After Disneyland, my mother’s trip diary peters out and, now, I’m relying on various brochures and maps to piece together the rest of our trip.
On our third and final day in California, we went to Marineland of the Pacific, which no longer exists, and Newport Beach, which has been a beach destination since 1905 when the Pacific Electric Railway put its southern terminus at that location.
At Marineland, we saw a show with Orky, the Killer Whale, and one with dolphins and seals. We watched an underwater diver feed fish through aquarium windows. There were other attractions, but I have no memories of those, so I imagine we cut our day at Marineland short so that we had time to enjoy the beach.
After visiting Marineland, we visited Newport Beach to spend some time in and next to the Pacific Ocean.
To understand our experience, it’s helpful to know three things.
1) Dale and I learned to swim in the Great Salt Lake, when we lived in Utah in 1967 and 1968. The salinity is high enough to make it significantly easier to float – a good first experience for beginning swimmers.
2) We moved to Louisiana, Missouri in November 1968, just in time for the new pool that opened the next summer. So, by the time we went to California in 1971, we had two years of swimming lessons under our belt and were pretty confident and adept swimmers.
3) A big reason that we were given the above two experiences was that our mother was afraid of the water and didn’t want to pass that fear on to her children.
Here’s how Dale described our first ocean experience:
“I do remember the beach. It surprises me we were only there for part of a day. But, it was probably not Mother’s favorite place. She did not like water, or the outdoors, or anything dirty.
I remember learning a lot that day. We thought we knew what salt water was, because we had been in the Great Salt Lake, but this didn’t smell as bad or feel so weird. I did not really try to float on it because of the waves, but I was aware that it felt more like a swimming pool than the Salt Lake in terms of buoyancy. (Not that I knew that word.)
I remember that I learned about ocean waves, that their rhythm is not steady, bobbing up and down on the unbroken ones but watch out for them breaking on you.”
Dale and I both remember building a sandcastle, with the help of Dad, and staying long enough to watch it get washed away by the waves.