I don’t know about you, but all this day-tripping has tuckered me out! As our week together ends, why don’t we go home? Melanie and Lacey often hung out at her childhood home in Huntington Beach, California. It’s where I grew up…most of the time, and it’s where my fondest family memories lie, so come with me and I’ll share the old Huntington with you.
Rick and Patricia, Melanie’s parents, live in a 60s style tract house one mile from the ocean. It was always my father’s dream to live near the beach, and he achieved that dream when he bought our last home in Huntington Beach. It became the inspiration for Melanie’s grounding in Revived Hope. One that got ripped out beneath her, but no spoilers here.
When we first moved to Huntington Beach, some oil drills dotted the landscape in the sleepy surf town, and I passed vast bean fields when I walked to the local elementary school. But in Jr. High and High School, we began riding the bus.
Huntington Beach High was the embodiment of the Beach Boys’ songs. Bushy, blonde hair, surfers half-asleep in morning classes after catching waves at dawn. And girls with sun-kissed tans and long Sun-In bleached hair. Not me, but that was okay. Some other Japanese girls attended our school, so I didn’t feel too out of place. Besides, we still had the long silky hair!
I didn’t know back then how fortunate I was to live in Huntington. We spent all summer long at the beach. Actually all year long. Now that I live near Doheny Beach, I’m much appreciative of living near the water, and every day I give thanks.
Downtown Huntington was always exciting and happening, and it often felt like being on vacation. It wasn’t anywhere near as crowded as it is now. But growing up there in the late 60s and 70s, the drug culture was prevalent, and I don’t know how we escaped it, except that my parents would have killed us…kidding…sort of. Somehow I was oblivious, and my eldest sister too. After high school, she worked at the original famous Jack’s Surf Shop on Main Street, across from the pier. Her boss was Jack.
A funny story. A customer came in asking for a roach clip (to hold a marijuana joint), my sister told him they sold insecticides down at the corner drug store! Another came in asking for papers (to roll joints). Guess where she sent him? Yup, the corner drug store. “You can buy the daily paper there,” she said. She probably would have been fired for sending customers away if she weren’t so pretty and innocent.
Spare Change Went a Long Way
Sometimes, instead of taking the bus, I walked home from school with my best friend. On the way, there was a little candy store on the corner run by an older couple. I remember it being small and dimly lit, but it smelled sweet. We’d buy jolly rancher cinnamon Hot Sticks for a nickel. Do you remember hot cinnamon toothpicks? We’d always buy a pack of those, too, then run to the nearest drinking fountain. No water bottles back then. Funny, I don’t remember buying chocolate. Hmmm, when did that all change?
A couple of years later, that little corner store closed, and we found a new stop. A neighborhood liquor store, and we began buying something more substantial than candy. Teddy bear cookies that cost only .25 cents! In our senior year of high school, my best friend got her driver’s license, and on Friday nights, we’d go driving around, but we’d have to scrounge for quarters to put a gallon or two of gas in her little blue Ford Falcon. At .25 cents a gallon, spare change went a long way. It was a much slower and carefree time than today. That’s for sure.
The Gathering Place
When I grew up, got married, and had kids, my parent’s home was the place to be. Family dinners, summer barb-cues, 4th of July fireworks, and everyone’s birthday dinners. Of course, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving were the classic Rockwell get-togethers…at least, that’s how I remember it. Mama and Daddy’s home was the gathering place.
Melanie and Lacey’s family times at Rick and Patricia’s (Melanie’s parents) were similar to those memorable days with my family. I may have idealized the relationship between Melanie and her dad, but not the dancing twirls and family dinner talks. Nor the sharing of dreams and encouraging words. My dad had dreams, and so did Melanie. It was him that motivated her and helped her to achieve her …oops, no spoilers.
Just in case you haven’t figured it out, my parents were the inspiration for Melanie’s parents as well. Although the big difference was that Patricia wasn’t Okinawan, and I’m saving that for another story. Still, I took much pleasure in writing about Rick and Patricia, infusing the loving qualities of my folks.
My parents have long since been rejoicing with Jesus, but I miss them so much, and I dedicated Revived Hope to them both. My mother found Christ as a young teen before WWII, when she worked for missionaries in Okinawa. But her faith was reborn and blossomed after we took her to a Billy Graham crusade at Anaheim Stadium later in her life.
My dad came to Christ at the end of his life. He was a hard nut to crack. He was athletic, intelligent, world-traveled, and somewhat cultured in music. And he was very controlling in most areas of his life and ours. But in the end, when poor health wreaked havoc for his last fifteen years, he finally surrendered. My dad didn’t know Jesus as Lord for very long before he passed, but he definitely knew Him as Savior, and I praise God for that gift.
Although our life wasn’t perfect, and my sister’s and I experienced some turbulent times, the legacy of family love lives on. God willing, coupled with faith, that legacy will continue in our children and grandchildren.
I hope you find joy recalling your fond family times, and give thanks for valuable lessons learned, as you trust in God’s sovereignty. His Word promises that all things work for good to those who trust in Him. They always do, and always will, in His timing. Count on it, and in the meantime, rest in His loving grace and mercy. He loves you more than you can ever imagine, and you didn’t have to do anything to earn it. Jesus paid that price.
That’s a Wrap
I hope you enjoyed the glimpse of home in Huntington. Thank you for letting me share my life with you. I love nostalgia, and I’m thankful for the memories that God has given me. I pray they’ll inspire, encourage and point you to trust in a living Savior who has the promised hope of salvation waiting just for you…and me!
For the final giveaway, I’m offering a copy of Revived Hope and Essential Ingredients. Two books that I loved writing, and I hope you’ll be encouraged while reading. Would you please share my books with your friends, as well as my email newsletter? I’d sure appreciate it. Click the link below to enter. God bless you lots and lots. It’s been fun, but that’s a wrap!