I got a call today from Joan, my former wife, telling me that Monday night’s homicide happened in the duplex we shared for 10 years. I looked at the photo online and sure enough there it is, the pale blue duplex where we lived, celebrated meals and birthdays together, entertained friends. I am grateful for those years at 5448 Holiday Drive in Stockton. When we rented the place it belonged to the late Sal Zendejas, a beloved high school teacher and, at times, president of the Stockton Teachers Association. Joan and I were young professionals starting out. Sal kept our rent low. We did repairs, built a deck, painted the cabinets. Now Joan and I have gone separate ways, but we each own our own home. The launch we got in life was in part thanks to the kind landlord and low-cost living we enjoyed in those years. Zendejas died in a car crash in 2008. When I drove by my former home a few days ago, it appeared to be in disrepair, with leaves still covering the yard and a parked vehicle months after they came off the trees. Then I learned that a young man named Alexander Centeno was gunned down there just before midnight Monday. I don’t know anything about Centeno and his story, except that the same home that launched me into a wider, more fulfilling life was where his life ended.
A story about this killing is posted here: http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130219/A_NEWS/130219875