Jump Around

If you were a kid in the ‘70s like I was, and you had a bike, you did what every kid on the block did — you made a ramp, and you jumped — just like Evel Knievel.Of course, not all bikes are built for jumping. A good motorcross bike was about $200 in the …

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Neil Kaplan

The beauty of going to Independence High School back in the ‘80s was that it was the finest school in the area, period. In fact, I would argue that we were the finest public school in Northern California. At the time, our facilities were unmatched. We had three libraries — including a public library, an …

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Bucket List

One for the bucket list. When I was about 17 years old, my dad pressured me to get a job. While I learned later that he regretted it, it sure stressed me out at the time. What made matters worse, was seeing all of the vinyl banners hanging outside of fast food restaurants near my …

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James Baldwin & Me

No matter how often I replace old books with new books, two never get stored away: Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and my original copy of James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On The Mountain. I keep TKAM for an obvious reason: it’s my favorite book. I keep GTIOTM because James Baldwin’s masterpiece guided my …

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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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A Lovely Lady

Here’s a story of a lovely lady… It’s pretty remarkable that a person — synonymous with love and gratitude — began her life on a day that we celebrate the former, and passed on a day when we give thanks for the latter. Florence Agnes Henderson, born on Valentine’s Day in Dale, Indiana in 1934, passed …

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Norman Y. Mineta

In 1984 I got to have lunch with this fascinating person in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. As an added treat, Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil, was eating at the table next to us, and our host kindly walked us over to meet him. Today, our airport, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International, …

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1982

A few weeks before Christmas in 1982 I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life — either buy Lionel Richie’s self-titled debut album, or Michael Jackson’s sophomore album, Thriller. I already owned Jackson’s debut album, Off The Wall, which produced a bunch of hits — including the post-disco anthems “Rock …

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Eli

Last night, the person whom my mom shared her life with for 27 years, passed away peacefully in his home state of Nayarit.He was affectionately known to some of the kids as Li-Li, but most of us called him Eli. He was a good and decent man, whom we’ll remember fondly. From the moment we met …

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