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots, and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods, and formed cooperatives.

Farm families, of course, had been planting gardens and preserving produce for generations.  Now, their urban cousins got into the act — all in the name of patriotism.

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Fran’s Folly

By Fran Harpst

There are many cute and curious tales in Coronado’s history and it is with much delight and fond remembrances that we embark on the journey into the past. Come along with me on this wonderful and nostalgic sojourn down along “Memory Lane”. — Al Graham, Editor

“Pile of junk hardly a bargain – A declaration of ‘unconditional surrender’ has been signed by a defeated taxpayer – and now the City of Coronado owns a boat.  Not much of a boat, but a boat.

Informed that his boat had broken loose from its mooring in Glorietta Bay and was impounded by the city, the owner threw up his hands and cried ‘uncle’.

He sent to the city the boat’s certificate of number and certificate of ownership – all signed – with a letter hinting that he was being crushed and ‘swindled’ by the preponderance machinery of government.

He concluded, ‘…I hope not to hear another damned single word about that pile of junk…the City of Coronado should bill Mr. Kelly (former owner) for the impoundment and all other fees due, rather than wish that pile of junk upon some other unfortunate,  for it is hardly a bargain at any price!’

So now Coronado has a boat and officials don’t know exactly what to do about it.  In fact, they’re having trouble matching the registered numbers with those on the boat impounded.

The boat, a homemade iron-sided tub of about 30 feet – a ‘stinkpotter’ as yachtsmen call power boats was anchored for years at a city mooring in Glorietta Bay.

This spring it broke loose and went ashore on the rocks but tides carried it in and out and it drifted aimlessly about the area for several weeks, a general menace to other boats.

Attempts were made by the police to have either the former owner, a John D. Kelly, or the present owner, Alarik Walton, take care of the scow.  But nothing happened and it was impounded at Coronado Marine Ways…” — Coronado Journal, Thursday, March 30, 1961 –

“Coronado Rose Adopted at $380 – The ‘Coronado Rose’ has found an owner.  Mrs. Fran Harpst of 930 Bay Circle adopted the boat for $380.  Her bid was the highest of ten offers received by the city, John Halvorsen, assistant to the city manager, said.

Mrs. Harpst has moved the 34-foot, iron-hulled cabin cruiser from its Coronado Marine Ways next door to Rask Boat Building Company.

‘I’m very glad to get rid of it,’ said Foster Bryant, Marine Ways owner who held the boat in storage for the city.”

“Mrs. Harpst was one of the few who turned out for a public auction of the boat, but she did not bid.  They city had put a $300 minimum on the sale to pay for impound and storage costs.

The highest offer made at the auction was $50, turned down by the city.  Halvorsen later called persons he thought may be interested and asked for bids.”— Coronado Journal, Thursday, May 4, 1961–


Posted in Premier Issue | 2 Comments

Keeping the Faith

By Lynne Harpst Koen

When our lives are on track, all is right in our personal universe.  Good health, gatherings with friends and family, the unconditional love of our pets, et cetera.  Good times!  However, everyone gets derailed from time to time.  It’s part of life. We must learn to “man-up” — often hard to do under our own steam.  Sometimes we tend to panic and go straight to God for help — praying constantly for things to get better.  A priest once told me God answers ALL prayers, only perhaps not in the exact way we’d like Him to.  I didn’t really understand his meaning then, but now that I’ve done quite a lot of living, I get it now, loud and clear!

Personally, I’ve always felt a bit selfish praying for myself.  I have so many blessings already!  I pray for strength for everyone and everything (animals) that may be in need.  The power of prayer is limitless!  Most importantly, I offer up prayers of THANKS each and every day.  No joke.  God needs his prospers too!  I give Him a shout out whenever I can — very much a constant in my world.  When life gives me challenges, I find comfort in staying grounded — looking to the simple things rather than getting overwhelmed.  Things we tend to take for granted. I go to ground zero.  Just being alive is a biggie! Living in my own hometown, the love of my wonderful husband, tending my little garden, watching the sunset, and so on, very humbling.  It really helps put things in perspective, folks.  The trick to prayer is consistency. The rest will follow along naturally, rest assured.

The worst thing possible is to succumb to life’s low points and start feeling sorry for ourselves.  God never gives us more than we can handle.  We must trust in our faith!  He WILL give us the strength to make it through even the darkest times, but only if we truly let Him into our hearts as Lord & Savior.  It’s not as easy as it sounds to keep that faith sometimes.  I’ve had more than one crisis of faith, but with His help & our trust in Him, things always seem to work themselves out eventually.  Most people have a “higher power” they look to. Whoever it may be, it’s all good! Being Catholic, the Holy Trinity is my home team in the big ballgame that is life as we know it.  For those who are lost without a higher power, well, I pray for them too!

Miracles are abundant on a daily basis.  We simply need to choose to be open to them.  No matter how steep our hills or how low our valleys, there are always those who have it much worse than we do.  Just watch the evening news — guaranteed to cure what ails us.  OKAY, maybe not cure us completely, but it does help us feel better about your own problems!  Whatever you believe in, plan to make it work for you, not just when you’re in need, but always and forever.  Feel the positive energy surround you!  It’s all about how we live our DASH.

Lynne Harpst Koen


Posted in Keeping the Faith, Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Tom Duryea

By Kimberley Graham

Tom Duryea was born into a very special Coronado family or shall I say a definite Coronado institution.  The Duryea family came to our magical kingdom by the sea in the 1960s.  They started the first surfboard shop on the island, called “Du-ray’s”, of course.  It became “the hangout” for generations of young surfers from all over the county and state.  It was also one of the first “smoothie” bars way ahead of its time.  Tommy was the only boy amongst three energetic and industrious sisters and mother, Chris.  His father, Bob, was an accomplished and renowned surfer as well as board maker.  All the great surfers of the time hung out at Du-Ray’s.  Everyone affiliated with the exciting sport of surfing knew this family.  So, for Tommy to take to water his entire life is no surprise.

Tom is now 45 years old and carries out the family tradition with professional paddleboarding.  Born in Santa Barbara, the Duryea’s moved to Coronado when he was just a young toddler.  He has lived on the island ever since and is definitely a product of his environment.  He has been surfing since he was four years old.  These days, Tom is paddling more and surfing less “– for one it is a great form of exercise.  The fact that you’re propelling yourself through the water solely by using your arms is a great feeling.  The camaraderie’s unlike surfing.  We welcome people.  The more the merrier.”  If you know anything about the surfing kingdom, the right to a wave can be quite competitive especially in overcrowded surf break locations.

For those of you who are not familiar with this exciting sport, paddleboarding is a surface water sport in which the participant is propelled by a swimming motion on a long surfboard close to the shore.  Paddleboarding began in the 1920s when a resident of New York, Tom Blake, witnessed a small boy drowning about 50 feet from the shore line.  Thinking quickly, he yanked some bark off a nearby oak tree and used it as a flotation device to save the boy.  As this was going on, a young entrepreneur witnessed the event and decided to market the “Red” paddleboard.  This is the same board used today in lifeguard tournaments on the Jersey shore.

In 1944, while restoring historic Hawaiian boards, Blake built a replica of the “olo” surfboard ridden by ancient Hawaiian “ali’i” (kings).  This became the first modern paddleboard.  Two years later, using the same board, Blake won the first mainland surf contest which integrated both surfing and paddling.  Blake would go on to break every established paddling record available and can be thought of as the “father” of the enduring sport.  His original paddleboard design remains relevant to this day.

Paddleboarding experienced a renaissance in the early ‘80s after a Los Angeles lifeguard, Rabbi Norm Shifren’s “Waterman Race” (22 miles from Point Dume to Malibu) inspired surf journalist, Craig Lockwood, to begin production on a high quality stock paddleboard known as the “Waterman”.  Shortly after, surfboard shaper, Joe Bark and Mike Eaton (of San Diego) began production and soon became two of the largest U.S. paddleboard makers.  The idea caught on big in Hawaii as well as the mainland and paddleboarding has been consistently gaining momentum and popularity.

Today, there are five very notable events for competitive paddleboarding which include:  Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race, the Catalina Classic, Henessey’s International Paddleboard Championship, and the Hamilton Island Cup (Australia).  Some of the notable paddleboarders are Jamie Mitchell, Kyle Daniels, Michael O’Shaughnessy, Pierce Brosnan (James Bond himself), and of course, our local Tom Duryea.

Enter our Coronado champion paddleboarder:  Tom rides a stock board which measures 12 feet in length.  He is sponsored by and rides a Joe Bark custom board he helped to design.  Duryea continues his family’s legacy by working for Custom Surf in San Diego.  When not busy designing, building, and selling boards, he spends his time preparing himself for the races.  He recently won the Catalina Classic 32-mile race from the island of Catalina back to the Manhattan Beach pier in the stock board division.  The ocean conditions off Catalina were rugged and it was 32 miles of paddling across choppy, cold water.  He finished the race in 6 hours 14 minutes winning his division for the fourth time.  This is something that has never been done before.   When asked about the best part of the race, Duryea said, “The finish – It makes all that paddling worth it the minute you touch the sand.”  The rich history of this classic makes his win that much sweeter. Tom went on to say, “This race is the benchmark from what all other paddleboard races are measured by.”

In 2006, he won the Molokai to Oahu race in the stock division in just 6 hours 59 minutes.  This is a 32-mile race as well from the island of Molokai to Oahu, Hawaii.

