But I have a photo of only one.
When I first came to the Coastside in the 1970s I was not only very young but there were other very young people living here, too. Not many–because the population, in general, was a low number. They had come from Buffalo, NY, Ohio and southern California– I don’t think I met anyone who had grown up in San Francisco, like me.
I have struggled, and continue to struggle with trying to explain why they were here, the attraction. It was unusual, I thought. The common denominator seemed to have something to do with strong personalities and a need for independence. Because the Coastside was a big, open place in the 1970s there was lots of space around these people and you could see them clearly. No blurring. They had definition.
The real locals, the authentic ones who had lived here all their lives, could have described us as “the intruders”, but it’s my word. We intruded on what had been exclusively theirs for decades.
To the Richards: There was “Rotten Richard”. He was thin and wiry and worked as an electrician. Everybody called him “Rotten Richard” but I don’t know why. He was a nice guy. He lived in a big, new house at the golf course when the golf course was very young. I (and my ex) were invited to a party there and Rotten Richard played host to his many friends– and I recall feeling surprised when the lady mayor, better known as “The Godmother”, strolled through.
Another Richard was Richard English– who had to be distinguished from the third Richard, Richard “the Englishman” who is an Englishman.
Unlike the other two Richards who had nicknames, Richard English didnt’ have one. Maybe that’s why he called himself “Big Red Dick” He was a tall, trim, redheaded man,, the kind of guy you were always glad to see. You knew he could make you laugh, a funny thing he personalized just for you.
This Richard also kept busy in the building business–but in the 1970s “wanderlust” had a grip on him. He was always moving away from the Coastside. And every time he announced he was leaving, someone would throw a wild party for him. The last one I recall was given by the beautiful Leah, the manager of the popular Crab Cottage in Princeton owned by El Granada’s Tom Monaghan. The doors of the restaurant, now gone, closed, and great fun was had by one and all.
PHOTO at left: The Crab Cottage, in Princeton, a seafood restaurant, now gone, where goodbye parties were held for the, red-haired Richard English. You can see the Princeton Hotel across the way from the Crab Cottage.
But Richard English couldn’t stay away from the Coastside for long–everytime he left he soon returned and spent the rest of his life here.
Of the three Richards, I only have a picture of the successful Coastside plumber, Richard Henry, also known as “Richard the Englishman”–because he has an English accent. When there were no fences to stop you from riding your horse from Montara to Half Moon Bay, Richard, his dark curly hair flying in the wind, zipped along the cliffs. Within recent years, he came to a party at my house in El Granada– riding in a horse-driven cart all the way from Montara–down Hwy 1.
BELOW: Here’s a photo of Richard “the Englishman” taken 30 years ago.
Sadly, two of the Richards are gone. “Rotten Richard” died long ago and recently we lost Richard English, a resident of Pescadero. BUT I DO NOT WANT TO CONFUSE YOU–RICHARD HENRY, “the Englishman” and Coastside plumber, is still around and graces us with his charming English accent.