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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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The art of communication: Haugh About That?

Staring at the lump of flesh passed out on the couch, pressure within the magma chamber of my brain began to boil. Within seconds, my anger couldn’t be contained and an explosive stream of words erupted over my sleeping child.

“Tim, I didn’t travel halfway around the world to watch you sleep!”

Slowly rotating his 6-foot-tall frame, he pulled the blanket over his face and grunted a phrase I hadn’t heard in a long time: “Mom, relax! We have all day.”

Immediately, my quest for a fabulous vacation billowed in front of my eyes like a puff of smoke from a bad cigar.

For the past 20 months, Tim, the 25-year-old heir apparent to the Haugh dynasty, has been living the life of a bohemian. Based in Barcelona, he tutors English by day and explores Europe on the weekends. Positive he missed me, I made the 15-hour trip to visit.

“Things start late around here,” the hairy creature grumbled, sporting a full beard and long, disheveled Shirley Temple curls that cascaded down his back.

Wondering which I was more upset with, this new caveman-on-steroids look or his lax attitude about wanting to please his mother, I hissed, “This was no cheap excursion, you know.”

Leaving our apartment, it quickly became apparent that traveling with a son was going to be quite different from traveling with a daughter. There would be no stopping to browse cute shops along the boulevard. Lunch was just a pit stop, and resting at a cafe for a glass of wine late in the afternoon to discuss feelings was wishful thinking on my part. No, the plans I had for this trip went spinning in a swirling vortex down a Spanish toilet.

But remembering the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” I thought perhaps an attitude adjustment was in order. While I wasn’t in Italy, I was on my son’s turf – and who better than Tim to decide how the day should flow?

It wasn’t long before eating dinner at 10 p.m. and sleeping until noon became as natural as eating strawberries on shortcake. Shopping could wait until I got back to the U.S., but I was still having problems with our communication. While I spoke in flowery, melodic narratives that dragged on forever, Tim conversed in staccato beats of black and white, leaving much to the imagination. And then, without warning, it happened.

Tipping his hand one evening, he briefly displayed his cards revealing all he valued as private before drawing them back to his chest. My job, should I want to continue to stay in the game, was to listen quietly and ask no questions. Thankfully, I did.

Leaving Barcelona eight days later, I did what I always do when saying goodbye to one of my kids. I blubbered. But these were sobs of a different kind.

By allowing my child to converse in his special dialect, without my annoying constant interruptions, he opened up his heart and let me into his world. I became a witness to the incredible person he’s become while still maintaining the sweetness he possessed as a child. Tim is no longer a little boy – he’s an independent, deep-thinking and kind young man. His values are solid, and he remains true to himself, following his path, always authentic.

I traveled to Spain for an adventure but got more than I bargained for. By crossing the threshold that had blocked us in his youth, communication was allowed to flow easily. I arrived as his mother, but I left as his friend.

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