Duryea will be competing in the Hennessey’s World Championship race on September 25.  There will be the best paddlers from Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand, and the United States competing.  It is a ten-mile course from Mission Bay to Pacific Beach.  Tom hopes to do well in this championship race but knows it will be a tough competition.  To prepare himself for the race, our own champion paddles 12 to 15 miles on Saturdays plus pulls 5-milers during the week.

The Duryea family and we at the Coronado Clarion are very proud of this fine sportsman.  So, mark the date and come down to support our champion Coronadan paddleboarder, Tom Duryea!  Good luck, Tom!

Custom Surf
Owner:  Mike Smith
5151 Santa Fe Street, Ste. A
Pacific Beach, CA  92109
(858) 270-1147
(Joe Buck paddleboards)

Posted in Premier Issue | 1 Comment

Reunion: For the Love of Cockers, Not Joe

By Suzi Lewis Pignataro, Kimberley Dill Graham, Lynne Harpst Koen as well as “Chester”, “Roscoe”, “Tobey”, “Lilly”, and “Sandy”

Suzi Lewis Pignataro’s Cockers:

I started working with traumatized children while at an internship in grad school, 25 years ago. I love my work; it’s a labor of love. There’s more fun and joy in it than one would think. Kids are amazing in their ability to recover.  They only need someone to keep them safe while doing it. That’s part of my job.  Another big part is helping them get back to themselves as playful, spontaneous, imaginative and funny people. I get to be all those things with them in the playroom, as well as motherly.


Our first Cocker Spaniel was a party-colored male we named Chester. We found him through a breeder. None of her clients wanted him; he was too big and had too few points to show. We couldn’t have cared less; we wanted a family dog.  Chester was a mad man. He was a loving little guy, but he was also crazy. For example, he developed a habit of licking furniture.  He would start at one end of the couch – his favorite – and lick all the way to the other end, then turn around and lick his way back to his original spot. He used to jump up on the dining room table to steal food. If he were caught in the act, he would spit out the morsel and flop on his side, feigning sleep with raspy dog snores. He was healthy until age six-and-a-half, when he suddenly developed a rare autoimmune disorder that was showing up in male Cockers: his liver identified its own cells as an enemy and literally attacked itself, killing Chester in three weeks’ time.  It was devastating.  We donated his liver to research at UC-Davis, where the school of veterinary medicine was attempting to identify the etiology of the disease in the hope of finding an eventual cure.

When Chester was five, we adopted Roscoe. He was six. He had been forfeited by his human who had become homeless.  Roscoe was rescued by Pets Lifeline in Sonoma.  I happened to be volunteering for them when he came in.  One look, and I knew he was ours to love. Chester was not as enthusiastic about Roscoe as we humans were. He pushed him into our pool a couple of times before the two of them came to some sort of understanding. Roscoe is 14 now. He has plates in his back knees, is going deaf, has arthritis and has the Cocker Spaniel ear issues – but he’s outside right now barking his head off at the pool guy, and he wakes us up every morning howling like a wolf.  He has years to go.

When Chester died, I went into a mourning that I knew could only be healed by adopting another Cocker. My husband Daniel and I drove to Berkeley where a rescued Cocker was being fostered. That was how we adopted Tobey.  Tobey had been found on the streets of Berkeley starving and injured. He weighed only 18 pounds when he was rescued.  By the time we met him, he was up to 23 – still small for a Cocker. Once we got him home, we found out the rest about Tobey.


As a stray, Tobey must have survived on trash and textbooks abandoned by UC- Berkeley students. He ate any garbage, piece of paper or book he could sink his teeth into. I still have the children’s books whose spines he chewed. I have them in my office where the children frequently request that I read, “One of Tobey’s books”. For the first few years, if we tried to take away the thing he was not supposed to be eating he would attack us. I was bitten twice by him. We quickly developed a hostage-negotiation relationship, where Tobey kept the object in his mouth until we offered him something more delectable. He learned that other items could be used in this manner: pencils, silverware, clothing, iPods, etc. He also had an aversion to rain, most likely the result of being homeless during the winter. It rains up to 40 inches a season here. If the air so much as smelled of rain, Tobey refused to go outside. Consequently, we had to put towels in certain areas of the house where he did his business. We grew to dread winters. Carpets and the legs of tables were ruined.

Because of the book noshing, we had to Tobey-proof all of our bookcases and bedrooms. We put a baby gate in every doorway, restricting Tobey’s access to all things munchable. I have to say, our kids were exceptionally patient about all of this, as were their friends. After Tobey passed away and the gates were retired to the garage, we still “stepped over” them.  It took us weeks to stop doing that.

In the five years we had him, Tobey cost us $13,000 in vet bills. He was treated for hypothyroidism, epilepsy, mange, chronic ear infections (leading to him having his ear canals removed), total blindness, a rare disease called Pemphigus (an autoimmune disease found mostly in the tropics, in which the proteins that keep the skin knitted together break down – the skin literally breaks apart) which almost killed him, cysts that burst, and hepatitis – the disease that caused his death. He was a huge challenge, but he was our baby. It took him three years to recover from whatever horrors he experienced before being rescued. For those three years, we never knew whether Tobey would lick us or bite us. But with unconditional love, we helped him heal. He might have been a medical disaster, but he turned out to be the most loving dog I have ever known. In the last two years of his life, all he wanted was to be with us. All he wanted was to have a cuddle with his mommy and daddy. That’s how he left this world – having a cuddle.

Daniel and I have entertained the thought of trying another breed, one with fewer health issues. The truth is, we go ga-ga every time we see a Cocker. I think it would be easy for me to adopt another breed – I have had other dogs – but Daniel’s first dog was Chester. He’s only known Cockers, and Argentines are nothing if not sentimental and loyal.


Back to Roscoe, our 14-year-old Cocker:

Roscoe has two personalities: That of a dignified but grumpy old curmudgeon, and that of a highly sensitive and creative being. Mostly, we live with the curmudgeon. Seldom does Roscoe seek or accept affection, and often he voices his complaint about our attempts at babying him. But, on the rare occasion, he will surprise and delight us with such fancies as “bone art”, or playing soccer with the kids, or falling head over heels in love with our neighbor’s Suffolk ewe who, unfortunately, does not return his affection.

I provide therapy for young children who have been traumatized. I never considered that Roscoe could be of any help in my “playroom”. I imagined him voicing his complaints about the children’s loudness, their messiness or their attempts at giving and receiving affection. He proved me wrong. One day last winter, Roscoe’s weekly visit to my office’s acupuncturist overlapped with my first session with a severely abused and neglected six-year-old boy. The boy huddled in a corner of my room absently playing with my dollhouse, refusing to engage with me. A scratch at the door brought in Roscoe. I worried how he would react to the boy, and how the boy would react to him. At first, Roscoe did not see the boy in the corner and walked toward his favorite spot in my room near the couch; but he picked up the boy’s scent, and turned toward the corner where the boy sat with his back to us.

“Uh-oh,” I thought, imagining Roscoe growling at the child. As I moved to intervene, Roscoe did the incredible. He trotted over to the boy, a worried look furrowing his brow, and sat down next to him. Without a word or a turn of his head, the boy put his arm around Roscoe and leaned against him with a sigh.  Roscoe turned his head toward me, his eyes speaking of the sadness he felt coming from the boy. Then he turned to lick the boy’s cheek, which was tear-stained.

That was Roscoe’s first session as the boy’s therapy dog. Every week, Roscoe waited in my reception area for him to arrive and escorted him to my playroom.  Every week, he and the boy sat by the dollhouse. Roscoe positioned himself to protect the boy from unseen danger. Gradually, the boy began to create scenes in the dollhouse from his horrific past, with Roscoe and I as his witnesses.

Roscoe has since gained a reputation for being a dog capable of “sniffing out” a child’s deepest feelings, a gift he has put to good use with a dozen children.

Enter Kimberley Graham and Lilly Belle:

Frankie, my cancer recovery dog, was gifted to me on Mother’s day after a week-long hospitalization from a bad reaction to the first round of chemotherapy in my fight against breast cancer.  He was a “dorkie”, a cross between a Dachshund and a Yorkshire terrier.  He fit in one’s palm, he was so tiny.  Frankie, named after my husband’s favorite brother, went on to become the joy of my life, while I battled a yearlong struggle with two surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments.  He snuggled under the covers with me at night and followed me everywhere by day.  We even showered together.  He was my constant entertainment and the only one who could seem to bring me joy.  Two days, before this Mother’s Day, Frankie went missing.  After a month-long campaign and an oath to my healing companion that we would always search for him, we found out he was hit by a car two blocks from our home.

During that month of June, I was so distraught.  I could not be dissuaded from the constant campaign of searching for “Frankie Dog”.  On Mother’s Day, two days after he went missing, my family and friends again gifted me with a puppy.  She was a half-a-foot long blonde “miniature” cocker spaniel purchased from a popular puppy shop in Mission Valley where they sell puppies to the innocents for over a thousand dollars.  Because of my story of losing Frankie and the breast cancer survival, the store owner, gave my family a bargain.  We named her “Lil’ Something”.  Well, a bargain, she wasn’t.  Lil’ Something was not a miniature cocker spaniel.  She was a diseased puppy mill dog infested with spaghetti-sized worms among other infestations, a respiratory infection, and a definite aggression-disorder.  She would immediately growl at me when I touched her and aggressively try to bite my face.  She was not a Frankie dog.  I was so sad from losing “my baby” that I could not bring myself to bond with this puppy especially with her deposits all over my carpets that well-intended family members and guests would trot all over the house.  I was a-cleaning constantly as well as having to afford large veterinarian bills.  Plus she made sounds and had mannerisms that would make me feel Frankie’s ghost.

