Friday, November 10, 2006

Memories of Newport Beach, 1965

Here is an e-mail I received today from someone who grew up in Newport Beach during the 1960's...

Nice job on OC then. Wow, I didn't realize I was old enough to be part of history. I keep thinking I am still in my 20's (which was decades ago).

My family moved to Newport Beach from Los Angeles in 1965. six of us lived in a tiny apartment on the peninsula for the summer - on Alvarado street.
We moved up the cliffs and lived near Dover shores but not quite in Dover shores.

I could write a lot, but I'll keep it short. My siblings and I became freed birds. Living in LA, there was a lot of crime, and safety. Living in Newport Beach, not! Everywhere we went we could venture in vacant lots, making forts, riding bikes. WE'd ride our 1 speed sting ray bikes 5 miles to the beach. I remember watching Fashion Island being built, and UC Irvine. WE'd go to the back bay to watch remote control airplanes (before they built houses on the cliffs). When we wanted to drive to the country, we'd head out to the orange groves - which are now Irvine. There was nothing but farm land, yes, even where south coast plaza was.

Boy, this area has changed!
Patti M
What do you remember about Newport Beach decades ago? Click on "Post a comment" below.


  1. I could write a lot, but i'll keep it short. this site sucks. zero comments are a reason

  2. I could write a lot, but i'll keep it short. this site sucks. zero comments are a reason

  3. I was born in Newport Beach at Hoag Hospital in 1951.

    I grew up and lived on 32nd street until I was 15 and went to Foothill HS where I graduated in 1969.

    For many years I was a regular hang out at the 15th street guard tower, and was body surfing there everyday during every summer for God knows how many years.

    After 3o years of working in fire protection, the ballistic rise i population density eventiuallly took its toll on my sanity.

    So I had to get off the hanster wheel and get on the slow ride back here in the Ozarks where I live with the hillbillies of these mountains.

    A complete reversal, but peace of mind and serenity abounds.

    Go Bless you all who still have your sanity.

    Robert Sweetman

  4. I have so many memories of Newport Beach! When I tell people I grew up in Orange County they ask me why I left...

    OK, The Balboa Ferry; Charlie's Chili at the pier; body surfing a beach the local board guys called the Wedge; my SR. prom at the club (GO MATADORS '74 FOREVER!!); the Nickleodeon in the Fun Zone; the tiny island with the wedding cake cottages; dinners at the Reuben E Lee; launching our boat near where John Wayne kept his; delievering my first (sadly stillborn) child at Hoag; the sulpher pit-PEEYEW!

    I left just after graduation and came 'home' only to care for my dad the last two years of his life in '84-'85, bury him, then once more in '99 when a dying friend asked me to help him tell his wife he had lung cancer and they had to make plans. Of course, by '99, nothing was at all the way it had been back in the strawberry fields and orange grove days.

    I too, like the commenter above, saw the handwriting on the wall, I've moved to North Georgia after 30+ years of wandering and am hopeful that Fashion Island type developements stay in the Metro Atlanta and leave those of us with more sense up here where the air is still clean, and we all don't live right up on top of each other in poorly built and overpriced McMansions.

    But secretely, I miss the real O.C.

  5. Ahh, Newport Beach where my beloved Grandma had a beach-house & I got my first taste of frozen chocolate covered bananas. YUM! Right there where the ferry went across with a few cars. I was pretty young but growing up fast, and found it a wee bit boring when Gram & I went to visit her elderly friend up in "the big house" on the hill. She was a sweet lady who would always show her old dolls to us.
    Then there was Newport Dunes where I wore my bikini & swam out to the fibreglass whale. Oh how fun it was to flirt, even if we were only 12 and 13, but looking like 18. That's all my step sister & I did at that time, was flirt & giggle & goof around a lot. My stepmother was very strict with her but rather lax with me. We wrote letters in scret code during the week before I'd come over on the weekends, about our plans for the upcoming Sat. & Sun.
    I remember the good times there & the cliffs & sitting in the tide pools when I got a bit older. Such a lovely place.

    I haven't been to Newport Beach since 1987, when we went out to sea for a Memorial Service for my brother. His ashes were scattered along with those of his surfboard & skies.
    The memories will always be of the best times & one of the worst. My brother loved it there so I should leave those good time with me, too.

    I hope you all had some good times there.

  6. I didn’t know they had any High schools in the area accept Newport Harbor then Corona Del Mar Hi built around 1962, (we don’t want to talk about Santa Ana Hi..LOL) & I thought the Hoag Hospital was built in the early 60’s. But you were there & did it. So much can be lost with age & a short period of time. I have never heard of Foothill HS, but I’ve never been accused as being The Sharpest Tool in The Shed..LOL.
    I lived on 32nd street Newport in 1969, next door to the Odonasio family, (Spelling) Frank the father was a Newport Beach City employee, had a wife & 2 sons Ron & Mike, Ron was the aggressive strong tall one like his father & Mike was short & plump like his mother & Ron always picked on him. I knew Ron from 1961 to 69 after he got back from Nam when we all started Surfing again.

