Thursday, September 04, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 1953, Balboa/Newport Beach & Photo Booths

As summer rolls to a close here I’m thrown back in time. By now you have figured out that much of my time as a kid and an adult was spent at the beach in Southern California. Lucky I was to have a crazy uncle who, for many years, lived on the corner of 10th Street and Bay Boulevard in Newport Beach.

If you don't know the area it’s a fun little spot on the peninsula, that sits right on the bay and looks directly across to Lido Isle with Balboa Island a bit to the right. As kids, our family spent lots of weekends and vacation time just hanging out – swimming and biking all day and then hanging out at the Fun Zone in the evenings. Nothing outstanding…it was a bit of our standard fare. Looking back on those times, I realize that it was an inexpensive way for all of us to be on “vacation” year round. I really loved it and appreciated the fact that we were lucky enough to spend so much time there.

I uncovered these old photo booth pix of me with my brother recently -- first thought -- we were babies when we started hanging out there. I’m guessing the year was about 1953 or so. Unfortunately there are only two pix in the strip -- mysteriously missing photos; but happy to have the two that I do.

A few years ago I rode the ferry over to the Peninsula from Balboa Island and walked along the Bay to the corner that I remember oh so well. To my amazement, the old house was still intact. As I stood at the base of the stairs, the front door was open as it always was and I heard happy voices coming from the kitchen area. I walked around to the alley side of the house to see if the old shower room was still in place…the door was there. (Inside the house, there was a big old footed bathtub and if you wanted a shower you went downstairs, into the alley and into a room attached to the garage that housed the shower.) The house itself was probably built in the 1920s – classic California/Mexican stucco with a red tile roof.

I sat on the curb out front, looking across the bay with images of my mom trying to coax me into diving off the platform. What seemed like hours on that day was probably thirty minutes max – I finally mustered the courage to dive head first and haven’t stopped since. That could be where my love of jumping head or feet first from high places into pools of water was sparked. I swear one of these days I will jump off the end of the Huntington Beach pier (in a good and happy way) and hopefully not find myself sitting in the Police Department when all is said and done! Back to the Bay – as we grew older, my brother and I, unknown to my mom or dad, would swim across the channel and rest on the private beaches of Lido Island and then swim back. Mind you – not recommended, as that channel is damn busy with boats of all types and sizes being manned by sailors that have no idea what in the hell they are doing! Kids – we never ever thought of safety issues – we were just darn happy to have had the challenge and fun of it all.

As I continue to go through more of my mom’s things, I'm hoping to find other photos of my brother and I. We held a special bond over the years – life wasn’t always the easiest for our family (I have shared my mom’s mental health issues in earlier posts) and I looked to my brother, who is a few years older, for stability and assurance in the times that weren’t as cheery as my memories triggered by this one strip of pix. Luckily, I do remember happy and fun times and today those memories far outweigh thoughts of the tumultuous times. Fingers crossed that I unlock more memories as I dig deeper through old treasures.

P.S. Well, this certainly turned into one of the longest posts in history! Thinking I would jot off one paragraph, maybe two – I should have know better. Writing always soothes my soul and sometimes that means many more words than expected. Thanks for sticking with me! Curious to know if you have favorite “vacation” memories?