After a series of veterinarian appointments, medication treatments, and improvements in her diet, Lil’ Something started to grow and grow and grow.  She needed a new name.  My daughter, Ariel, said she wanted to call her “Lilly”, and Lilly she became.

Weeks passed and I began to notice my new puppy as well as the two kittens well-intentioned friends also gifted me to make me feel better.  My home had become a play fest for baby animals.  Who could not notice?  I began to pay attention to all these little varmits.  Benny, Esperanza, and Lilly – the crazy, shedding, pooping, always playing babies.  They started to creep up into my psyche and started my healing process.

Enter Lynne Harpst Koen:

Lynne Harpst and I, Kimberley Dill, grew up alongside each other, but never were really acquainted.  My husband, Al Graham, had known her well while she was growing up as he worked closely with her mother, Fran, on several projects.  We were recently introduced through him as we shared not only a deep affection for my husband, but a love of our hometown, Coronado.  After a suggestion that we have a girls’ day in which we walk our dogs on Lilly’s first dog walk, we got together.

Lynne has two rescued adoption dogs – Rockit and Boo.  They are small dogs and have known their own issues as well.  Lynne with her husband, George Koen, have salvaged these mistreated and sick dogs into healthy, happy family members.

Lilly and I arrived a bit nervous at the doorstep of the Koen’s home trepidly wondering how we would do on our first day out as a mommy and a puppy duo.  We were still not even sure of ourselves.  The door opens and Lilly on her first day on a leash enters.  Rockit and Boo excitedly approach.  Lilly starts to scream.  I have never heard any dog make that sound.  She then proceeds to pee all over the tile floor.  I picked Lilly up to comfort her and she then pee-d all over me.  While I was trying to recover from this puppy insanity, Rockit lifted his leg and pee-d all over the wall in the foyer.  Good start – all of us – on our first visit – in an effort to get to know one another.

Well, Lynne, the trooper that she is, grabbed Lilly from me wrapped her in a towel, asked her housekeeper to clean up, and escorted me outside for refreshments.  She pronounced that today is “Lilly’s Coming Out Day” and she was now officially “Auntie Lynne”.  She went on to say that her only granddaughter is named “Lilly” and the family nicknamed her “Lilly Belle”.  Now, my Lilly is officially Lilly Belle as well.  Auntie Lynne made me promise that she could treat us to a day at Wags-N-Tails with special girlie-dog puppy gifts to make both Lilly and I feel bonded.  And that is just what she did – pink baby blanket saying, “I Love My Mommy”, a special puppy dog bed, healthy puppy treats, bright pink harnass and leash, and lovely toys just for Lilly Belle.  Up until this time, she was playing with Frankie’s playthings, which would break my heart every time I heard them squeak.

Lilly and I went home officially bonded and we came out as an official puppy and mommy.  Lilly is now still growing.  She’s commanded my attention and demanded my love.  I now officially love her and I thank Frankie for being my angel – for giving me someone to help replace his loss.  He has official wings and watches over and provides stewardship trying to teach Lilly to be nicer to her mommy, who still nips and growls, but in her own way adores me.

"Lilly's Coming Out Day"

Sandy was her mother’s dog when Lynne came into the world.  She was a beautiful blonde cocker spaniel.  Lilly reminds Lynne and her brother very much of their beloved Sandy.  In a poignant e-mail and later a card, Lynne designated Sandy as Lilly’s Guardian Angel.  Sandy and Lynne also gifted me a statue of a little girl angel holding a small dog.  The plaque reads, “Always in Our Hearts”.  I, Suzie, Lynne, Sandy, Rockit, Boo, Frankie, Chester, Roscoe, Tobey, and Lilly are always in ours.

Sandy, Lilly's Gaurdian Angel

Enter Suzi and her cockers:

Suzi Lewis and I, Kimberley Dill-Graham, were best friends growing up.  We lived two blocks from one another – I, on Glorietta Boulevard and she, at the foot of the Tenth Street hill at Pomona.  We had many all-night sleepovers where we wrote love letters to The Beatles.  We shared many a wonderful childhood memory that only friends of our sort could share.  How about having a slumber party for my birthday on the night JFK was assassinated just for starters?  How about purchasing your very first album, which wasn’t The Beatles, it was by the Rolling Stones?  My favorite song was the obscure, “Just Walkin’ the Dog”.  How about sharing when you had first signs of puberty?  How about sharing when your first kiss was?  How about just sharing your dreams?  And I’ll meet you at the Village Theater, what are you wearing?  We are bonded in these memories.  We are taken back.

Suzi and I lost touch decades ago – just as we embarked upon growing up and growing away from our beloved island, Coronado.  After thirty-something years, Suzi asked to be “friends” on Facebook.  I was thrilled and responded immediately.  What brought us back together and officially bonded us were our shared feelings for the cocker spaniels, not Joe’s.  We have renewed our childhood friendship.  She is now an official contributing editor for the Coronado Clarion as her muse allows.  We welcome her and her stories as well as those of Auntie Lynne’s.

Big hugs to all of us doggie lovers and friends.

NOTE:  In honor of Frankie’s memory, we, at the Coronado Clarion with our special donors, are establishing “Frankie’s Friendly Little Dog Park” at the Ferry Landing.  It will officially open this winter, 2010 with a kickoff festival of rock n’ roll entertainment, a little dog costume competition, raffle prizes, and a Second Chance Dog Rescue adoption of little dogs as well as food and drink.

Come join us and celebrate Frankie’s memory, Lilly’s future, and the pleasure of little dogs running free safely with others.

Posted in Premier Issue | 1 Comment

Speaker’s Corner

For over 150 years, every Sunday morning in London’s Hyde Park, thousands of people gather at Speaker’s Corner to discuss and debate politics and life issues.  It is a marvelous event where anyone, citizens and tourists alike, can stand up on a stage or a soapbox and speak or yell their opinions as loud as they want to.  The crowd is feisty, enthusiastic, well-informed, and much ready to engage.

We at the Clarion would like to offer a similar forum to all citizens of Coronado in print and on our website.  We urge our readers to submit letters and opinions to the Speaker’s Corner:

Al Graham

Dear Speaker’s Corner:

A few weeks ago, in a spirit of utter frustration, and after weeks and weeks of reading Mr. Kelly’s weekly column, invariably full of extremist rhetoric, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Coronado Eagle/Journal.  In the letter, I cited my belief in the right to free speech, and asked him, in the cause of fairness, to print my letter.  Of course, my letter made it to the wastebasket file.  As I have heard, so have the letters of many others.

My goal was to suggest that Mr. Kelly be more careful in his fact checking, if any, and to point out that often his passionate assertions are twisted to support his extremist ideology.  For example, he ranted against the confirmation of Elena Kagan.  Ms. Kagan is a woman who is utterly qualified to be a Supreme Court justice by most reasonable accounts.  She is praised at length and not at all like the rude, attack-dog language of Senator Jeff Sessions during the hearings.  Sessions, by the way, had also attacked Sonya Sotomayor much in the same fashion, another qualified and admirable woman.  “Alas!”  They both were confirmed.

In my rejected letter, I pointed out that Jeff Sessions was nominated to the Supreme Court a few Republican-eras back and was SOUNDLY REJECTED by both the Judicial Committee and the Senate.  His attacks on these selections are clearly related to that profound disappointment.

But when KELLY maligned the British health care system, I had to speak out.  My daughter, lives in Wales, lived in London, and has been a long-time resident of the U.K.  I was there when she bore her daughter and was amazed at the quality of the system in regards to childbirth.  It was a thoughtful and professional event.  A nurse actually visits the home of the prospective mother before her time, and then after the birth on her return home.  The nurse comes by again for another follow-up and to ask if there are any questions or if help of any sort is needed.

Later, when Amy needed an emergency heart valve operation, I was there a few days after her surgery.  She was very complimentary about the surgical excellence and the attention that she received.  Before I left California, I was actually able to speak to a nurse on her hospital floor by telephone.  The nurse spoke with me at length regarding her condition.

When Mr. Kelly called the American health care system the “best in the world”, I was compelled to quote two charts I had recently seen in Time magazine as well as the New York Times – hardly fly-by-night publications – who cited U.S. health care as 17th in the world with U.S. neonatal care, based on mortalities, as 27th.  Kelly then proceeded to knock “Obamacare” as a joke.  I then wondered if we would soon see him promoting a picture of our president with a Hitler moustache, and/or sipping tea with that party group along with the Mad Hatter.

Recently, Kelly praised the proposition policy of our state as the “will of the people”, when most “thinkers”, particularly those with a sense of law, wish duly elected legislators would serve to put forth the will of the people as our system demands — not the persons with an attitude or an ax to grind, who thrust clipboards at us asking for signatures in front of Wal-Mart or Target, in support of some emotionally based idea.

In closing, I simply have to cite a cartoon from the New Yorker showing a father and his son sitting on the floor and looking under the boy’s bed with a flashlight.  The father’s comment, “See, son, no socialists!”


Rita Wack

Posted in Premier Issue | 2 Comments

I Got Your Inheritance Right Here

By Vincent Garnell

When my mother died, she left a substantial inheritance to be shared between myself and my three brothers.

The day we all gathered for the reading of the will was the single most awful day of my life and my brothers that were once very close to me had now become my enemies.

