Friday, June 23, 2006


el morro, laguna beach, california, 2004

I mentioned this beach to you once before and promised to revisit this story.

Long, long ago when my paternal grandfather was just a boy his family would camp on this (then) deserted beach. In 1963, before I was born, my grandparents bought their first little beach trailer at this site. My Sister was born just after and then four years later I came along. Our mother was pregnant with us on this beach, we slept in playpens on this beach, we built drip castles on this beach, learned how to read the 'sets', ride boogie boards, have barbecues, fireworks, watch our dad play volleyball - it was sheer and pure heaven.

me at el morro, 1970 (three years old)

Three of my four grandparents lived out their final years in bigger versions of that first little trailer. In trailer homes up on the cliff above this beach watching whales migrate back and forth, pelicans scoop up their bounty, and sunsets just like this one until their respective times came. Each time we chartered sailboats and scattered their ashes in this very spot.

When I was in high school and my parents were readying for their permanent move to Northern California, they bought their own little beach trailer so that we would still have a 'home' here. My brother-in-law proposed to my Sister in this sand. I dragged music industry buddies down from L.A. for debaucherous weekends.

Then later our babies came and we brought them here. To eat fistfuls of sand and run screaming from the waves only to turn and barrel back to play tag with the waves all over again. To eat tuna sandwiches and let icy sodas straight from the cooler drip down their chins, write our names in the wet sand...

PickleBoy at el morro, 1997 (three years old)

We knew for a long time that it couldn't last forever. The lease that the park had with the State was due to run out. It did. We fought to keep our little slice of history. We lost and all of the homes have been torn out to make way for a public RV park and campground. No more permanent residents will be allowed. There are many sides to the story of the demise of El Morro. The best 'look at all angles' account I have read can be found here if you are interested in the details.

But for me the loss of this place constitutes a death in the family. I will mourn the loss of the one place where all of my happy childhood memories reside while simultaneously staying positive and thankful to have had this joy and the good memories of this magic place in my life at all.

I cannot bear to go back yet. To see the spot where our little beach home once stood. One day I will if only to sit on this sand again, watch another breathtaking sunset and remember. Remember the beauty until I can remember no more.

Until my own ashes drift to the silty bottom to rest in this...

my favorite place.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this! It is beautiful how you put this together.T

4:48 PM  
Blogger Teri M. said...

Sweet and sad. Thank you for sharing your lovely memories.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Alicia P. said...

Why do things always have to change, dangit? There is nothing like a childhood beach.

8:46 AM  
Blogger lovegreendog said...

wow LeS, such beauty in your words. i also grew up eating real"sand"wiches and chasing the waves. i'm sorry your stretch has been taken.
these words and photos are a really lovely tribute.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous steph said...

Sophie, you so beautifully sketched this portrait of your favorite place. It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that you've lost it. Your words have turned that memory into a jewelbox.

9:38 PM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

What a jewel of a place and story. I wish I had a place like this but it's wonderful nevertheless, to have such beautiful memories.

4:10 AM  

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