Two great talkers will not travel far together
Sunday, February 9, 2020: Up to cool and cloudy skies…aa appropriate day to be leaving our beachside campsite at Oceanside, California. Following breakfast, Kit and I set out at 1050 hours for our ancesteral hometown of San Diego. Jumped on I-5 South, then moved over to I-805 South, before heading east on US-52 and merging on I-15 South.
…where we set up on a small but adequate site at their RV park.
We missed coming here last year as we decided to stay east of the Mississippi and explore some of that area. We are looking forward to seeing family and friends, in addition to scouting out some of our old haunts…ought to be fun!
Monday, February 10 through Saturday, February 15, 2020-San Diego, California: Kit and I have enjoyed gorgeous weather so far on the left coast of the United States, and this week was no exception…sunny and temperatures in the 70’s.
In addition to a nice RV park, Admiral Baker Field has numerous picnic areas, two 19-hole golf courses…
…sports fields, swimming pools, and a café. It is truly a destination resort and the surprising thing is that this military oasis is within minutes of two major interstates that carry hundreds of thousands of automobiles a day, but somehow Admiral Baker Field remains quiet and serene.
While in town, we like to poke around our childhood neighborhood of Serra Mesa. The first drive-by was Kit’s home on Cabrillo Mesa Drive…
…this is where I would ride my homemade skateboard from my place a few blocks away in order to “date” Kit, much to the consternation of her father.
Next was by my home…
…on Polland Avenue. Where the attached garage turned out to be the neighborhood hangout, due to the lack of parental supervision. Boy, the things that garage witnessed!?!?!
The brick wall surrounding the backyard was installed in 1958 and the Redwood gate was hung at the same time. We finished it with a clear varnish then painted a stylized “T” with black paint…
…which is still visible under those multiple coats of whitewash, 61 years later!
While in the hood, Kit and I stopped by our church…the scene of many shenanigans!
Saint Columba Catholic Church was where I received my first communion, and later was almost excommunicated. That building, was where I spent many hours suffering repentance melded out by a no-nonsense priest named Father Patrick O’Neil.
The inside had the same look and smell as it did back in the 1950’s.
This sensation caused a flood of memories…some good, and some not so good.
A tradition we have established over the years is to light a votive candle in honor of my dear departed mother…
… a devout Irish Catholic, and a darn good single mom to a couple of rebellious boys.
Kit and I were surprised the church was not locked, a rarity these days, but found no one around. So, we walked next door to the rectory and church office where we met a very nice secretary.
Marlo spent a great deal of time listening to our stories of the early parish and filling in some blanks we had in our memories…thanks Marlo!!!
Next, we visited a neighbor Kit and I became close to while serving a Navy tour in San Diego.
Angie and Carl lived directly across the street from us in the early 1970’s. Being a bit older, they kind of adopted us along with our three children. Unfortunately, Carl passed away last month.
He was a retired Chief Petty Officer who parlayed his management skills into a successful job with the San Diego City School System.
Angie, at 95 years old, is sharp and still living independently in her home of 71 years. We had a great time visiting with her and reminiscing about old times.
Some fairly new friends, who Kit and I enjoy spending time with…are Reed and Beta.
They have a home in Maine where their son and his family live, and a home in San Diego where their daughter and her family live…pretty good arrangement for an active retired couple if you ask me!
We visited Reed and Beta and enjoyed their hospitality as well as an excellent home cooked meal.
Thanks again folks…looking forward to seeing you back in Maine this summer!
On Valentine’s Day, Kit wanted to head down to the older part of San Diego for some wandering about, shopping and dining. In the process, an attraction we stumbled upon was Heritage Park.
This newly established collection of historically significant homes, which had been relocated to an underdeveloped piece of land, is now across the street from Old Town San Diego. The park features about a half dozen restored structures…
…such as the Sherman-Gilbert house. This magnificent home was built in 1887 by the cousin of William Tecumseh Sherman of American Civil War fame. It was later owned by sisters Bess and Gertrude Gilbert who lavishly entertained the gentry of San Diego as well as Hollywood movie stars.
