Right off the bat please allow me to thank Eagle & Journal readers and editors for the kind words about my oddball letters. If one wonders why I write of things from decades past, it’s because memory lane persists and insists I do so. Until memory dims completely, why not share?

I vaguely recall playing pinball as a kid many moons ago way down at the bottom of a narrow stairwell somewhere in the bowels of the Hotel Del.

Did I imagine such a place? In those days there was nothing but “beach” between the Hotel and the Amphib Base, if you catch my drift. As grade-schoolers we’d crawl all over the SEALs’

obstacle course, pretending we had the right stuff. After climbing to the top of the tall (gulp), wide, lattice rope ladder, did this intrepid ten-year-old have the nerve to throw his scrawny leg over the top and climb down the other side? Nyet. No way. That was too tall an order and a bridge too far. I just backed down to terra firma.

Okay, so it was sand, not so “firma.” We were wee urchins playing war while many of our dads were off overseas in Vietnam doing the real thing, too many of whom did not return home. Let’s change the subject.

Who among us remembers the last time E and G avenues between Sixth and Seventh streets were thru streets from bay to beach? That was when most of what remained of old Coronado High was awaiting demolition to make way for a more up-to-date rendition.

I recall straddling the banana seat of my Stingray watching the wrecking ball swing, laying waste to the old school library, reducing classrooms to rubble.

Once my alma mater’s next incarnation was complete, I strolled into the brand-spanking-new school library and was overwhelmed by that pungent new-carpet smell. I was then underwhelmed to learn I was in the Instructional Media Center.

Okay. Where was the library and what were all these books doing in the IMC? WhenI went next-door to check out our new cafeteria, I was told it was now called the Multi-Purpose Room. Whatever. That’s like calling the galley at North Island a dining facility, and the cooks, culinary specialists.

Oh, it is? They are? Never mind...

One morning in eighth-grade homeroom class in 1971, my friend Bruce had smuggled a water balloon into our midst. As Bruce brandished the plump balloon, a cutie named Chris cautiously backed away from Bruce as if she knew she was the target of choice. She was. As Bruce prepared to launch the balloon from point-blank range, he said, “Don’t worry, Chris. Water balloons bounce off flat surfaces.”

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