By Bill Sorrells
I loved the town as it used to be
Before they made a “window to the sea.”
There’s a park there now with flowers and grass
And benches filled with the homeless mass.
And I miss Benton’s with the homemade pies
And Curries ice cream with the triple highs,
The sounds of the ball game from the barbershop,
And the scent of wildroot that they rubbed on top.
The malt shop there behind the Rexall Drug
And the dance hall where locals would “cut a rug.”
‘Course Neal and Jean and their hamburger stand,
Serving patrons fresh off the sand.
Right around the corner, not too far,
An ice-cold beer from friend Turk’s bar.
The boardwalk filled with the sounds of jazz.
From Tommy Morey and the Razz Matazz.
Casteel’s Bath House where the guards could shower,
Right across from the lifeguard tower,
The cottages strung along the sand,
Picturesque and not too grand,
Little fenced yards with ice plant there,
Shingled and cozy and oh so rare,
Cooper’s show where you could get photos,
Of the Saturday night’s game before the Rotos.
They knew you and you knew them all,
From the time you were a kid ‘til you got so tall.
The town turned then, not to the sea,
But towards one another, towards you and me.
The Donut Kettle was the leveling pot,
The bookie, the grocer, the astronaut.
All were equal in Russell’s domain,
A cup of coffee and a donut, plain.
The L.A. Times and the sporting news,
The place just echoed with everyone’s views.
The races starting down at Del Mar
And what was happening to the Coast Inn Bar.
I long for the crowd that therein gathered
When long long ago, friendship mattered.
I miss the place, I miss the scene,
So embracing, a local’s dream.