Philip Roth’s death earlier this week brought back memories. I took a class from him during my senior year in college called "Readings in the Novel," held Tuesday afternoons.  Seven years earlier, Roth had written “Portnoy’s Complaint,” the novel which launched him into the literary stratosphere.

I opened the paper Sunday to a picture of Harvey Hall under which was the date of his birth and death. Although Harvey hadn’t looked well the last few times I’d seen him, that brief period of frailty will not be my lasting memory but rather his robustness accentuated by ramrod-straight postu…

Dad left me a black wallet. Not me specifically, but the wallet was in his desk drawer next to his watch that had returned from the repair shop in good working order. No one else wanted them because the watch wasn’t a Piaget and the wallet not a Givenchy.

I’d never heard of artist Charles Arnoldi but the artists I haven’t heard of and the things I don’t know could fill the Louvre and the New York Library. Arnoldi, and his wife, Katie, were at the Bakersfield Museum of Art Thursday night for the opening of his exhibition “Forms: A Fifty Year Survey.”

There are places that remind us of people. With Mike Marotta, it may be the stretch of road on Alfred Harrell Highway, beginning with the rise west of the soccer fields, and ending 200 yards later at the top, after he has laid down another withering pull, scattering fellow cyclists in his wa…

Last weekend, we took Andrew on a train from San Diego to San Clemente, spent the night, and then took the train back. An hour and 15 minutes each way. If this had been the Polar Express, and the journey had been to the North Pole and included hot chocolate and presents, it's hard to imagine…

Although you might not completely understand what the Mazzei Injector Co. does, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that Angelo and Mary Mazzei have friends. That they are loved and have contributed to the community in which they live.

Her name was Betty Jean Hollins but we knew her as Ms. Mosley. She was all business, not to be trifled with and demanded more effort from her students than just dragging themselves through the door into her fifth-grade class at Franklin Elementary School.

The first time I met John, I borrowed $5 from him. He was driving me to the airport. I was a broke college student and John had a big job in the credit department at Sears Tower.

Wrestler of the Year: Trent Tracy, FrontierJunior, 170, 48-6 recordJust two years removed from being a 126-pound freshman, the Frontier junior put on nearly 50 pounds and dominated the 170-pound weight class. Tracy lost in the quarterfinals of the Central Section Masters to Christian Rodrigu…

I met a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years. We’d been close as kids. We’d played together, competed against one another and then he had moved out of state where he has lived for almost 40 years.

Every so often, and probably not often enough, we are reminded that life is short, fragile and wildly unpredictable and it behooves us to embrace it with all the ferocity that we can muster.

I’ve discovered the secret of gardening. Don’t sweat it. Don’t be afraid to slam in plants, flowers, bushes, bark and rock and when they’re worn, tattered and torn, tear them out.

Crazy, isn’t it, to be excited about a new convenience store, but this is Bakersfield and we specialize in small, odd and offbeat. We take pleasure wherever we can, reserving it for the times between, when our senses are parched and in need of a reminder that all is not lost.

Last Thursday was steady. If you’re Israel and Chris Vasquez, the father-and-son team behind Wood-Dale Market’s new store in the Grand Island Shopping Center at Ming and Buena Vista, steady is good. Steady is doable. Steady may mean that a weekend crush is imminent.

Every Saturday at 4 p.m. for the last three years, Owen Law has driven his 2005 Saturn from his house near Old Farm Road and Olive Drive to the Wienerschnitzel on Coffee Road for dinner. The menu does not change. Law orders a chili dog, French fries and a small Pepsi.

We have been watching “The Crown.” Just when you think you’ve had your fill of English period pieces about rich English people who don’t know a pot from a pan or cannot fathom how they can live without an under butler, along comes “The Crown.” The Netflix series covers the life of Queen Eliz…

A couple weeks ago we were on the Second Avenue subway waiting for a train. A man wearing a black fedora was sitting on the pavement, his back against a wide, concrete column. He was playing the guitar and in front of him was a plastic jar stuffed with $1s, $5s and change.