Musings on the Coast

By Michael Ray

Revisiting Seaward Road

 It is funny what you remember about growing up.   For me, it was all about Seaward Road, which is in Corona Highlands in southern Corona del Mar.   Specifically, it was the flat part about two-thirds of the way to the top.  My family had a house there. The house was split-level, with the grownups upstairs and the kids down.  It was the first house ever built by Alex MacGillivray and it showed, like when it rained hard, it flooded downstairs.  We did not care.  The downstairs was ours and the neighborhood kids congregated there.


Most of the kids were about my age.  We played football and baseball in the street.   Since Seaward Road was not a throughway, it did not get much traffic and our games seldom were interrupted.  We especially played football.  The quarterbacks were my brother Walkie and his buddy, Greg, the builder’s son. They were three years older, which in those years, was infinite. Walkie could throw the football further, but Greg had sneakier plays.  It was: “run to the car parked 10 yards out on the right side, cut left and I’ll hit you.”   The parked cars were part of the game.


Baseball was a bit more problematic because we kept hitting the balls out of “bounds”, meaning out of the street.  Sometimes a homerun ball would break a window and we all would scatter. The window most often shattered was owned by poor old Mrs. Brown. She and her husband had no kids, and they tried, they really tried, to be nice to us, but after about the fourth time her window shattered, we could hear her crying really loud. But what could we do? It was not our fault her picture window faced directly out onto our field of dreams.


When we boys got a little older, we started noticing girls, most particularly Greg’s older sister, Gay-Anne, who was a stunner.  Later on, she would be a beauty contest winner, and we liked it a lot when she walked down the street, which might be empty when she started, but full by the time she got a half a block.  “Hi boys!” she would purr with the knowing innocence of young beauty, and we would be dumb-struck, tongue-tied. She actually acknowledged our existence!!


Bicycles were a big deal. After the flat part of Seaward, there was a big hill. To get to the top, you weaved back and forth while climbing; getting off and walking was not an option. It would mean you were a little boy.    At the top, we would let go and plunge back down as fast as we could go, until leveling off at the flat part and slowing down. You could keep going if you wanted, all the way to the bottom at PCH, but we did not do it often as our parents already were on the verge of finding out and no one wanted that.  And no one ever got hurt, but that good grace was dumb luck.


Now with Google Earth, I can bird’s eye pinpoint my old house and the street and all that. It has not changed much I am thankful to say, but I still do not want to knock on the door where I grew-up.   I am afraid I will find it somehow not enough. It never is.


P.S.  This column is dedicated to Laguna resident Greg MacGillivray (son of Alex), who suggested the column’s subject and recently founded the One World One Ocean Foundation.


Michael Ray grew up in CdM and now lives in Laguna Beach.  He makes a living as a real estate entrepreneur and is involved in many non-profits.






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