Readers Remember

My friend Dorothy is 82 and lives in a senior citizens complex with many of this century’s first babies. Each has a story to tell about a century of change: the early years of promise, four faraway wars fought by loved ones and themselves, a Great Depression, space exploration, love found and lost, parenting joys and sorrows, graveside goodbyes, giving up a home and independence.

A few years ago many of Dorothy’s neighbors said all the commotion about the new century was foolish and of no interest to them. They said they probably wouldn’t be alive to see it anyway. Then a peculiar thing happened. The new century is almost here and they are still alive!

I can only applaud these frail souls who once again show us their true colors of courage for a new beginning.




Yesterday I was 17, and graduated from high school. In caps and gowns, we proudly marched into the Chula Vista Park bowl to the band’s valiant strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Youth felt invincible; the future beckoning, limitless. We were the Class of 1950!

Someone said, awe-struck: “Just think, our 50th reunion will be in 2000!” But that was so far away.

Our 50th year reunion will be in September. Several won’t be there: The Korean War took some members; others fell from more mundane maladies. Yesterday I was 17, and didn’t know the future would come so quickly!



Van Nuys

The editors of The Times thank all the readers who so enriched the “Stories That Shaped the Century” series with their important and meaningful memories. More than 2,000 people submitted personal stories; we were able to publish only a tiny fraction of them.