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News

Electrical shutdown scheduled today, tomorrow

PG&E is installing new electrical service to the 400 Main St. development project today, which will require the temporary interruption of electric services to several businesses located on First, Main and State streets in downtown Los Altos. PG&a...

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Schools

Community support pays dividends

Community support pays dividends


As a recent cover story in The New York Times Magazine revealed, getting low-income students into college is not enough to close the achievement/income gap. The percentage of low-income students entering college who actually earn a degree lags far ...

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Community

War veteran to visit D.C. memorial on Honor Flight

War veteran to visit D.C. memorial on Honor Flight


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos resident and World War II vet Earl Pampeyan is preparing for an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., next month.

Los Altos resident Earl Pampeyan is scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C., next month to vis...

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Sports

Making a splash

Making a splash


Courtesy of Clarke Weatherspoon
Stanford Water Polo Club’s under-14 boys team earned the bronze medal at the Junior Olympics. Front row, from left: Corey Tanis, Larsen Weigle, Nathan Puentes, Walker Seymour, Alan Viollier and Jayden Kunwar. B...

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Comment

Whom can you trust?: Haugh About That?

Waving my pink poodle skirt with all the fervor of a matador preparing to tease a raging bull, I blinked my 20-year-old eyes and gave a come-hither look to indicate, “I’m ready!” Little did I know that the blind trust I had in this ...

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Special Sections

Getting right by eating right: PAMF doctor's book addresses South Asian health risks

Getting right by eating right: PAMF doctor's book addresses South Asian health risks


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Ronesh Sinha, a physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, promotes healthful living among the South Asian population. His new book, “The South Asian Health Solution,” includes nutritious recipes.

When you think o...

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Business

From Google to First Street: Massage therapist sets up studio in downtown Los Altos

From Google to First Street: Massage therapist sets up studio in downtown Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Upuia Ahkiong is slated to open Kua Body Studios next month at 106 First St. Ahkiong is sharing space with Evolve Classical Pilates.

A massage therapist with ties to Google Inc. is slated to open a new – and shared...

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Books

"Jack London" chronicles author's adventurous life


Much has been written about American author Jack London, primarily known for his early-20th-century Western adventure novels, including the classics “White Fang” and “The Call of the Wild.”

In Earle Labor’s biography of the literary icon, “Jac...

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People

TIMOTHY WARREN WATSON (TIM)

TIMOTHY WARREN WATSON (TIM)

Born June 2, 1935, died peacefully on August 11, at home in Mountain View, surrounded by his family. He died of complications of Parkinson’s Disease after a courageous 15-year battle.

Tim was the beloved husband of 55 years to his college sweethea...

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Travel

Bergama bound: A visit to newest World Heritage site

Bergama bound: A visit to newest World Heritage site


Photo Eren GÖknar/ Special to the Town Crier
The amphitheater in Turkey’s ancient city of Pergamon, now known as Bergama, overlooks the Bakirçay River valley, left. The city’s ruins also include the Temple of Trajan.

It was 90 F during t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks offers 'Spoonful' of drama beginning this week

TheatreWorks offers 'Spoonful' of drama beginning this week


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Three strangers – “Chutes & Ladders” (Anthony J. Haney, left), Odessa (Zilah Mendoza, center) and “Orangutan” (Anna Ishida, right) – come together in an online support group in TheatreWorks’ regional premie...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Briefs

Meditation group meets at Foothills Congregational

A Weekly Meditation Practice group meets 7-8:15 a.m. Tuesdays at Foothills Congregational Church, 461 Orange Ave., Los Altos.

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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The lost art of handwritten letters: Haugh About That?

With venomous eyes, my mother’s gaze locked me into a hypnotic trance. Like a python wrapping its thick body methodically around my neck poised to overtake me, she snarled, “Have you written your thank-you notes yet?”

As a young girl, perfect penmanship and flowery descriptions of gratitude were right up there with impeccable table manners. If it wasn’t done in a timely fashion and to her satisfaction, my life was hell for months to come.

Guiltily, I hung my 7-year-old head in shame and said with a tremor, “No.”

Gripping her candy-apple-red nails around my wrist in white-knuckle fashion, my mother led me to my room. As she pulled out a box of stationery, she icily declared, “You’re not to leave this room until all of them are done. It’s either that or I send all your gifts back.”

Wanting the gifts, I wrote.

For years, I followed her Miss Manners instruction in precise detail – until the day I discovered a lovely little thing known as email. Why let your fingers get all cramped up when typing is so much easier, not to mention cheaper? Then, last year, one magical moment changed my way of thinking when I found a box hidden deep inside our attic.

Opening the golden lid, inside I discovered a stack of letters from a time gone by. Most were written in chicken scratch (boys rarely had good penmanship), but the declarations of young love spoke loud and clear. Poring over them line-by-line, my emotions were mixed with laughter and tears. I giggled over the ones that professed undying devotion, as I remembered that going steady typically lasted only 24 hours. I teared up over ones that would stay, teach me about the woman I was meant to become and then leave as well. Youthful adoration can be painfully fragile.

Carefully replacing the stained pages into the velvet lining, I couldn’t help but think how sad it is that my daughters won’t have this same experience when they turn 61. Their generation is famous for read and delete. Perhaps a handwritten card found its way into their mailbox with a few lines scribbled, but gone are the days of pouring one’s heart and soul onto the pages of thinly lined binder paper.

In generations past, writing to family and friends was the only way to communicate at great length. Making a telephone call was prohibitive. And in those letters, feelings, thoughts and experiences gushed forth, leaving behind a history of two souls and their journey through life together.

Reflecting on what I’d just read, I magically traveled back in time to the girl I once was – the lovestruck 16-year-old mesmerized by the star quarterback; the college co-ed exploring relationships that hung on for more than a month; and the brokenhearted woman sobbing over the five-page breakup of a union that was headed for marriage, promise ring and all.

Covering the lid and moving the box to my closet, it dawned on me that the mailed letter is becoming a lost art, something future generations will only read about on Google. But maybe it’s not too late to turn that around.

We’re embarking on a new year and formulating ideas for change. For me, I plan to put away the computer and take out the stationery when sentimental communication calls for it. In my best cursive, I’ll share memories, express affection and convey to the recipient that in a special moment of time, they made a difference in a life – mine.

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