The final Shore. Sounds ominous, like crossing the river Styx to reach Hades. But this, the final Shore that I’ll write, feels more like coming into harbor, stepping off onto warm sand for a nice walk on the beach.
As noted in last week’s Throwback section, all good things by their very nature have an ending. I’ve been writing the Summerland Shore for all the 25 years Coastal View News has been publishing. Before that I wrote the Summerland Spirit for the Carpinteria Herald from 1986 to 1989. Then I left to be a stringer for the News-Press, covering south county news.
I wanted to take that Spirit name with me to CVN but found that it belonged to the Herald. Too bad! Spirit was much more in keeping with Summerland, its Spiritualist founding, and the lively spirit it still embodies.
We’ve lived in Summerland for 49 years and are now moving, digging up those long, strong roots we’ve sunk into place here and trying to offload the stuff we’ve collected during those years. Downsizing. Like all Americans we’ve collected too much, filling every closet and storage area with things that have meaning and value to us, but not many others. Including our kids.
A departure after 49 years feels appropriate. Our family seems to have phobia of years ending in zero. Our birthdays all end in nine. Roger retired after 39 years. Add the 25 years writing for the CVN and the four for the Herald and it comes to 39. And this is the year 2019!
Arriving here in 1970, we’ve watched Summerland change and grow, filling in and out. Our kids played in open fields around the house. There were horses in a paddock next door, then a big garden. It was a sleepy little town, dogs drowsing in the streets, a big peace sign painted on a house you could see from the freeway.
Today Summerland is busy morphing into what some have said it was eventually bound to become—Baja Montecito. Upscale businesses locating downtown, high end homes replacing modest little bungalows, a new spirit of growth and renewal.
A growing problem with living in Summerland is that you have to drive, either north or south, to get what you need—food, entertainment, gym, doctors’ appointments, visits with friends. And traffic is increasingly horrid. The freeway widening, now gradually moving north, will only compound the misery and inconvenience. In Goleta, we’ll be closer to our kids. We will be able to walk to Trader Joe’s, markets, cafes, pharmacies, movies. Wow!
Of course we’ll miss Summerland. Arriving as young adults, we practically grew up here, and our kids certainly did. We have good neighbors and friends, strong connections to the Summerland Citizens Association and its activities and initiatives. I was SCA chair when we painted the first Summerland history mural. Roger still serves on the Architectural Review Board. On and on.
Next to Summerland, I hold Carpinteria close to my heart. I read every page of the Coastal View, keep up with the swirl of politics, belong to the Arts Center, Friends of the Library, the Carpinteria Historical Society, where I was on the board for a few years.
Along with SCA membership, I’ll retain my Carp connections. I will especially miss the Gym Next Door, where I’ve made so many wonderful friends. And although we’re moving out of Summerland, we’ll keep our house, so we’ll still be property owners, still Summerlanders.
I still have all the columns I ever wrote, a trove that might be worth mining someday. And might yield fodder for future Throwback Thursdays.
Some things I will truly miss about Summerland:
The view from our back deck, fog creeping up the mountain folds, clouds wreathing the craggy tops.
The field behind our house, sunsets lighting weed tops like sparklers. The long view up the Greenwell arroyo, a restful, lush green line.
Watching birds sip and bathe in the little trickling fountain in our back yard.
The beach, an elegant stretch between Lookout Park and Loon Point, cliffs lighting ochre in the sunlight. Soft, warm sand, perfect for bare feet. Inventive and comical driftwood creations, constructions always changing.
The wide-open brilliance of sunsets on Summerland beach, water gold streaked, a silver hemline along the sand. Eternally varied and beautiful. We’ve taken a thousand pictures, no two the same.
Hiking Summerland’s many trails. Walks with dogs through town, stopping to chat with neighbors and other dog walkers.
Our sweet, sweet neighbors. The annual New Year’s Whitney Avenue potluck in the O’Meara’s driveway, rain or shine.
It’s a wrap, as they say, for my part in penning the Shore. Time to pass the Summerland beast on to another writer. Time for me to get back to the novel rewrite, the short stories, essays and poems that have been wailing for attention. Time to give that creative side its due.
A final word. Occasionally I’ve heard back from readers commenting on a piece I’ve written, but it’s been kind of a rare thing. So if there is still something left to be said, I’d like to hear. Send me your messages or parting shots: firstname.lastname@example.org.
One good thing: Leaving a fulfilling job with a full heart.