Sat. Nov. 22 Wilkinson School: I hear the sound of tom toms…

I live very close to the Wilkinson School. The school overlooks highway 1 at the Coronado signal light.  I have actually lived on the same patch of land for almost 40 years. Ten more years and I qualify as a bona fide “local.”

When I first moved here, I was overjoyed to see a dirt road leading off Highway 1 into El Granada. A dirt road! With potholes and rocky bumps. On the opposite side of the highway, I saw the Pacific Ocean. Right there. I could almost touch the waves, feel the moist sand on my bare feet.  For me, it was “paradise,”  a description I hear lots of my neighbors use today.

My house was a funky beach bungalow, 800 square feet. Although there was a “new” indoor bathroom, there was also an outhouse in the backyard to remind me of how it was done in earlier days.

The bungalow had been built in 1950, one of the only houses on the block. Behind me the Pacinis, Italo and Rina, farmed. Now Rina, a widow, tends to a small orchard.

Rina Pacini’s neat little home has always reminded me of a small chapel. I hope it never gets torn down and replaced with something big and modern.

She knew Dante Dianda and John Patroni, respectively, the “Artichoke King” and the Prohibition “kingpin”. Dante’s immediate province was El Granada and Patroni was headquartered in Princeton-by-the=Sea. They also owned land together. Of the pair, John Patroni may have been the flashier, often seen driving his shiny black Cadillac around Half Moon Bay—a polite man who would stop to offer a ride to Rina.

Didn’t she tell me that her cozy house had been moved from the north side of El Granada to its permanent position near the Wilkinson and El Granada Schools? I think Dante helped with the move.

When I moved here, we called El Granada, “El Gray,” because the sky was rarely blue. Luckily, having grown up in the misnamed “Sunset District” of San Francisco, I grew to love fog. There I said it: I love fog.

I like a moody sky. Clouds, wind, rain….and sun, but not too hot.

Linda Wilkinson was living down the street when I started placing my collection of abalone shells in the garden. It looked funky but the Coastside was funky. That’s what I liked about it. The folks were real, no pretensions.

Linda Wilkinson’s home featured beautiful exterior rock work; it was the former home of a California legislator. Linda was teaching at El Granada School, and later, along with husband Ed,  she opened a private school. The students took classes in the family home as well as in the blue buildings across the way from the house.

Although the Wilkinsons sold the house a few years ago, they continue to operate the school. And this Saturday, November 22, between 10 am & 2 pm,  the Wilkinson School is hosting a “Hopi Arts & Culture Day,” with Bernard and Frances Dallasvuyaoma. For more info, please call 650.726.4582.