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The F Stops Here

Sandy Lydon
Sandy Lydon is a leading expert on the history of Santa Cruz. He teaches history at Cabrillo College, writes a weekly history column for the Santa Cruz County Sentinel and is an author. His most recent book is The Japanese of the Monterey Bay Region (1997, Capitola Book Company).

Sandy Lydon

OK--sharpen your pencils and get out your notebooks, because Sandy Lydon is making his memorial service a required college course. "And there'll be a damn test," guarantees the Santa Cruz historian, whose SRO presentations around the county verge on stand-up comedy.

Lydon warms to the idea quickly. "They're gonna have to sit and take notes and look at stuff on the overhead projector," he adds, then pauses. "I think Father Mike Marini [of Holy Cross Church] should teach the class."

Now Lydon's on a roll. "The title of this class will be 'How to Fool All the People All the Time,' " he figures. "They'll be asking themselves, 'How did he do it?' "

Oh no, expect no gaiety at this gathering, Lydon assures us. "The hell with all those parties--I think people might actually learn something from this!"

Don't even get the kindly professor started on grade inflation. After the required class, he insists on being buried standing up with a red pencil in his hand, his tombstone inscribed, "Here Lies the Last Person who Believes an 'A' Means Excellent."

Inspired by the play Steambath, Lydon imagines that when he dies, he will walk through a door that goes ... nowhere. But, that's not to say there still won't be folks waiting, particularly the many historical figures the mischievous historian has raked over the coals in this life.

"Father Junipero Serra--he is waiting for my ass," Lydon worries. He imagines a big marquee on the other side that announces who's going to be coming through the door next. When his name comes up, "there's gonna be a fight at the door--all those people and the two or three I've said something nice about."

Lydon wraps up his hyperkinetic riff with a satisfied grin. "I'm thrilled that you would ask me about death."

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From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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