My older brother wanted me to agree with them that our big family house should be sold and my other siblings agreed.  I wanted to keep the old home which was full of wonderful memories of our childhood but they felt nothing for it and its history.  To them, it was just an old building, and they wanted the money to buy new cars and condos in Hawaii.

I was so angry that they did not care about our family history.  I was so disappointed that they were not interested in preserving what was once so important to us all and was now cast aside.  My older brother claimed that he was due most of the inheritance because he had greater needs than the rest of us. He had four children and his wife was a social climber and wanted a prestigious modern house to live in.

The will was read and my older brother beamed when my mother’s wishes were read stating that he be the final word on all matters of finance and property.  He decided that he would sell the house and keep most of the profits.

When my father died a year earlier, my brother promised my mother that he would never sell the old house and that it would always remain in the family no matter what.  She left him in control of the entire estate believing that he would be true blue just like dad was throughout his life.

Mother had suffered the rigors of dementia before she died and my brother did not come to see her at all because he claimed it was too disturbing to his wife. She could not tolerate the mood swings:  happy, sad, angry.  It was all so loathsome to her, and my brother backed her to the hilt.

My mother would always ask for him:  Where was he?”  Why did he not come to her when she needed him?  I tried to get him to come to see her without his wife, but she was intractable.  She would not be coming to visit mom and she would not allow him to do so either.

Mom eventually rationalized his absence.  One morning, she suddenly announced that she wanted to go visit his grave site.  Before she died, and in her delusional state, she started telling everyone that her son had been killed in a car accident as he was on his way to visit her.

“When I die I will be buried right next to my loving son and we will be in heaven together very soon.”  She would whisper these words over and over to herself.

We did not have the heart to tell her that he was forbidden to visit.  So we just went along with her sweet fantasy.  We never tried to have her change the will because that would have broken her heart to know he was still alive but would not come to see her in the living years.

Suddenly, there were four lawyers representing four different factions.  My other two brothers did not like the idea that the older one was taking the lion’s share of the estate for himself.  They had “needs”, and like him, they were out for themselves first.

Loud and angry diatribes were hurled back and forth between them as I stood on the sidelines watching in disgust.  My once loving brothers had now turned on each other over the root of all evil.  The sin of greed stood tall and all of the evil that comes with it was now swirling around us all like some terrible leakage of raw sewage.

Suddenly, I am devoid of family as surely as if they have all left for another country far away.   Even though I am alone, I am fine with it.  They had become greedy rivals and fought viciously for “my share” leaving only the echo of the loving family I once had.  It was gone forever.  I did not care because to see them fighting like lions and tearing each other to pieces was like being in an everlasting nightmare.

The loving memories I once had are now as dead as dead flowers.  As I stand by my mother’s grave, the autumn leaves fly by in a strong wind.  I watch them as they dance across the graves and disappear out of sight.  They are gone never to return again.

Posted in Premier Issue | 1 Comment

Nina’s Story

By Nina Odele.


I was born in 1957. It was in the days when good little children were seen and not heard. “Mother” would dress me up to greet her company for five minutes, then banish me to my room for the rest of the night. I thought that was perfectly normal until I got a bit older and realized that was the exception rather than the rule. It really wasn’t all Mother’s fault, though, as “Grandmother” raised her the same way — sort of. Actually, Mother was raised by nannies in Hollywood. Mother went to school with the likes of Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.

But I digress. Grandmother was from “Old School Atlanta”. She was a very proper “Southern Lady”. Grandmother’s family had a long-established history in the South. In her younger years, Grandmother was one of Mark Twain’s “Angel Fish”. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) also spoke at Grandmother’s graduation ceremony from prep school. I have that photo hanging in the hallway. My grandfather was an

author who later became a screenwriter. The “Family” relocated from Atlanta to Hollywood when “talkies” (movies with sound) were invented.Mother passed away on April 7th of this year. We had a turbulent relationship, but we were fine at the end. The last thing she ever said to me was, “You’re a good kid.” That was the closest thing to “I Love


You” I ever heard from her so that was just fine with me. Better than fine. All my life, whenever I told her “I Love You,” her patterned response was always, “I know.” She just wasn’t equipped to say the “L” word.

As a child growing up in Coronado, I was forced into culture at a very young age. I knew which fork to use before I even had teeth! I’m kidding, of course, but you get the point. I took a plethora of lessons: ballet, piano, cotillion, tennis, guitar, even organ (because we just happened to have one in our house.)

I was also subjected to numerous operas as a child. I was raised in an extremely strict Catholic household. When I was around 12 years old, Mother started joining all sorts of organizations. She was on the Coronado Hospital Board, USD Board, and countless other Catholic committees, too numerous to name. Mother was gone quite a lot which is when I started to rebel: typical teen antics, 70’s-style. I never did anything that anyone else wasn’t doing at the time, only I was the one who always seemed to get caught. It never failed. I was the worst liar ever. Still am, which in hindsight, I’m very happy about.

After high school, I was sent up to San Francisco for college. I’d never been north of Los Angeles. It was scary, yet very exciting. I was pre-med. I could easily handle the course load, but I had a boyfriend in San Diego who I missed terribly.

I dropped out of school after two semesters. I was promptly disowned. I somehow managed to fib my way into a job as a PBX (switch board) operator at Copley Newspapers in La Jolla. It was a good job and I liked it there but I was only 18. After about a year, I felt stuck in a rut so I went back to school. I majored in theater arts and that’s where I met my first husband.

I had absolutely no intention of getting married, but I got pregnant. So this Catholic girl had a shotgun wedding. My first daughter was born in November of 1978. I was 20 — two weeks short of 21. The marriage was a wash. It lasted two agonizing years.

I was a single mom for five years when I met my second husband. That romance was swift and very intense. We married in March of 1983 and my second daughter was born in November of 1984. Hubby No.Two was unfaithful, among other things, and we divorced in 1986. I found myself a single mom again, which was much better than being miserable. I went back to school, again, and decided to become an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Upon course completion, I got a job right away. Only problem was it was a graveyard shift and I had two kids. It was too much stress, so I quit. To this day, I’m glad I have all that field knowledge, as I’ve been first responder on many emergencies throughout the years. It’s very nice to know how to save a life.

The years passed by, and in 1991, I decided to move my “Girls” out to the country. We bought a small ranch in Ramona. Shortly thereafter, I joined the Sheriff’s Department. Life was good. We had horses, dogs, and even goats. Then I met my third daughter’s dad, and life took yet another turn. I got pregnant after three months of dating. I was 35 years old. I wanted my baby, but I didn’t want another marriage. I got one anyway.

My Mother the Model, Fran Harpst

That marriage lasted six years, three of which we were separated. Then Mother got very sick; so I moved back to Coronado with my youngest daughter. The older girls were already established in Ramona.

One time, I was visiting my older sister in northern California. She had mentioned to me on previous occasions that a male friend of hers had an interest in me. I usually said, “Oh, that’s nice,” and changed the subject. However, this time, I said, “Okay. Give me his number.” I’d met him several times at family gatherings over the years; only we were both

married at the time. Now we were both divorced. I had his phone number for weeks until I finally got the courage up to call him.

When we finally connected, it was like Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July all wrapped into one. With my track record, I was hesitant, but the “real” love bug had bitten us hard. There was no denying he was “the one”. Our first date was August 11, 2006. We were married on August 11th, 2008.

Together we live a charmed life. We are blessed with five grandchildren and two more on the way — one from his side, the other from mine. Life is good, yet it’s been a wild ride to get to where we are today. We are constantly thankful for our many blessings.

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Lil’ Pumkins

By Nina Odele

When I was a little girl, I thought all grandparents had to be at least 100 years old. Maybe there was some sort of rule that they be old and wrinkled up?  Of course, that was from a child’s perspective.  Now, at 53 years old, I have four wonderful grandchildren with another on his way any day now!

I must confess that at first I wasn’t too sure about my new role as “Nana”.  It was similar to becoming a Mom for the first time — that little bit of nervousness combined with anticipation and excitement –Am I worthy? — that sort of thing. However, just like when my own children were born, “Nana-hood” came quite naturally for me.  Now I can’t even imagine not having these four wonderful kids as a part of my life.  They are walking, talking, “Blessings from Heaven!”

The circle of life is so amazing.  Mother passed away four months ago in April 2010.  Dad passed several years ago. When Mother passed it suddenly dawned upon me that now I’m officially an “orphan”.  Sounds a bit silly at my age, but it really does take some getting used to.  There are still times when I want to pick up the phone and call my parents, but then reality sets in.  I heave a huge sigh then turn to the positive.   I can “talk” to my parents anytime I want to now!  They just don’t answer back, which is not necessarily such a bad deal in Mother’s case.  We locked horns all my life, but I honestly do miss her with all my heart.

Mother loved gardening.  It was her life’s passion.  Gardening brought her the joy that nothing else could.  The last thing Mother ever planted with her own bare hands was a small crop of pumpkins.  She adored the fall season.  It was her absolute very favorite time of the year.  For whatever reason, this year’s pumpkin crop came to fruition at the beginning of August. Go figure!  The crop bore five lovely pumpkins.  Interestingly enough, the exact right amount for each of Mother’s great grandchildren to have one, even the new little one, as yet unborn.  I washed the pumpkins and brought them to the house.

Last weekend, all the grandkids were here for a visit.  I let them each choose their very own pumpkin to take home.  I also explained that Great Grandma grew those pumpkins just for them.  My grandkids are all very young still, so I’m not sure if they caught the meaning of just how extremely special those particular pumpkins are.  In any case, it warmed my heart beyond belief to see them cruising around with their brand new pumpkins.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Mother was smiling down at all of us from Heaven that day.  I thought about the whole circle of life thing. For our family, on that particular day, that circle had a color.  It was orange.


Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Second Chance Dog Rescue

By Kimberley Graham

Recently, the Coronado Clarion staff had the great pleasure of meeting Sandra Simpson, president of the Second Chance Dog Rescue organization.  Sandra is very hard-working, conscientious, and remarkably selfless as she forwards the cause of this amazing charity.  She is a testament to humanity and what can be accomplished through perseverance coupled with a huge heart.  Together with the other selfless “rescue team” members, volunteers, and co-founders, Second Chance Dog Rescue is proof of what noteworthy and astonishing feats can be achieved.

What is Second Chance Dog Rescue?  Second Chance Dog Rescue is one of San Diego’s largest and most successful non-profit 501c3 organizations dedicated to saving homeless dogs.  The staff of volunteers rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home dogs from local shelters, owner-surrendered dogs, and dogs from Baja California, Mexico.  Once Second Chance receives a dog, their volunteer veterinarian staff provides medical care, including spaying and neutering along with any necessary rehabilitation.  The organization have saved over 1,600 dogs since they started rescue in November, 2008.

Sandra Simpson came to the United States from England in her late twenties, and rose to become one of San Diego’s top real estate agents/brokers.  Fifteen years ago, she was asked to sponsor a rescue dog at a shelter in Baja, Mexico.  Meeting the dog in person touched her heart so much, her life was changed forever.  Sandra devoted her time, money, and countless hours to helping the homeless dogs at the Baja shelter.  After a decade of volunteering with them, she decided to broaden her passion to include saving dogs and ending the misery of puppy mills in the United States as well as continuing her work in Mexico.

In the fall of 2008, along with co-founders:  Jason Cordoba, Maria Blake, and Sarah Ferrara, Second Chance Dog Rescue was formed.  The founders recognized the urgent need in our community.  “We pride ourselves on being a rescue group that is flexible and non-breed specific.  We also have the ability to rescue senior dogs as well as those with health or medical issues.”

Second Chance Dog Rescue has accomplished a true miracle.  After successfully rescuing over 1,600 dogs from euthanasia in just two short years, Second Chance has placed these animals in loving, safe, forever homes.  How has this all been possible?  Through the utilization of a team of very dedicated volunteers who bring a wealth of experience regarding canine behaviors, keen business sense, use of modern technology networking, and a philosophy of keeping the welfare of the dogs its first priority.  With the support of so many, Second Chance hopes to set a fine example while maintaining the highest standards of excellence in the dog rescue community.

This non-profit is operated solely by volunteerism with no central kennel or shelter location.  All of their dogs are in private homes, so “if it weren’t for our wonderful foster families, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”  Being a foster with Second Chance is a rewarding experience as you are helping to save another dog’s life!  “We can only rescue the amount of dogs that we have fosters for so we are always looking for new fosters.  We provide you with all the supplies and needed vet care – you provide the dog with love, companionship, and guidance” until they are successfully adopted or you adopt the dog yourself.

“Just as we work to find the right foster dog for you, Second Chance also works hard on finding the right forever home for our rescues.”

Sandra has personally asked the Coronado Clarion to reach out and encourage the community of Coronado to consider joining their fostering program.  Because our dog-loving citizenry, she feels we could provide wonderful opportunities for many of these unfortunate canines to prosper and have a “happy ending” life.  The more foster families on board, the more animals can be saved.  One visit to any animal shelter will, unfortunately, reveal the great need to be filled for our fellow creatures.

Sandra has two rescue dogs of her own:  Dulce and Benjie.  In truth, Sandra can be summed up in one word, and that word is, “lifesaver”.  We, at the Coronado Clarion, are partnering our resources with Second Chance in spreading the word as well as supporting their invaluable work to the canine community.

Lenahan’s Story:

I was kicked to the curb on the city street
I was no longer a puppy — she didn’t think I was “neat”

I soon found myself on my own four feet

I thought I found shelter next to a bar

The shiny lights made me think the car was far

Next thing I knew I was in a cop car

I now have a temporary pin in my leg

It hurts to walk and I hate to beg
But I need surgery soon or I will have a wooden peg

Lenahan was found one night by a loving police officer.  His little leg was broken in two.  He was crying next to a dumpster in a parking lot on the wrong side of town.  The officer took him to an emergency hospital where they put a temporary pin in his leg and cast.

We got a quote on a surgery for $3,500 to get him fixed up.  He also needs his baby teeth removed.  He is 1 years old and is a Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound mix.  Lenahan has no microchip, tag, or collar.

“If you could donate a few dollars towards his surgery, it would be greatly appreciated.  We will keep you updated on his surgery and when he gets a new home.  We are at $1,420 as of Tuesday, September 14, 2010.”

Second Chance Dog Rescue

2435 C Street, Ste. 5
San Diego, CA  92102
(619) 231-6960
Tax ID # 26-3642128

On a lighter note, Second Chance Dog Rescue is hosting its first fundraiser, the “Spooktacular” Creeps for Critters event, to be held on October 30, 2010.  The proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit our medical fund.  The Spooktacular will be held at the San Diego Country Club from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.  Tickets are $100 and include dinner and a cocktail.  Guests must be 21 or over.  Please join us the staff of the Coronado Clarion and the wonderful dog-loving Second Chance community for lots of fun and celebration in honor of our doggies.  Come in cocktail attire or costumes.  The event is sponsored by Eastlake Village Vet Clinic.

Reserve your tickets at:
(619) 721-3647 (or)

Second Chance is still in need of sponsors for the silent auction and program costs.  Silent Auction items and donations must be delivered to SCDR Headquarters by October 16, 2010.  All gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.  Second Chance Dog Rescue hopes that you will join us in saving dogs by contributing to our worthy cause.

Please contact:

Maria Blake, SILENT AUCTION Coordinator
SCDR’s Creeps for Critters Charity Event
(619) 252-7081 (Cell)

(619) 239-0895 (Office)

Posted in Coronado Canine, Premier Issue | 1 Comment

Blue House/Electric Car

By Al Graham

The blue house looks as if it was once used as a set for an episode of the Twilight Zone.  In reality, it really has stopped as if frozen in time, and in a wonderful time, when things were simple and people were happy.

Mike makes the coolest belly boards.  He also crafts unique jewelry, fantastic wood carvings, and he even custom makes his own bicycles.

Back in the day, Mike built an electric car.  It was an air-cooled, VW beetle.  The batteries gave it enough charge to drive to Imperial Beach and back only.  But, by god, the man was way beyond the times because today, battery-driven cars are ubiquitous on Coronado city streets

This old house is painted sea blue and has a vegetable garden in front.  There was once a big brick barbecue pit in the back lovingly built by Mike’s dad; and even though it started to crumble, Mike saved all the bricks and uses them here and there around the house.

Mike’s wife Pamela is an artist and a champion hat decorator.  She lovingly shows off the brightly colored one she won first prize for at the Hotel Del Coronado.

If Mike and Pamela were birds, they would be love birds just like the ones they keep in the front room, who incidentally have been given enough space in the living room for a thousand birds to gather.

The house is a living monument to peace and happiness and it sits like a 1960’s hippie house amidst a sea of new construction of not-so-fine houses.  Unlike their beautiful, cheerful beach cottage, these houses are built using every square inch of land leaving very little lawn or a place to grow things.

The old days are long gone but Mike and Pamela are loving custodians of a house full of tender memories.  Take a sweet walk down memory lane to a time when people were nice to each other.  A time when we built things with our own hands and the world seemed far less complex.

Memory Lane
By Al Graham

Do you recall
We sang all the while

Your afternoons they were golden
Everything had a reason.

Memory lane
No ones in pain
Time has stopped turning
Roses fragrance last forever.

Someone just called
They’re so far away
And the rain comes crying down
Bringing the dreams back to life again.

Memory lane
Is calling again
Sail there when the snow flies
All your dreams are around you.
Memory Lane…Memory Lane… Memory lane

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

The Nicolas Avery Brown Foundation

Hi!  My name is Nicolas Avery Brown and I am a smart, precocious nine-year-old. I was born with a disability called Myotubular Myopathy.  It means that I have low-toned muscles.  I am wheelchair bound and I get sick really easy. I’ve been in the hospital over 30 times in the past seven years for respiratory issues.  I have spent most holidays in the hospital, especially in the winter.  I don’t mind so much because the hospital has room service and the nurses are really nice. My mom calls the hospital our “home away from home” and we make the best of it whenever we are there.

I don’t get to go to school anymore which makes me sad because I don’t get to hang out with my friends and take French class and go to chess club, but I get sick and have to go in the hospital because I catch sickness from other kids. My mom is home schooling me right now and I am a straight-A student.  I love to play video games and board games and watch Dragon Ball Z.  People ask me if I want to walk.  I don’t know how to answer that question because I don’t know what it feels like to walk.  I have a manual wheelchair that I use at home and a power wheelchair when I go out. I can go really fast in my power wheelchair and I like to race people.  I hope to be able to play Power Soccer on a team if I stay well.

My mom is a single mom, which means that my dad doesn’t live with us.  She works hard to take care of me and to pay the bills.  I have everything I need but sometimes I don’t get to do or have some of the things I would like because my mom can’t afford it.  We meet a lot of other kids like me.  It is hard to take care of a special needs child, especially when they are in the hospital, and to work at the same time.  My mom and I decided to start this foundation so that we could help other kids like me and families like us.

