Friday, May 6, 2011
Our RV Park was invaded last night by members of the San Diego Over the Hill Gang. Hope you enjoy the photos of their cars. Some very cherry rides, by some great guys (Friday, May 6th, Over The Hill Gang Rally, Mission Bay.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Around lunchtime, we headed off to downtown San Diego in search of a lost step-brother. When my mom remarried in 1956, my step-father brought along a son named Tom. Tom grew up in New Jersey, and his mother brought the family plenty of difficult years. After a divorce in which his father was given custody, Tom and his dad came west to California. Working at Convair where my mother worked, Bill Kissel and my mother fell in love and were married.
Seven months older, and eight inches taller, Tom was a quiet and unimposing influence on my life. My mother favored me, and Bill favored Tom. But it wasn't really that clear, or at all apparent. And it was okay by all of us.
We both played little league (we went by the fields today). We both hunted and fished with Bill. But I don't remember Tom much during high school, and we didn't see each other after high school.
So it was a big surprise when I found his address, and a short note he had written to her before she died, in the materials from her home after she died. While she indicated to me that she had had no contact with him for many years when I would visit her during her last decade, the truth was that she knew exactly where he was living and it would seem had helped him move at least once.
Armed with the address, I decided before I started off on this trip that I would deliver some old photos of the two of us, as well as some drawings he had done in junior high, to him. I knew that he had become a mental health system client as a result of a terrible reaction to LSD in the late 1960s, and was prepared for news that he had died or was severely out of touch with reality.
To my happiness, we found his address, and saw his name thinly scratched into the lid of the mailbox. Unfortunately, the only resident of the apartment building we could find did not know him. Kitty suggested we ask at the Liquor store on the corner. The owner knew him well, had cashed his SSI check yesterday, and confirmed that he sometimes appeared too angry and confused for someone without problems. Armed with the certainty that he did in fact live next door, I left the photos and drawings in the mailbox with a note from me explaining who I was and how to contact me if he chose to. I'm happy to have found him alive, and hope that the materials remind him of the relatively good times we had together.
Kitty and I then headed off for Ocean Beach, where we had lunch at the foot of Newport Avenue overlooking where I spent thousands of hours surfing and drying out on the sand. After lunch, we spoke to the manager of the upstairs restaurant (Nick's) about the possible use of it for my 45th Class Reunion. Then we drove a few blocks away to the Ocean Beach Recreation Center, where we spoke to the manager on the same subject. I feel much more prepared as a result for a planned discussion with the Reunion Committee tomorrow afternoon.
On the way home, we stopped by Kim Melhorn Jessop's house to check with her on PLHS Reunion Committee activities by other classes at PLHS. Kim has been the PLHS Alumni Association staff member for many years, and was helpful in all of our past reunions. I have been serving on her advisory committee for a few years, and we have worked together to locate our graduation class members.
One last contact was made before we arrived back at the Airstream. Frank Gormlie, one of our class leaders, and a committed community activist in Ocean Beach, returned my email message with a phone call. We had been playing email tag for a while in an attempt to find a time when we could get together. Kitty and I will be going to his house after the Reunion Committee meeting tomorrow to meet with he and his partner, Patty.
We're now sitting in the trailer, reading and posting. Dinner awaits, and so does a suggestion that we swim in the bay in front of our site. I'm going to stop this posting, and we'll see what happens.
It's very strange, but I don't seem to be interested in taking photos here. I think this is more about my looking than about my taking photos. To view the few photos I took of the Pointer statue at PLHS today, click on: Wednesday, May 4th, Point Loma High School Pointer Dog
It's been a lot of fun accompanying my aunt Kitty this week. We were together early in my life, but her life from about seven until she left La Jolla at 19 was very much without me. Yesterday, we rode the bus route which she and my grandmother often rode (#30) with an all-day pass. She made a point to talk to the bus drivers and tell them how friendly their predecessors once were to her, thanking them, and indicating how much of an impression they had made on her as a young child. The route goes between downtown, passing by Old Town (a favorite spot), through Pacific Beach, Bird Rock and La Jolla. We traveled to Old Town, visited the shops and museum, and then had lunch in the oldest building in San Diego. We shared a delicious vegetable salad, constructed corn carnitas, and sipped some great local beer after being treated to a tasting. The restaurant was called the Cosmo, and it's on the grounds of Old Town. They've restored it beautifully to its early 1854 standards, and I recommend it highly.
Next, we rode north to Bird Rock, where we walked through our old neighborhood. I am amazed at Kitty's recall of every house on the street, and every family who lived there during her childhood. The stories she tells about their lives as kids, and the lives of their families. She knows everything about La Jolla in the 1950's, and it was fun for me to see her mind wander back to all those old memories.
