Mayor Kampe posed that query last October when he and I spoke about possible content for “Life in Pacific Grove.” Bill wanted to know how our residents and visitors would express the essence, the magic of Pacific Grove. Since we began this yearlong project, we’ve received many and myriad answers to include in our community-building book to benefit the PG Library. During a writing class at Sally Griffin Center for Living I was surprised by this quick tongue-in-cheek answer: “What makes PG unique? You can say hello to people on the street and they don’t stab you.”—Pat C. Ready, a can-do, retired executive.
Rebecca Riddell, our guest columnist in our weekly “Keepers of Our Culture” column in the 5-19-2017 issue of our local paper, Cedar Street Times, answers with childhood memories that combined to create the magic of PG for her—magic that remains today, to be enjoyed by all of us here and now.
A Special Kind of Light
As an old lady, I often find myself reminiscing about the Good Ol’ Days of PG. Then I immediately remind myself that even in 2017 this is a wondrous place. One of the most spectacular on earth, if I do say so myself.
There’s a special kind of light here, as any artist as far back as the turn of the last century would tell. It’s that pinkish kind of light that makes everything sing. Not during the months when the fog rolls in of course. Yet, that’s its own kind of awesome. Ever walk down the street in fog so thick you couldn’t see your hand? If you grew up in PG back in the day, you did. I think watching the tall, aging pines dance in the fog is one of the most beautiful sights to behold. You can still watch them now in June or July.
Seals Bark and Bells Chime
You can still sit out on your porch in the morning and hear the seals barking on the Monterey Coast Guard Pier. No matter where in PG you live, you can still hear the bells chime the time from City Hall and the test runs for the Feast of Lanterns Pageant from Lovers Point Beach. I still watch the school band march down my street on their way to the Good Old Days or the Butterfly Parade. Just as it has always been.
You can still get a burger from The Shack at the beach. While they’re really not the same, I still stop by for lunch every once in a while. The glass bottom boats I worked on as a teen are gone, yet now they have kayaks and bike rentals and such.
You can still see the butterflies fluttering through town, from November through March, and deer, raccoons, squirrels, and possum still navigate through my yard each day. Yes, a lot has changed and much has stayed the same.
Small Town Friends and Families
The Mayor, the butcher, the baker, they still know me by name. I still leave my front door wide open on occasion when I run to Grove Market. I have found an assortment of stray animals and even an ex-husband, yet never a thief or intruder. Foolish in today’s world, I know. But, this is still PG.
Pacific Grove is still a magical place to raise children, with the beaches, the parks, and the neighborly neighbors. Even with the high percentage of second homes and short-term rentals (as can only be expected in the most beautiful place on earth), I now have young children back in my neighborhood. May they share in the wonders I’ve experienced growing up in this unique little town by the sea.
Magical Essence of Your PG?
Our 444-page community book is overflowing but I still want your PG stories—June 25 is the extended deadline to submit, which you can do right on our website: lifeinpacificgrove.com. Professional editors will correct anything amiss and your story will shine! Complete details are at lifeinpacificgrove.com. You retain the copyright; Park Place Publications has the right to publish and promote your story in print and on-line to benefit the PG Library.
Thank you for expressing your community spirit! Also submit by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail your stories to Life in Pacific Grove, P.O. Box 722, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. All proceeds go to benefit the PG Public Library. Book launch in October when the Monarchs return to Pacific Grove.