When I was at San Jose State it was a real treat to visit the Coastside. For one thing I’d be coming from a very hot place to a very cool one. I’d see the first signs of fog either at the top of Highway 92 (Skyline) or further west by Curly & Red’s automotive shop.
Curly and Red were both alive when I first moved here, and, Curly had curly hair and Red had red hair. What else did you expect? Their shop was on Highway 92.
Closeby were some greenhouses and the folks would dump the plants that didn’t make it near the road. When I discovered it I started going to the plant dump regularly rescuing borderline plants. I had a homemade dome shaped plastic greenhouse in the garden and that’s where I put my collection of ailing ferns and flowers.
At San Jose State I lived in a big old house poised along the Guadalupe River–this was before the major freeway project began so it was pristine. Several of us at the house, with gardens dancing in our brains, decided to spread lawn seed and plant flowers along the bank of the creek. We wanted a special, private and beautiful place to visit.
Main Street Half Moon Bay wasn’t anything like it is today. I’d have to say it was much more authentic in the 1970s, a place still truly cut off from the City and the Peninsula. The oldtimers were still around, the Portuguese wearing their hats sat on benches under the fog. Just outside of town on Highway 1 an elderly fellow sat on a chair watching the traffic, of which there wasn’t much.
It’s hard to believe now, what with all the traffic and the sirens breaking the silence everyday, but when I first moved here there was none of the above. The road that led off Highway 1 to my house in El Granada was dirt. When I first saw that dirt road steps away from the Pacific Ocean I asked myself ‘how could this be?’ It was so rural and yet we were thirty minutes from the big City to the north (separated by Devil’s Slide, I shouldn’t forget to add).
I should have known it was all on the edge of extinction. That a dirt road off Highwy 1 into El Granada couldn’t last for long.
I took lots of walks from El Granada–crossing Highway 1 that was completely car-less to the beach–heading north along Surfer’s Beach, the beach at Princeton, the shore of which was littered with tiny shells, through the fishing village where a lot of folks lived in battered volkswagon buses and nobody bothered them.
Half Moon Bay was the most idyllic place for a kid originally from San Francisco’s Sunset District.