She was surprised and pleased by my boldness in approaching the open front door of the house we grew up in. It actually wasn't hard, since it looked very inviting. And when Bob and Kathy Brese asked us to come in, Kitty and I immediately began sharing with them our memories of their house, and marveling at the changes they had successfully made to improve it. Our total thanks to their generosity, and our hope they enjoy many more years in the home.
Continuing on to the heart of La Jolla, Kitty showed me her nursery school and lots of other places where important moments in her life occurred. Every storefront on the main downtown streets held stories, and the children of each business owner became real to me as she related their adventures with her. We ended our day by walking from the cave near the cove to the children's pool, watching and talking with many new residents and visitors, and our memories of swimming and playing on the beaches and parks along this coast.
Unfortunately (and probably predictably), my camera battery didn't hold the charge I had given it when we got to La Jolla. It may be the universe telling me I can't capture the scenes in our heads, but the scenes before our eyes were pretty nice anyway. La Jolla has changed, but we were able to find some glimpses of yesteryear which would have been insightful.
To see the few other photos from yesterday afternoon, click on: Tuesday, May 3rd, Old Town And La Jolla By Bus
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The Campland RV Park, at the north end of Mission Bay, is perfectly located for us to revisit our childhood haunts. As Kitty and I lived north of here, and I moved south with my mom to a military academy in first grade (a shopping center is now there), an elementary school east of here, and another elementary school, junior high, and high school south of here. It's noon, and we've begun to settle into the site. Showered and into fresher clothes, we're ready to see our old stomping grounds by day.
Monday, May 2, 2011
It's been three days since my last post, and we've had lots of fun since then. On Saturday morning, we discovered that the coast of Big Sur was closed, partly due to the Big Sur International Marathon being run (It's the same one we drove through many years ago, Patricia) south of Carmel, and mostly due to landslides on the coast near Alder Creek and Rocky Creek (click on: Big Sur Blockage). Traffic headed south is routed from Hwy 1 to Hwy 101 as far south as Paso Robles and Hwy 46. We took the route and made it all the way to San Simeon and the Hearst Castle by 1:30pm. We boarded the 2pm tour, and spent the next two hours on the mountain. Kitty had never been there, and I thoroughly enjoyed introducing her to this prized State Park property. As she noted, her view of WRH and Miriam Davies came from "Citizen Kane,"and both seem much more interesting characters as a result of the tour. And who knew about the architect, Julia Morgan? Initially intending to just check out the Visitor Center, I left my camera in the car several hundred yards from it. Racing to the 2 pm tour, I chose to visit the castle without it. You'll just have to take my word that it's worth seeing.
We arrived at the Pismo Beach Sands RV Park after their registration office had closed. Thankfully, they left a note about where we should park, and all the instructions we needed to file registration information in the night deposit box. With no wifi, we read, watched tv, and talked until bedtime.
Sunday morning, we slept until 10 am. Hitching up the trailer, we drove slowly down the coast to northern Los Angeles. We visited Solvang, had lunch at Carpenteria State Beach at a really great local restaurant a block from the beach. Kitty had a huge taco salad, I had shrimp and chips, and we stopped afterward at a Vons Market to re-stock some of our food supplies.
We arrived at Kitty's son Austin's house in northern Los Angeles around 6 pm. We had called ahead, and had planned to park in front of his house on a dead end street for the night. While the space was there since the neighboring house was vacant, the street was really narrow. It appeared impossible to turn around, especially since there were cars parked all around us.
Once we relaxed, with the encouragement (and great planning and logistical support from Austin), and after contacting and coordinating the movement of neighborhood cars, we got it facing the opposite direction on the other side of the street only partially blocking the driveway of some very nice neighbors. The three of us then walked to a restaurant (Milli's) about a half mile away, where we learned of Osama bin Laden's death (a phone call from Morena). We watched a bit of it on the restaurant's tv, and then ordered huge salads and excellent Estancia Pinto Noir.
Returning to the house, we talked for an hour, and then turned in. We hooked up the Airstream's electricity to Austin's house, and read for a little while. This morning, we headed south, meandering through the south coast's beachside cities. Kitty and I shared stories of our lives in them as 1960s teenagers. We pulled into Campland on the Bay RV Park a few hours ago, disconnected the Airstream, and have spent the last couple of hours scoping out the park and the resources for us here. Kitty is sitting across from me at this moment, using the MacAir to learn all about public transit in San Diego, and how we might use it to get around.
I'm sure we're going to have lots of fun here. We'll be leaving on Friday morning, and will drive back up to Austin's in one day or two. On Sunday morning, I'll be leaving there to drive back home. Austin will get Kitty to LA Airport on Monday morning for her flight to Boston.
For a link to the few other photos taken today, click on: Monday, May 2nd, San Diego
p.s. This post has benefited greatly from the editing on Kitty.