A lot of stuff isn’t covered by insurance and it would be nice to help pay for another kid’s prescriptions so they can stay well and feel good.  I wish that every kid in a wheelchair could ride horses and go to camp.  I wish that all moms and dads could have a babysitter for their kids so they can do something fun.  I wish that people have somewhere nice to stay while their kid is at the hospital.  I wish that everyone has good food and someone to talk to and hug when they are sad. I hope that The Nicolas Avery Brown Foundation can do that and more.

1523 First Street, R111
Coronado, CA 92118

Thanks to the generosity  shown by  John and Ann Widay, and their daughter, Catherine, for graciously donating luxury box Padres’ seats to Nicholas Avery Brown:  Take Me Out to the Ball Game!!!

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment


By Nina Odele

I recently inherited a Merriam Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary published in 1959, when I was two years old. This dictionary is very beautiful, leather-bound, and still in great condition.  It was my Mother’s.

We writers are an odd bunch.  Sometimes a word just sticks in our heads and the only way to stop the madness is to write about it.  Today, for me, that word is “empathy.”  I quite literally woke up this morning with that word screaming in my brain!  When I was about twelve years old, Mother and I had one of our serious talks.  I sat down in her library, my palms sweaty, wondering what I was in trouble for this time!  As it turned out, Mother actually wanted to praise me for something. She also wanted to warn me about something as well.

Getting right to the point, Mother said there are two types of people in this world — those with empathy and those without. Then she asked me if I knew what empathy meant.  I said, “No, I did not.”  She said empathy is having the God-given knack to put your self into someone else’s shoes, and therefore, gaining a caring understanding of their various predicaments.  She told me I had empathy for others, whereas she did not.  I was confused.  Was empathy a bad thing?  Mother said, “No, it’s a very good thing unless you let it take you too far.”  She went on to explain that some people will try to play the “empathy card” in order to change empathy into sympathy.  Mother then asked me if I understood what she was trying to tell me.  I nodded yes, but I was still a bit confused.  As with most things in life, this was one of those things we must experience first hand in order to fully grasp the meaning of it.

That little conversation always stuck with me, and much later on, I learned the difference between empathy and sympathy — by trial and error, mostly by error in the beginning.   I’ve unwillingly been drawn into several people’s problematic lives over the years.  Although the scary thing is when other people’s problems take precedence over your own.  It’s a vortex that is seemingly impossible to escape, sort of like trying to run away from the boogie man in a nightmare.  Your feet want to move but somehow they stay firmly planted in place.  I inadvertently sympathized when I should have empathized.

As a result, here is what I have learned: Be there for others, but don’t do their work FOR them.  This may establish a pattern of dependence that can drag on indefinitely.  Be caring, yet firm.  Let people know that they must help themselves in order to grow mentally, emotionally, and financially.  Remind people that no matter how bad things may seem, there are always others who have it much worse than they do.  Be a good friend, a shoulder to cry on, et cetera.  But don’t be a fly in the web that is someone else’s dysfunction.  It will drain your soul — guaranteed.

Now, back to Merriam Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary:  This morning, when I went to look up empathy, a tiny gift card dropped out of that exact page! On the front was a silly little Christmas elf.  It said “I’m Not Santa, But…”  Then the inside said “Merry Christmas Anyway!”  No signature.  I chuckled to myself that the dictionary was pre-book marked to the precise page I wanted. Thanks Mother!

Empathy — “Imaginative projection of one’s own consciousness into another being.”

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Lest We Forget/Salute

By A. R. Graham.

I stood by the bay near Il Fornaio restaurant on a lovely September morning watching the morning sun rise above our Magical Kingdom by the Sea.

The baritone singer could be heard from 200 yards away:   “Back in 1893, the CPO he said to me…”  As the singing drew nearer to me, I also heard a large group of other male voices echoing the sing-song lyrics:  “Back in 1893, the CPO he said to me…”  They jogged into view with the song now booming loudly across the bay.  It was a group of soon-to-be Navy chiefs led by two very athletic officers.  As they jogged by, they all paid their respects to the civilians who walked past them.  “Good morning, Sir.  Good morning, Ma’am.”

As the group passed by, it was evident that they were thoroughly tired from the arduous exercising.  Very soon there after, I thought that they had stopped for a well-deserved rest.  This was not the case at all.  For when I decided to take a closer look, I saw the men standing rigid as they were called to attention by the tough-looking officer.

“Left face,” the squad moved in perfect unison, and with just a slight pause, the officer spoke again, “and salute.”  Again, the squad in unison with a snap of the wrist followed by a crisp salute, they obeyed. 

Out on the bay, it was calm.  The buildings on the skyline were gleaming in the morning sun.  It was a magnificent day.  Now, I understood why they were saluting and why it was not just more practice.  Off to the left, a U.S. warship sailed slowly into view.  The vessel passed slowly by and the squad stood there like proud sentinels saluting until it sailed by.  The officer barked again, “Right face.  Move out!”  The squad was on the move again and the singing resumed. The ship disappeared into a slight morning mist as the perspiring chief petty officers jogged away.

I called out to the lead officer to ask him to explain why they had stopped their work-out.  He graciously took the time and said, “That vessel out there proudly displays our flag, and when we see it pass by we salute it.  In fact, we salute the flag each time we see it.”

So through this wonderful patriotic ritual displayed for all of us to enjoy, we can be very proud that we are part of the sacred observance.

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Quotes Of The Month

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” — Maureen Dowd
(Posted by A.G.)

“It’s said that the best storytellers see things through a camera lens.” — Coronado Magazine
(Posted by L.H.K.)

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” — Author Unknown

“If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“The difference between genius & stupidity is that genius has its limits” — Albert Einstein

“Life is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.” — Charles Schultz

“All you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.” — Peter Pan

“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Posted by D.L.)

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Posted by L.B.)

Posted in Premier Issue, Quotes | Leave a comment

Recipes — What’s Cookin’?

The Clarion Signature Cocktail

Mixed Daily by the Publisher of the Coronado Clarion
for its Thirsty Staff or Not

Three fingers Bacardi white rum
White sugar
Ice cubes
Fresh Mint
Splash pomegranate juice
Four fingers tonic water

Place white sugar in a bowl.  Slice a lime & rub the outside of a tall tumbler glass.  Sugarcoat the rim with the sugar.  Throw lime in glass with plenty of ice cubes.  Fill glass with rum, three to four fingers.  Fill tumbler almost to the top with the tonic water.  Top with a splash of the pomegranate juice & lots of fresh mint leaves.  Drink & enjoy.

Tanaka’s Ponzu Marinade

By Rocky Tanaka

A marinade for chicken or beef, especially great on rib eye steaks.  Guaranteed to melt in your mouth.  Rocky Tanaka was a chef at Peohe’s for many years.  He has since moved onto become a professional electrician leaving us all to his entertaining culinary delights at family get togethers.

Chicken or beef, marinade for 24 to 48 hours and then grill away.  Once again, this is especially yummy on rib eye steaks.

½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup key lime juice
2 Serrano chiles, chopped finely
2 tbs. fresh grated ginger
2 tbs. minced garlic
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

Posted in Premier Issue, Recipes | Leave a comment

The Sandman Celebrates the Arrival of his Life-Size Poster

Sandman and his Life-size Poster, life-size sandstone statue/monument to come

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Ishy, Moshy, and God

By George KoenGeorge Koen Fishing

I’m a’going salmon fishing with my friend up north.  I left about 4:30 in the morning from San Diego.  My plane landed in Los Angeles about an hour and a half later.  After a short layover, we headed to Arcata – actually, it was McKinleyville Airport in Northern California.

We got up there and it was fogged in.  We couldn’t land at the airport.  They told us that we were going to the next airport.  That was in Redding, California.  So we flew there and landed.  When we got off the plane, they told us that the only way we could get back to the Arcata area was to rent a car and drive.  No one was happy about that.  There were about 40 of us.  I decided that I would rent a car if I could get some other people to help drive and pay for the gas.

The first guy next to me was a rabbi, probably around 28 years old.  His name was Ishy and his partner, who was another rabbi, was named Moshy.  They said they would drive, and I looked around to see if anybody else needed a ride because we had room for one more.  A Catholic school teacher said he would go and pay for the gas.  So, now we had a full car.  I found out it was $435 to rent the car for one way and we weren’t coming back, so I had to do it.

When we got in the car, Ishy tells me that he was an ex-race car and motorcycle driver and that he likes to go fast.  Well, let me tell you, that was an understatement.  We took off!  Ishy drove like a bat out of hell the whole time.  He would run stop signs unless we were in a town, then he would behave.  Bringing meaning to multi-tasking, Ishy and Mushy were texting and making phone calls the whole way while Ishy was driving at huge speeds.  It was quite a thrill, just kidding.  It was three hours through winding mountain roads all the way.

As we were on the road for a bit, I asked Ishy why he became a rabbi.  He told me that one day he was riding on his motorcycle doing wheelies down the road.  He had an accident and he went through a window of a bus killing the bus driver – not on purpose, but just being stupid.  He had an epiphany and found religion, but it didn’t slow him down a bit.

During the few hours drive, I talked to all of them about religion and asked them all several questions.  Nobody could answer any of my questions or they wouldn’t.  I told them I talk to God everyday and I ask him to reveal himself to me, but he never has.  So, I keep asking God to reveal himself on a daily basis — I tell him, even if it takes me to be in an accident and being resuscitated so I know God’s out there waiting, I’ll do it.  I told my race car holy companions that today could be just that day especially with your driving, Ishy.

