When a recent local issue arose that struck a chord with my muse, I decided to send off a letter to the editor and opine about that issue, as I am a strong believer in the open forum offered by print media and have availed myself of that forum many times over the years. In this case, my offering ran a bit over the word guidelines for letters, so after some communication with the management at New SV Media, which as you all know are the publishers of Salinas Valley Tribune and King City Rustler (and if you didn’t know, you do now), the result of the communication is I will join the other two local columnists with an emphasis on King City and Greenfield coverage.
So, let me offer up a few biographical notes here so you all can get an idea of what may appear in “Funny Papers Again”; the first note is that the name of the column refers to writings I did some three decades ago wryly called “See You in the Funny Papers.” At the time of those writings, I was living in Greenfield, where I spent the first 19 years of my life after my birth in August of 1952 here in the old King City Hospital, which was located on Broadway; here in a few lines we’ll get back to Broadway as you may have figured after reading the headline above.
I am a graduate of what was then King City Joint Union High School, Class of 1970. I’d like to add here that while many local alums believe their graduating class is the best ever; we of the Class of 1970 know the real truth.
In September of 1970, I attended Hartnell Junior (at that time) College seeking an Associate of Arts degree in theatre arts but ended up with an Associate of Science degree (telecommunications/TV production) from Riverside Community College in 2000; this after 30 years of college classes required of one who changes majors four times. Those classes included creative writing, reportorial writing, editorial writing and screenplay writing.
I have been on staff of two campus newspapers, Riverside and California State University San Bernardino (Coyote U in North San Berdoo) where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications in 2003. I also had a thrice weekly, three-hour morning campus radio program.
Not wanting to sacrifice any more newsprint to this subject, I will offer this, in the proverbial nutshell: though most of my life has been spent in South County, I have lived in many parts of Monterey County, I had a 40-year association with a home in Corona in Riverside County and in addition I have lived and worked in five different states on both coasts and in the middle.
There are words which apply to most all Americans: profession, occupation and career; I would say that I have made a career of occupying myself in a wider range of activities that most readers would believe. With that said I profess there is no experience like experience, this ain’t my first rodeo, I didn’t just fall off the back of a broccoli truck.
What I hope this column will offer is a lighter but factual, when required, look at life here in South County. There are now, and will arise in the future, local issues that will be addressed, but I hope to avoid any hot button items that would only serve to bring about heated rhetoric; we have enough separations among us now without adding to the mix. But it is also hoped that some of what will appear in Funny Papers Again will spurn readers into actions of community involvement in hopes all our South County towns can continue to grow and prosper with unity and empathy.
Now, Broadway. When I returned to the Valley in 2013, I began my life here from the seat of a bicycle and for those of you who ride you know well the speed we travel allows us to notice things far better than when zipping along in a motor vehicle. One of the first things one takes note of is which streets are smooth sailing and which streets are teeth rattling, bone jarring stretches of pure torture, but street upkeep is always a bane for all municipalities so that was not an issue on my first forays around town.
What did strike me was how awful Broadway looked in an overall sense; from First Street to San Antonio Avenue. Many of the structures were drab, colors were mismatched and more than a few were empty. A few of the well-kept businesses made others around them look even worse that they actually were. And then a change in city management and personnel took place and things began to change.
We have all seen, and will continue to see, improvements along the main business corridor as well as elsewhere in town. In this column, we will keep abreast of those changes and additions and also tell you some about the people making things happen; not just in city government but in social and cultural venues.
BITS & PIECES
This set my mind to reeling: My mother was a staff sergeant in the Women’s Marine Corps during World War II and as her assignment was radio transmission and repair she knew Morse Code. For those of you old enough to know Morse Code, you know it breaks each letter of the alphabet into dots and dashes, made by short taps and long taps on the code key; when spoken these are dits and dahs. The international Morse Code for trouble is SOS, said to mean Save Our Ship or Save Our Souls, and the key strokes are dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit, dah, dah, dah: SOS, SOS, SOS, repeated until a response is received.
So, I was thinking if you were in trouble in the forest and began beating out SOS, SOS, SOS with a stick on a tree seeking help, what would happen if the nearest help were those whose native language is Spanish and what they heard was not SOS, SOS, SOS but rather OSO, OSO, OSO. That probably would send them running away as oso is the Spanish word for bear, and who is going to run toward a bear? Anyhoo, just a thought. Take care. Peace.