  7. New Port Childhood Memories:

    I grew up on a street called "Larkspur"in Corona Del Mar.

    We were from a large Greek family that included actor Telly Savalas
    great uncle by marriage.
    The whole family lived in the area at the time.
    Me and my brother and sister were all born in New Port Beach.
    The latter two were born at Hoag Hospital in 1965 and 1972 respectively. I was born in 1964 and baptised in the oldest Catholic church in the U.S on Balboa Island.
    (It is next to the original chocolate covered banana place...explains my love of this treat)
    Me and my brother went to a private school (now defunct) called "Carden Hall". It was past the stinky sulpher place,off the Santa Anna HWY I think? Anyone out there remember it?
    Their claim to fame was John Wayne's daughter Marrissa went there.
    She was my class mate. I used to spend some nights at the Wayne residence.
    We used to play with Marissa's dog called Max...a white German Shepard.
    Paramount used to bring over movies from the studio for me and Marrissa to watch in their theater room.
    I was there once sometime around 1970 or so and they had a big Hollywood type party....
    All of the big names from Hollywood's hey day were and Marrissa hid and watched as the party unfolded.
    We were kids and hoped one of our Fav kiddie T.V stars would appear.
    We saw Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Sammy Davis JR. Gina Lollobrigida Lawford,Ava Gardener, ect.
    They served them on 24 Karat gold plates and then the men smoked cigarettes. played poker and drank whiskey into the wee hours of the morning.
    We hoped the lone ranger or bat man from the 1960's T.V series would show up...they did not and we were being typical kids and all. Now that I am an adult I find this childish disappointment amusing....we were surrounded by all the legendary greats of yesteryear Hollywood and all we could think of was Bat Man and The Lone Ranger.
    Those were the days!!!

    Dad got a job transfer..
    We moved away in 1972 to Houston Texas...YUCK!!! My parents had to stuff me into the country squire station wagon kicking and screaming...that is for sure!!! I did not want to go...but they made me and sadly we departed the land of legends, dreams, abalone/exotic fish filled tide pools , hills of marigolds, animal carved hedge topiary . orange groves, sunflower fields ,beach boys ,Big Corona Beach, Surfers ....forever.

    We returned in 2006 to bury my step father in Harbor View Cemetery....right next to my elementary school.
    It is in the hills and over looks the Pacific Ocean.
    The day before the services took place, we walked the cemetery only to discover and old friend's father is buried there....John Wayne.
    I cried and all my childhood memories came rushing back of the good times in circa 1960 -early 1970 OC /Newport.
    Before we left for home I placed a single yellow rose on John Wayne's grave as a tribute to the interesting childhood adventure he embarked me on.
    He always told me to never quit dreaming and doing...I never did.
    Today I am a politician / a small Indiana town.
    Hope I can come home someday....if they ever make the real estate costs reasonable like in John Wayne's Day.
    Six million is not uncommon for a 1960 bungalow house(1-2 BDRM) my parents paid $30,000 for back in the day.
    I checked when I was there.

    L Vacoudas -Spellman

  8. We have started a group page on facebook called "I grew up in Newport Beach before it was the OC". We're all sharing memories and putting up old photos. Please come join us. Gayle Freiwald-Fay-teller

  9. hey I am trying to find the facebook site "i lived in newport before it was the oc. so gayle tell me how to do that, i type it in the search mode and wind up here. I lived at 216 1/2 35th st. 1970. learned to surf at the 36th st. jetty. I moved to the oc long ago. Johnny space

  10. it is on facebook

  11. I worked as a nurse in 1960 at Hoag, the only surgical floor. My roommate Marylou helped Kelly, RN, Set up the original Peds unit. There was no recovery room as we recovered patients in the surg. unit. Busy, busy! but lots of help. The parking structure near OP surgery bldg. was an optional living quarters (like a motel) for any staff (mostly RN's) for about 12. Rent was $25.00/mo. Equipped with a living rm w/fireplace and kitchen. What a deal!!

  12. Born (1949) and raised in Newport Beach...Balboa Island to be exact. CDM Elemetary, Harbow View, Lincoln, CDM High, and UC Irvine. Throw in the Balboa Yacht Club and lifeguarding at Big Corona and I guess you could say it was a childhood and youth reminiscent of summer camp.

  13. Dan
    Does anyone have or know of a decent photo of the fiberglass whales that were at the 'Dunes in the '50's & 60'sw


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