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His own slice of serendipity

July 06, 2012

I enjoyed Dan Evans’ article in last Sunday's News-Press & Leader, “Finding Serendipity at the Days Inn pool.” During the late 1960s I lived at the Aztec Motel in San Diego for a year while working as a teaching assistant at San Diego State College. The place probably dated from the early 1950s, judging by the wooden, low-cost architecture of the one-story building. An elderly couple ran it, with mostly Hispanic help. All were nice, down-to-earth people.

The Aztec Motel was close to the school, so I could walk to work as I could not afford an automobile. There were several restaurants nearby—one I think was called the Wagon Wheel All You Can Eat (for one low price). Fast-food places were still quite uncommon then.

Saturday nights had the usual quickie rendezvous — lots of slamming car doors on arrival, with loud action in the rooms. Still, most people were respectable.

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No swimming pool or food machines were on the premises. To save cash, I cooked in my room with an electric fry pan. Washing my pots, pans, dishes and silverware was easy: I put them on the floor of the shower, sprayed liberally with dish-washing soap and ran the hot-water only shower for a half-hour. This was followed by a liberal dose of Drano poured into the shower drain.

The Aztec Motel has a website these days, but the place looks to have been enlarged (made two-story) and modernized greatly.

Richard B. Cathcart

Burbank

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