Holiday Digest: Holiday Treasure  

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By Norma Sadler

Somehow it became routine for me to go with Barbara, my best friend from Whittier High School to Laguna Beach during the Christmas season. Those first trips included our mothers, and we would take them to various restaurants: C’est La Vie, where we’d sit outside on the patio, the Cliff Restaurant, or that canopied special place called the Beach House, now gone. 

Always, we wanted to be close to the ocean.  

But most of all, I remember that, after the loss of both of our mothers, Barbara would pick me up, and we’d drive down the canyon and end up at the Laguna Art Museum. After seeing the exhibits, with two coffees to go from a shop on Pacific Coast Highway, we’d sit on a bench and watch volleyball players and look past them to the sea. Our packed lunches consisted of egg salad sandwiches, olives, carrots and brownies for dessert. A few surfers would catch our attention. Walking south on PCH, we would stop and visit shops and galleries. Returning to the other side of the street, we’d find ourselves in need of another dessert, like ice cream cones from a shop near the corner. Then we’d head home.

Way before those adult memories, though, connections to this beach town were a part of my high school social life. A club to which I belonged decided to rent a home in Laguna Beach. Bake sales and car washes (mostly boys’ cars washed over and over, plus others) and money from our parents paid for our trip. The accommodations were a home that could sleep 20 girls, which just happened to be near where the boys were. During that time, many of us thought we were in love with someone for sure. The beach by day, the parties by night. Who can imagine teenage boys and girls spending all those hours talking and laughing? Yes, there were chaperones.  

Time in Laguna Beach near the ocean is a gift that I have always treasured. Such a magical place to renew my spirit with family or friends and to hold them dear.  

Norma Sadler is a member of Third Street Writers, Laguna Beach

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