When I was young the family would visit relatives in Arizona in the Spring. Since my father was a school teacher, it was natural to spend a week over the Easter Holiday communing with cactus, irrigation, and burning creosote. But one year we went to Phoenix for some sort of convention and it was in the heat of the summer. Back then few people had air conditioning and had to rely on water coolers to take the edge off the heat.Continue reading “The Hot List”
I grew up in post-war San Diego. My family lived in plywood rooms tossed up for the influx of the wartime factory workers. We could have conversations with our neighbors without leaving our mutual homes. When I went to school I was exposed to a lot of people who didn’t look like me—tow-headed blue-eyed white speaking kindergarten English. Spanish was common and I often wished I had been dark haired, dark skinned, and dark eyed. Years later I learned that my brunette mother had considered brown eyes preferable but she kept having blond haired, blue-eyed children.
My early school class was probably a third black; I remember thinking there was something wrong since at least half of those kids had no shoes so the light skinned soles of their feet showed a contrast with their dark skin. Other than that, I was mostly concerned if a classmate was bigger than me (I was a wimp).
I want to again warn everyone that although I occasionally refer to these as “Suggested Reading,” they’re not really suggestions. When I was in school they built a new shopping center across the canyon from my parent’s house. At the time it was big and fancy but I was there about two years ago and they have doubled or even tripled the size of the mall and added a couple of movie theaters and four or five large themed restaurants.
But when it first opened. the star attraction for me was a well-stocked bookstore called Hunter Books. Up until Hunter opened, I made my reading selections from the wire racks down at the candy store. At Hunter I could browse for hours seeking just the right book to read. Do you remember scanning up and down the shelves being drawn in by a colorful cover or a catchy title. I would say that I selected my reading matter with my eyes. It was much later that I actually opened a prospective read and tasted the prose for a page or two.