I tried talking to all of them the whole time.  They were all kind of ignoring me except for the Catholic school teacher.  He was somewhat talking to me.  He told me what he did.  He had a bunch of Asian students from China that he was teaching in Eureka at the Catholic school there.

This was a-fishin’ trip that I will never forget thanks to Ishy.  I almost got to meet God.  Ishy drove like a mental patient even after he killed someone.  I thought that was strange, but he loves to race.  He was racing the whole time.  We were going way over the speed limit, probably 65 easily on these mountain roads, twisty mountain roads, with a river right down below it and a cliff.  We passed any and all traffic.  If it was in front of us, we passed it.  It was about 100 feet down to the river, at least, and we would have been dead if we went over.  Thank goodness, it was a nice day until we hit the coast.  That was to our advantage.  The roads weren’t slick.  That was also good.

Not one of these religious men was praying out loud; so, I wasn’t really afraid.  We were all hanging in there.  No one was freaked.  But we were going really fast.  We did have some of the “gods” represented; and fortunately, we all got back in one piece.  I just trusted Ishy and put my faith in him.

When we did make it to Arcata safely, Ishy and Moshy ditched me at a gas station.  I didn’t even know Ishy and Moshy were leaving.  They said, “So long.  Our partners are meeting us here.”  So, I said, “Okay.”  Me and the Catholic teacher — I think his name was Kent – I could be wrong on that.  We drove to the airport where his friends met him.  We all called in advance to have our people meet us.  My buddy, Jerry, met me when we pulled up.  So we put the car back and took off to his house.

Afterwards, I told my friends what happened and they all laughed hysterically.  If anything was going to happen, it would happen so I wasn’t afraid.  I left it all in Ishy’s hands.

The next morning, Jerry and I went fishing on the Klamath River for two days in a row.  It’s about 55 miles north of Arcata.  We caught five salmon on the first day — one was 24 pounds — I think we have some pictures here that you can see.  That was the biggest.  It was a male and that was the biggest fish I’ve ever caught.  Then we caught several in the 14-16 pounds and some a little bit smaller than that.

When we returned from our trip, Jerry’s wife, Melody, my sister-in-law, cooked the fish.  She wrapped it in foil with salt, pepper, and butter which was served with vegetables all cooked on the barbecue.  It was delicious!

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring any salmon home because I had to fly back and who knew where I would end up flying back to.  But we managed to smoke some, and I guess it was good, because I don’t have any with me.  We had some fresh for one night and cut it up into steaks.  We probably had 40 steaks of salmon.  We filleted a little bit of it and smoked ten pounds of it. Eventually, we’ll get some because my friends are coming down in about two weeks, and they said they would bring me some smoked salmon.

Well, that is the story of my trip through the mountains with Ishy, Moshy, and God; and I’m sticking to it.

Posted in Keeping the Faith, Premier Issue, Special Military Issue | Leave a comment

Diamond MoJo

By Alan Graham

“Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone goes, cause everyone knows, it’s “Brother Love’s Show”.  It might as well have been the Brother Love himself because David Sherry’s performance at Spreckels Park in Coronado, California was stunning.

Sherry does NOT impersonate Neil Diamond.  He simply pays great tribute to a great entertainer.  Most tribute bands or clone acts fall far short in their attempts to imitate the original artist and I have never seen anyone who could.

David Sherry kicks the door down in this regard because he is more than a mere entertainer.  He is absolutely immersed in his presentation of Diamond’s work, and to most of the audience, it WAS Neil Diamond on stage, not David Sherry. The real David Sherry has literally bottled the essence of the music and the spirit.  Then he dispenses it to his audience as surely as healing medicine.

Jim Morrison of The Doors took his audience on a “Trip” into an unknown realm of scary demons and monsters. David Sherry takes his audience on a fantastic sojourn into a land of peace, joy and true patriotism. Jim Morrison’s fans came back from their trip and they were forever changed. Sherry took his audience back in time to a sweet and powerful remembrance of another time and they came back with shopping bags filled to the brim with glee.

David Sherry’s website is at

David’s next performance is at the Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista, California on October 2nd.

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Lecinda Bennett — Woman Warrior

The Bennett Family

“Karien Bennett is a Neighbor of Mine”

By Lynne Harpst Koen

Karien Bennett is a neighbor of mine.  When we lived at 721 “J”, she was the ONLY neighbor who was ever nice to me!  She would always smile and wave.  I don’t know her personally, but I always felt a certain unexplainable connection to her.  I’d get such a warm feeling in my heart as I watched her walk her little boy to school in the mornings.

Today, God showed me our connection.  Loud and clear!  I wept as I read the Coronado story of Karien’s daughter, Lecinda, who has a cancerous brain tumor.  Clearly, I had to help my neighbors.  I met with Karein and Lecinda this morning.  Lovely ladies, both!  Lecinda is a young, vital, and gorgeous young lady.  Her grace shone through the minute I met her.  She has an incredible magnetic energy!  Her attitude towards her plight is as positive as one can possibly be under the circumstances.

The Bennett’s really need our help.  Lecinda is facing major surgery and already her insurance coverage is running thin.  Any donation is more than welcome. There’s no such thing as “too little.”  I know times are tight, so if you’re unable to donate money, please donate prayers!  The power of prayer is immense, and also tax-deductible (by God).  Let’s all get on board as a community to help Karien and Lecinda through this darkest of times.  They need a miracle.  It’s all possible with love and faith!

For updates on how Lecinda is doing and for a place where you can post a comment or memory of a good time with Lecinda for her and others to read, please visit:

Please note that there is a donation link on this site, but this is not a donation for Lecinda.  It is for the use of Caring Bridge.  In order to directly make donations to Lecinda Bennett, a Pay Pal account has been set up.  The Pay Pal account is under this e-mail address:

Any other direct correspondence (donations, cards, letters, etc.) can be sent to:
Lecinda Bennett
754 “J” Avenue
Coronado, CA  92118



“Lecinda’s Story”

By Elloise Bennett

Those of you who know Lecinda would be quick to describe her as a selfless, giving, and loving woman.  She is the type of person who will surprise you with a bouquet of flowers on a special occasion, bring you chicken soup when you are sick, and give you directions when you are lost.  She is admired for her upbeat, vibrant personality, and the kindness she shares with everyone in her life.  She loves life…and is not afraid to live her dreams.  Now Lecinda faces her own challenge.

Lecinda fell ill after a seizure on July 15th of this year and was diagnosed with an “egg-sized” brain tumor in her left temporal lobe called a glioma.

Unforeseen obstacles may face us in life, yet we can certainly learn how to handle them with grace and courage, as evidenced by Lecinda’s example, and response to this challenge.  She even had the hospital staff talking about her upbeat attitude and humorous strength.  And her smile, her laughter, and her joy for life are as strong as ever.

Like others that have been struck by the current economy, Lecinda has not had full coverage health insurance since she left her job at Ralph Lauren.  Although we are waiting to figure out what the future will hold, the costs have already been overwhelming.

Publisher’s Note:  So far Coronado and the San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation through a series of donations and fundraisers have gone above and beyond in assistance for Lecinda and her medical care needs.  The continued support of our community will be greatly appreciated as the Bennett family struggle to ensure Lecinda’s recovery.


Annual Brain Tumor Walk

“Lecinda Bennett – Woman Warrior”

By Kimberley Graham

Who is Lecinda Bennett?  Last week, my husband and I had the great pleasure of spending some time with this vibrant, energized, one-of-a-kind, animated young woman and her mother baring the same traits.  To say Lecinda Bennett is a dynamo is not an exaggeration.  With her vivid storytelling and sharing of her plight, we became instantaneously bonded to her, her family, and their causes.  In the brief hour we spent with these remarkable women, we shared tears as well as lots of laughter.  To meet Lecinda, her mother, and the rest of her sweet family was a soul-sticking experience.  One, in which, anyone who crosses their paths will be moved by.

To watch our wonderful interview with Lecinda, please visit:  

The Bennett Gals

“A Little Bit About Me”

By Lecinda Bennet

I’ve lived in different continents and different towns – and all of it was about building communities.

Born in 1980 in South Africa, I grew up in the last phases of Apartheid and had the chance to witness the beginnings of major change in my place of birth.  South Africa is a beautiful place, and a great place to originate from – because despite the hiccups in its history, it’s a place that is about roots and family.

When I was nine, my family immigrated to America – actually, to be specific, we immigrated to Coronado… a great place to land as an immigrant.  My mom, my step-dad, my sister, and I had to learn how to connect in a new world, in a new culture, and with a new language.

I started working when I was a student at Coronado High School.  I worked at Salon David Perez in University Towne Center for 8.5 years as a general manager, and learned that I love the style industry as much as I love business.  My exposure in this world helped fuel the dream that I would love to live in New York City.

But New York City needs more than work experience.  So I went back to school after a few gap years, and earned a B.S. in paralegal studies.  Armed with my diploma, I set out to the Big Apple in December, 2006.

Being an immigrant is intense, being new to New York City is insane!  But you learn the ropes, get to meet people, and develop connections.  I was lucky enough to land a job at Polo Ralph Lauren Corporate headquarters – and learned all about life in the big city, and in the interim made some amazing friends.

Life in the big city included watching the financial world implode in 2008 – and with it my own life, as I was one of the thousands of folks laid off with the turn of the tide.  But bills have to be paid, and costs didn’t drop.  Survival skills to the rescue!  My people skills, my energy, and connections had helped me to turn around an extremely part-time usher position into a position as the artists’ assistant at the Jazz Center of Lincoln Center and to become a part-time executive assistant for Stewards of Change, a consulting group that focuses on health and human services.

