My family moved to Newport Beach when I was two years old, back in 1955. My grandfather, Donald G. Griswold, moved his manufacturing business from Alhambra to Costa Mesa. Cla-Val Company is still going strong on Placentia Avenue.
We bought a home on St. James Street, just behind the football practice field of Newport Harbor HS. I can remember eating dinner and watching the boys practice in the evenings. The Irvine cattle used to come up to our back fence as well.
I can remember when the Newport Freeway used to be a two-lane road with orange groves (oh, the memories of orange blossoms in the spring!!) and bean fields on either side for miles and the Santa Ana Hiliocopter base was the big landmark (I cried when they took it down, so sad). The Santa Ana Freeway was the only freeway besides the Pasadena fwy. I learned to sail at the Balboa Yacht club and swim at Newprot Harbor High School pool, the original one.
I would walk to swimming lessons and ride my bike to sailing lessons in the summer. I, also, remember riding my bike to the Newport pier to watch the fishing dories come in with their catch of the day.
The last time I was down there to show my youngest daughter when we visited back summer of 2001, there weren’t as many as I remembered in my youth. I have many fond memories of NB and would move back there if only it were like it was back in those golden days. I have been out of Cali for nearly 23 yrs now and everytime I return home, it sickens me to see all the damage done to such a beautiful place, by greed and over population. I do have my memories and that is good.