One Time”

This blog is a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries from a mem­oire of my child­hood called “One Time.” I grew up in a large nomadic fam­i­ly. We expe­ri­enced a lot of inter­est­ing, fun­ny and unfor­tu­nate things. This is how I saw it all in a his­tor­i­cal and cul­tur­al con­text. This is a work in progress.

A Few More Months

That sum­mer was fleet­ing, more so because it would be our last one in San Diego. In a few months, when the orders came down, my dad was to be trans­ferred to Philadel­phia. We weren’t hap­py about it because we loved San Car­los. But we weren’t Cal­i­for­ni­ans,…

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The Mysterious Fever

About a month lat­er, my sis­ter Lau­ra woke up when she heard moan­ing. Paula was sit­ting up, a rest­less dark shape in the bed across the room. Lau­ra called out, “Paula… Paula?” After no response Lau­ra turned on the light. Paula was burn­ing up and moan­ing.…

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I wasn’t a news hound but caught whiffs of the may­hem flash­ing across the tele­vi­sion. Fires- both lit­er­al and sym­bol­ic were sparked by demon­stra­tors seem­ing­ly every­where. Race riots flared up in city after city as ghet­tos burned. The US draft calls for…

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Grammy and Ken

Our grand­par­ents, on my father’s side, lived upstate in San­ta Rosa, about a ten hour dri­ve. Around Christ­mas time, we went up for a vis­it. My Gram­my, Lor­na, was a tall hand­some woman, a real look­er when she was younger. She mar­ried Ken in the for­ties after…

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Orange Crush

I saw those movies at a dif­fer­ent dri­ve-in on anoth­er night when I joined Kevin and his sis­ter Cindy on a night out with their par­ents lat­er that sum­mer. On the trip back from the con­ces­sion stand we caught their par­ents mak­ing out in the front seat of…

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Gore Fest

Besides that Padres base­ball game, our Dad took us to see a San Diego State Uni­ver­si­ty foot­ball game on anoth­er occa­sion. Don Coryell was in his last year as the head coach there before step­ping up to coach the Charg­ers. His assis­tant coach at State was Joe…

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Moon Song and Baseball

Moon Song Kevin’s mom and dad were the pro­to­typ­i­cal Leave It To Beaver types. Mr. Fer­ring was a nat­ty dressy who kept his office tie on until after din­ner and like Ward Cleaver, nev­er lost his tem­per or raised his hands to the kids. He’d say, “Now Kevin….”…

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San Carlos Cowboys

In San Car­los, every­body had a ride. You weren’t a cow­boy with­out a horse, or cool with­out a bike. To rem­e­dy that, Joe and I decid­ed we would get a job. We became news­pa­per deliv­ery boys. At first, Ma woke us and escort­ed us to the news­pa­per truck…

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Secret Agents and Joe’s Dilemma

Secret Agents Spy­ing was both real and roman­ti­cized in the news, the movies, in songs and on tele­vi­sion. Our coun­try was in the mid­dle of the Cold War, an arms race and a space race with Rus­sia. We had one thing in com­mon with the Rus­sians, a lit­tle shared…

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