Uncle Ray’s Donut Shop

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American dream found: Cambodia pair see it in their kids

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

“I’m so happy,” said Lynn. “I didn’t think we would ever have a life like this. This is like a dream.”

Lynn and Thy pose with their last trey of donuts at Uncle Ray’s Donut Shop in Yucaipa. The couple fled Cambodia 34 years a go to escape the Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot for a better life in the United States.

YUCAIPA, CA – Twenty-nine years ago, a then 21-year-old Lynn Prum embarked on a dangerous journey across her homeland of Cambodia. She carried with her a dream of freedom and a better life in the United States.

And on Sunday, Lynn realized that what she risked her life for was coming to fruition. Her oldest daughter, 22-year-old Ang Kem, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego.

“I am so happy,” Lynn said. “I am so proud of her.”

But this is not a tale so much of a child’s accomplishments, but of parents whose perserverance made it possible for their children to tread where they could not. The American dream, it seems, came true for all of the Kem family.

None of that could have happened had Lynn not taken some life-threatening risks. In 1979, Lynn, her sister and her brother-in-law dared to cross the Cambodian border into Thailand.

At the time, Cambodia was in the clutches of the Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot, born Saloth Sar. It was a time of slave labor, malnutrition and starvation, and the deaths of an estimated 2million Cambodians.

“We hid until the soldiers were gone, then we snuck across,” Lynn said. “If they would have caught us, they would have killed us.”

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Vintage cars the envy of the neighborhood

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Photos By Bob Otto / Freelance Writer & Photographer

CALIMESA, CA – When Dan Healy backs either one of his cars out of his garage, some of his neighbors turn a bit green with envy. For one of those cars is a 1961 Chevrolet Impala convertible, while the other is a 1924 Ford Model T. Two vintage automobiles that turn heads wherever Healy drives them.

But what’s even more impressive is the history behind Healy’s collection. They’ve been in the family for a combined 133 years. Since they first rolled off the car dealers’ showroom floors.

Healy’s late wife, Beverly, bought the Impala from her father, who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Toluca, Illinois. When Beverly saw the white Impala with black convertible top and wide, white-stripped tires, she wanted it.

“I was single at the time and with her when she bought it new in the fall of 1960,” Healy said. “It was parked in the showroom and she said, ‘I like the looks of that car.’”

And so it seems, do others. Healy says he will never sell the car, but one potential buyer made a strong pitch. “This guy said he would give me $100,000,” he said. “I told him no, but he said, ‘name your price.’”

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Lots of yakking at Uncle Ray’s donut shop

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – Around mid-morning seven days a week anywhere from four to 10 coffee klatch yakers with little else to do gather at Uncle Ray’s donut shop on County Line Road.

This opinionated crew of paunchy, balding, and long-winded oldsters from ages 60 to 80s includes Motorcycle Paul, Truck Drivin’ Shorty, Big Hugh, Jim, Da’ Coach Jim, Rod, Pony Tail Andy, Dan the teacher man, and yours’ truly – known simply as the reporter, who never gets anyone’s name spelled right.

We’re all retired, nearing retirement, or desperately yearn for retirement. No subject is off limits. However, we tread lightly when it comes to religion and one’s political persuasion. And we try to clean up our language when women dare venture into our manly domain.

Once two women left in a huff when the subject of Sarah Palin came up. No, they weren’t upset about us mouthing off about her political views. But when we began surmising how the ex-governor of Alaska might look in a two-piece bathing suite totting a shotgun while hunting wild game that seemed to touch a nerve.

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