As the artists’ assistant, I’ve had the amazing experiences of standing in hallways watching people like Tony Bennett shake off pre-show stage jitters, watch Liza Minnelli own a room, and I would bake cupcakes for the stagehands who work harder than most people could believe.  I worked with Sting so much, he knew me by name.  He is absolutely dreamy in real life.  I love the energy, the rhythm, the people, and the jazz of the city.  It was one of the biggest parts that helped make NYC home.

As the executive assistant for Stewards of Change, I have the opportunity to help local, state, and federal governments find ways to be more inter-operable and to help people, foster children, and those in need find an easier way to work with the system.

Unfortunately, when I was diagnosed with my glioma, I had to give up my challenging and rewarding life in the Big Apple to spend my days with doctors and having tests performed.  I was promised that my positions with the Jazz Center of Lincoln Center and Stewards of Change will always be held for me and will be resumed after my recovery and my return to New York City.


“Lecinda’s Caring Bridge Journal”

By Elloise and Lecinda Bennett

Wednesday, August 4, 2010:  Lecinda was officially diagnosed with a brain tumor only a couple weeks ago after suffering a seizure in her sleep.  She’s been with us in San Diego since just after her seizure so we as a family can be there for her and help her make sense of all this — versus via thousands of miles. She had a biopsy today – which sounds like not such a big deal for any of you out there who have had a biopsy on a lymph node or such, but this was brain surgery.  She had to have markers placed on shaved spots on her head, was taken into an OR for a couple hours, had a hole drilled into her scull, and a needle prodded into her brain to extract some tissue.

Of course, she woke up to a groggy world, and immediately said, “I think I have a headache.”  Needless to say — even the ICU staff love her!

The biopsy results should be back in a few days.  It will help us determine what type of cancer it is and what the course of treatment options are.

She’s one hell of a trooper.  She made me laugh so hard!  We were chatting somewhere between pain med dosages, and she says, “Sorry, Weza, I tried.  I’ve been looking to see if I can find you a doctor as a husband, but I don’t have my contacts in.” Pure Lecinda statement — thinking of others even when she’s strapped in a bed in the ICU!

P.S.  She’s never been sick ONE day in her whole life that led to ER or hospital time.  As always, Lecinda never does things half way!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010:  Thank you is just a 9-letter word (yes I counted the spaces), but it means soooo much more than that.  I know I spoke about this the other day, but each day I am shown the kindness, generosity, heartfelt amazingness of families, friends, and people around the world!

As you all know, I’m patiently (well, as patiently as I am able to) waiting for my surgery date.  This afternoon I was blessed to be given my surgery date! September 28th here I come!!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support throughout this!
— Lecinda–

Monday, September 20, 2010:  Ever think about how meaningful something as simple as a hug is?  Well on Saturday I was just feeling weird, the positively positive was there but I just felt that I needed something extra.  So I called one of my best friends and told him I was on my way over because I wanted a hug.  (He gives the best hugs!)  I was only at his shop for a few minutes, but that hug just helped me find my center again and let my positivity come back through.

Hence the Positively Positive!  That’s how we have to look at things right?  So far it is definitely working for me!  Positivity is one of the best medicines I could have asked for!  It makes me realize that there is and will be a tomorrow!  While I have been more tired the last week, I have been trying my best to let that positivity overtake the tiredness.

In three days, I leave to go to San Francisco to start two days of Pre-Op and then the surgery!  Oh my, but the sooner I start the pre-op, the sooner I get to come back to Coronado!  Definite upside I’d say!  I’m also finding the amazing positives in this experience from start to midpoint (as I know I’m not at the end of this battle yet).  I have reconnected with friends that I might not have seen in years, realized who was truly a fair-weather friend, and who was always by my side no matter what! It has truly been an interesting journey!

Thank you for taking the time to care, share, and pray for me on this weird journey.  It is your comments, thoughts, and positive energy that is helping me remember my own positive energy.
Much Love,

Friday, September 24, 2010:  Hello from San Francisco!  After a slightly delayed start yesterday, flight to San Fran from San Diego was delayed, my sister and I finally made it up here.  I’m off to start my first day of Pre-Op.  Luckily I don’t have to spend the nights at the hospital during this phase at least.

I’ll do an update on how amazing the community of Coronado and the county of San Diego has been after the pre-op, as there are so many people to thank.

Thanks for all your support, prayers, love, and generally everything you guys do for me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010:  It’s incredible the technology that the medical industry have integrated into their world.  Lecinda spent yesterday doing a variety of neurological tests in something called an MSI, where they measured response times, response origins, brainwave activity, and more while she’s strapped into some sort of headgear machine.  Charts with all kinds of graphs and flickering lights, and video screens with pulsating colored globes inside the shape of a brain — kinda took me back to the days when I had harbored ideas of being a doctor.  If I’d known I could be a computer nerd and doctor all in one I would have maybe chosen a different path!

We also did a pre-op appointment for blood tests and information gathering and with folks in anesthesia so Lecinda would have a clear idea of what “awake” will really mean in the middle of her surgery.

Now it’s a beautiful San Francisco day – one of those days where you can actually see the whole San Francisco Bay without any fog!  The goal this weekend is for Lecinda to rest, to laugh, and to do the most important thing in preparation for the surgery — become mentally and emotionally ready.

Monday morning will be enough time to get back to waiting rooms and slick tiled floors.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010:  It’s 10:45 m West Coast time.  Lecinda has been in the OR for just over 3 hours, but they have only been operating for about 2 hours.  She may not be done for another 6 to 8 hours.

I think they need to sell sedatives for the families waiting in the waiting room. It FEELS like every minute has 340 seconds in it and it sucks.  I will do a post as soon as I know how it went.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010:  Lecinda is in the ICU tonight, resting comfortably, after almost 8 hours of surgery.  But best of all, that rest is tumor free! They were able to remove the ENTIRE tumor.  That does not mean she’s cancer free, but rather that the tumor is gone.  We need to have tests done on the tumor itself to determine exactly the next steps.  BUT, the fact that they were able to remove all of it greatly reduces the need for chemo, etc.  She did very well in the awake parts of the surgery as well — of course.  When she first woke it was a little scary.  She was clearly not making sense.  Each word was understandable, but not how she was putting them together.  It was a little freaky – Okay — a lot.  But within half an hour, she was settling down some and her “brain” was evening out to being a little more “normal” Lecinda, which included her telling me to not speak for her!  She is still showing signs of what they call “word search” and there may be some other hiccups but she’s been able to tell time, repeat phrases, and tell me to update her Facebook.  I sat with her, fed her some broth and tea, and watched her sleep.  It’s pretty silly how we take deep breaths for granted.  The next few days will be important as they watch to confirm the results as well as watch the swelling in her brain.  Swelling is standard; in fact, they said I could set my clock on it.  For the next 48 hours, her brain will swell and then it will begin to subside.  In that time, she could experience dementia and symptoms similar to what we associate with Alzheimer’s — all temporary and due to the swelling.  I’ll just standby to see what happens.

Thank you to all who have sent messages of encouragement and love all day long.  The 100-degree plus waiting room (San Francisco is having a heat wave and of course the waiting room has no air conditioning since…well, it’s San Francisco, why would you need it!) was a little easier to bear with those messages coming in!


Publisher’s Note:  We had a brief visit with Karien this afternoon.  Lecinda made it through a very long surgery with few complications.  The medical team were able to remove the tumor.  Lecinda will suffer some physical disorientation during her recovery from this very intense surgery.  Our positive warrior has begun the battle against what she refers to as her “egg”.  The egg is now gone and she can start the healing treatment process.  We are sure in our hearts that she will be the victor.  We send her our prayers.  I know along with her close family and friends, our community will pull together and continue to support her through this experience.

Friday, October 1, 2010:  Lecinda was released from the hospital today!  She and I are staying a couple more nights in San Francisco to allow the swelling to go down and to make sure she’s ready to travel.  Swelling is getting better — the black eye is getting better — and she’s doing great!!!!

Of course…the fact that the Walgreens where I filled her HUGE list of prescriptions was held up at gun point MOMENTS after I walked out tonight…added adventure to the day.  Life makes you laugh…

Fundraiser at Il Fornaio on September 21st:  Lecinda was a wonderful hostess.  Although weary from her “egg”, she remained upbeat and had a smile on her face the whole time while entertaining her fellow townfold and friends.

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Do You Remember?

Non-edible cool places included:THE DEPARTMENT STORE
MJ BROWN (still there, but just limping)
Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment

Art Cuts

Bow Ties and Haircuts

You can get a haircut, listen to Beatles music, and view the art hanging on the walls all around you.  There is no idle chit chat in this men’s hair salon.  It is more like a Sixties happening with all the charm and happiness of that awesome era.  I sat listening to Yellow Submarine and as the pedestrians passed by the front window, they seem to be smiling as well.  The crew, Beth, Manny, and Travis are cool and professional.  It truly is a pleasure to hang out there as our residents in the Magical Kingdom by the Sea parade by.  Get your hair cut and be transported back to the wonderful Sixties.  There’s no extra charge for this experience when you visit Bow Ties and Haircuts on Tenth and Orange Avenues.  Peace, man.

Bow Ties and Haircuts
1106 Tenth Street
(619) 435-2094

Posted in Premier Issue | Leave a comment