Next door lies the Christian House.
A classic Victorian which was constructed in 1899 by a prominent banker and real estate developer.
Down the street from Heritage Park is the Mormon Battalion Historic Site.
Built recently in the style of an old Spanish fort, this museum is staffed by members of the Church of Latter Day Saints and chronicles the history of the Mormon pioneers, many of whom were treated poorly by the US Government and then conscripted into the US Army to fight during the Spanish American War.
The various museum rooms, utilizing an interactive audio-visual technique, took one through the Mormon Battalion timeline and detailed the struggles of the draftees, as well as the plight of their families left to fend for themselves in a hostile environment.
The young docents, Sisters in the LDS faith, were able to seamlessly interact with the framed photos of prominent members of the battalion…a very entertaining and informative historical narrative!
In the main gallery were documents of the time, as well as artwork depicting some of the more important campaigns…
…along with various artifacts, such as these flintlock weapons…
…which were gifted by the Army to the soldiers at the end of the conflict.
At the conclusion of the 45-minute tour, I was expecting to be pounced on by the church elders but was pleasantly surprised when we were offered a free Bible and a free copy of The Book of Mormon with no strings attached. A very interesting museum we didn’t even know existed until today.
Next, we strolled through Old Town San Diego Historic Park…
…full of shops and restaurants reflecting the early days of the city…
…along with a number of hidden whimsical garden creatures…
…created in the Spanish style.
However, our favorite part of Old Town is Fiesta de Reyes…
…and its world-renowned Mexican restaurant featuring…
…and, smaller traditional Margarita’s that Kit enjoyed.
Unlike many Mexican restaurants around the country, this Cantina serves authentic and traditional Mexican fare…
… which is some of the best we’ve enjoyed in California…and a very close second to a few of our favorites in Tucson!
Being our hometown, there are a number of family members and longstanding friends that reside in San Diego, some of which we were able to visit with…such as Kit’s sister, Char, and her husband Don.
Both being retired and rv’rs in their own right, they lead an active life enjoying the beautiful weather in America’s most beautiful metropolis.
As the song goes: “Seems it Never Rains in Southern California”. And the daily temperatures are…
…perfect year around? Which allows for flowers…
…to bloom year around as well!
Then there is JoAnne, a special high school friend of ours…
…who knew Kit before I did. JoAnne knows of, or participated in, our various teenage shenanigans…which shall remain hidden in the teenage memory vault. Right Joanne?
Sadly, JoAnne’s husband Ron passed away since we’ve last visited.
A large but gentle man, he took great care of Joanne when she was battling health issues, and always treated Kit and I as old friends…we all miss him terribly.
However, JoAnne is fortunate to have three of her grandchildren living with her.
Great kids all, whom Kit and I first met five years ago when traveling through Idaho, their former home.
On one of our outings we came across this contraption.
A three wheeled motorized kart sporting a 49cc engine. The 380-pound GoCar has an integrated GPS/Audio Tour Guide System that allows the driver to be distracted while rolling about a city of 6,000-pound vehicles. What could possibly go wrong with that?!?!
Well, this brings to a close our week in San Diego. We were considering starting our eastern migration tomorrow, however some very good friends from Maine arrived with their gorgeous, brand new Airstream in tow…
…so, Kit and I quickly decided to extend our stay!
As the sun set on a great week…
…watch for the upcoming “Adventures of Two Manieiac Couples in the City of Perpetual Sunshine” coming to a website near you!
Kit’s Bit’s: We had a wonderful time in San Diego, but it wasn’t quite long enough. The weather was perfect, as usual, and we were able to enjoy a bit of our hometown. Of course, the traffic has increased, so it’s a bit of a challenge getting through it. We are looking forward to heading east soon and hope to be home when the snow melts.