El Cajon, CA
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Articles by BJ Coleman

Whose heart isn’t warmed by a true love story with a happy ending? The tale East County author Amanda Matti has to tell of the cross-cultural romance with her now-husband, however, is fraught with unexpected obstacles and troubling difficulties.

Raymond L. Moody is a remarkable man, courageous and compassionate, accomplished and humble. He has been an El Cajon resident for three decades. He served in the U.S. Navy for 23 years, retiring in 1966 as a Chief Boatswain’s Mate. His active-duty career spanned the major conflicts of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Now 90 years of age, he is still a veteran serving other veterans, spending time each day at Miramar National Cemetery to assist grieving family members of military veterans.

Auxiliary sisters associated with Santee’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9327 proved they are adept at spreading holiday cheer for East County children in military families by bringing Santa Claus out for an early visit on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 10. 

East County is home to many unique institutions. Among these is Friends of Cats, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and well-being of homeless felines. During Saturday evening Dec. 10, staffers and volunteers at the facility welcomed visitors to the third annual Whisker Wonderland, a Christmas celebration to benefit cats at the site.

Heidi Clark, assistant office manager with the facility, described this year’s Whisker Wonderland as the best yet, for the festivities and turnout.

American women’s entry into new and different workforce roles has produced much debate, analysis and art. On Dec. 1, Grossmont College’s Theatre Arts Department opening night presented a play based on the real history of women who began working during the 1920’s, remunerated at what was then considered very good female worker pay, for painting clock and watch dials with radium-based paint that glowed in the dark.

Holiday traditions can extend so far into the mists of memory that nobody remembers how these lovely, comforting practices originated. El Cajon’s Boy Scout Troop 363 opened the organization’s annual Christmas tree lot on the morning of Nov. 26, outside the local El Cajon Elks Lodge #1812.

Downtown El Cajon started celebrating the 2016 holiday season on Nov. 20, with the 70th annual staging of the East County city’s Mother Goose Parade. Unlike other formal parades, this one has no formally designated divisions or sections. Befitting a storybook parade, this assemblage of entries is organized into “Chapters.” The parade’s stated purpose from its origins has been to be a gift to the children of San Diego County.

November commemorates Native American Heritage Month. And on Wednesday, Nov. 9, two days before Veterans Day, the Jamul Indian Village of California unveiled a special exhibit titled “Legacy of Service,” which honors the military service of its tribal members. The display opened in the main hallway of The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, with a reception and dedication ceremony, including blessing of the exhibit by Kenneth Meza, Jamul Village Vice Chairman and one Marine Corps Vietnam veteran acknowledged in the video that is featured centrally in the exhibit.

David J. Schmidt splits time these days between La Mesa and Mexico City. Although Schmidt makes his living as a freelance translator, his real driving life’s interest is in investigating and writing about credible accounts of paranormal phenomena. His most recently released book describes his journey to the Mexican village of San Juan Coatzospam in search of ghost stories.