Vick

In the summer of 1977, I met a boy named Vick at the grand opening of the original Chuck E. Cheese’s in the Town & Country shopping center in San Jose. We, and other kids, were there with our parents for some pizza, soda, and fun. Back to Vick in a moment. Pizza Time Theater, …

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Brothers

If there is one thing that my wife and I often repeat to our kids, it’s this: choose your friends wisely. People my age have seen enough friends come and go that we’re pretty much experts on “choosing wisely.” This time of year is always a time of reflection — at least for me. I …

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BFFs

The first time I considered someone a “best friend” was in the first grade. I used to live a few houses down from a little blue-eyed blond boy named Johnny. He and I used to play on his pretty awesome Matchbox racetrack at least twice a week. He was my best friend for about a …

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Handsome Harambe

In 1986, a five-year-old fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Jersey Zoo in the English Channel Islands. The male Silverback gorilla, Jambo, kept other gorillas at bay while he guarded the unconscious boy. Ultimately, two zoo employees (whose expertise was with birds) and EMT personnel, were able to rescue the boy after putting themselves …

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Easter

When I think of Easter I think of all of the great times I had at my godparents’ ranch in Gilroy. The adults — my aunts and uncles — always ensured that Easter, and every holiday for that matter, was a sensational and memorable experience for us kids/cousins. We had potato sack races, contest-games, piñatas, …

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King’s Korner

About 57 miles south of California’s most famous corner at Haight & Ashbury, is the corner that you see pictured here. (I don’t expect you to recognize it.) It’s a simple 30 foot square space on the campus of Quimby Oak — a middle school that’s nestled at the edge of the foothills in East …

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First Jobs

I came to the realization that I probably do not have ONE friend on Facebook who has not had a first job.Hold that thought.Depending on your generation, you’ll recall what you were doing, and where you were when Kennedy was shot, or when the Loma Prieta ‘89 quake shook the Bay, or when the first …

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Day One

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function? “Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.”If you’re old enough to remember that, you’ve probably experienced your share of the first days of school. I’ve always loved Day One — especially in middle school. In fact, the two years I spent in junior high were a blast. No school years prior …

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Atticus Chacon

I’ve named my son after Atticus Finch: the courageous, steady, wise, and moral character, in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.Three days ago, the universal father figure, hero, lawyer, and citizen — whom readers have loved and cherished as much as I have — is no longer perfect. He’s flawed; he’s a segregationist; and he’s …

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Did I stutter?

Did I stutter?Yes, all of the time. Every single day … all day. Words beginning with Rs, Ts, Ds, and Ws were the most difficult to get out.  I often dreaded being asked my own name because it began with the letter R. I usually pronounced it with this trick — an added syllable — in …

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