Laguna Observed


Seeing the Murphy-Smith Bungalow

Going out of town gets everything off base for me—
I missed a talk in Laguna given by the oldest man to summit Everest, but I caught up with him at Costa Mesa’s Historical Society. He was only 67, this oldest man to summit Everest, a healthy, upright lawyer.  Does that sound like the description of “the oldest man” anything?  Huh?  Does it?  I mean, only 67?  I was expecting a doddering 89 year old, say, the kind of

Ruth Yunker

elder who threw away his cane at the sight of something so magnificent as Mt. Everest. It’s either a glorious day in my life that I no longer think 67 is old, or the moment when I should give up, face reality, and weep into my soup.
This moment at Costa Mesa’s Historical Society got me to walk by our very own Historical Society cottage, right there by Wild Oats.  I knew it was there, but usually I’m in a rush to get into Wild Oats to buy my organic chicken (to be stuffed with onions and covered with tarragon, then roasted slowly all afternoon), my amber/sandalwood oil to dab behind zee ears, or underneath zee nostrils, if I want the pleasure of smelling it all day, and my fish oil, for whatever it’s supposed to be good for…I confess, I have long since forgotten why I’m taking it.  The age thing, remember?
Well, The Murphy-Smith Bungalow is a charming little slice of old…very old…older than only 67 years old…Laguna Beach, when Laguna was still a charming little slice of heaven, paved with dirt streets and no congestion.
I would have liked to have been able to experience Laguna Beach back in the good ol’ days. The archival photos speak to me. Picturing Coast Highway as little more than a country lane lined with eucalyptus trees defies what it has become. Then, the horse drawn buggies parked by the first Model T’s on what looks like more sand than cement.  The parasols, the bowlers, avoiding the sun, even while courting it.
It got me thinking about life, see, the aging process.  Can’t escape it.  May as well embrace it, right?   So what can I do, what can you do, to become the oldest person to accomplish whatever?  Like that vibrant lawyer and his Everest!

Ruth Yunker’s “Me, Myself and Paris” is available at Laguna Beach Books and on

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