My family and I moved to San Diego in the late “50s. Our first home was in Clairemont off Clairemont Drive and overlooked Mission Bay and the canyon. The milkman delivered fresh dairy products to the house in the morning, and in the afternoons, we’d run to find change to buy some goodies from the bakery man or popsicle truck.
|Donna Frye 1958|
The canyon plants were as amazing as the lizards. We saw patches of barrel cactus and prickly pear and the one that seemed to cause us the most pain, if we weren’t careful - the jumping cactus.
Our house had a big picture window that overlooked Mission Bay and during the day, we could see the barge dredging the bay. At night, we would watch
the lights come on from all around the city, but I especially liked the lights from Belmont Park.
The summers in Clairemont were the best. We could stay out and play with our friends until almost dark. We would ride our bikes, play kickball in the cul-de-sac or just sit around in the front yard talking and laughing.
In 1962, we moved to another part of Clairemont off Balboa. There were lots of canyons and open space, although there were more houses and some office buildings on the mesa. It was pretty good lizard hunting too.
The elementary school I attended, Oliver Wendell Holmes, was right down the street and it was almost brand new. In the fifth grade, I was honored when I was chosen to read aloud the biography of Holmes as part of the school dedication. My teacher, Mr. Kay, was one of the best teachers I ever had. He was kind and patient and he read wonderful books to us. I especially remember the Island of the Blue Dolphins and how it touched me. We also had arts and music programs.
I was in the Girl Scouts and once a week we assembled in the front of the school to raise and lower the flag. We learned how to fold it properly and make sure it did not touch the ground. We also had a girls’ teamball team, and after school, we would go to other local elementary schools to compete. One year we were the teamball champions.
I also attended dance class after school that was provided by the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department. I took tap dancing, and the highlight of the class was a nighttime dance recital for our parents and our friends. My dance routine included jumping rope and tapping at the same time. Although it was good preparation for my current job, I am thankful that video cameras were not yet invented.
There are still a few lizards around, although not as many, and the hornytoads have disappeared. Instead of trying to catch them, I grab the camera to document their appearance. Even though the community has changed since I first moved here, the memories remain, and I know there are many more good times to come.